After all the posts and stories I had read on Social media about more and more women travelling alone these days, I was not really prepared for the reactions that I got. One of the most surprising comments came from a guest house owner in a tiny town of Maharashtra. In his words, “It’s okay for foreigner females travelling alone in India. We have all seen that. But now when I am seeing an Indian doing it, it’s strange. You are brave.” He had a genuine smile on his face and even innocence in his thought but it was disturbing for
Warning: Angry Post. Background: In April 2015, MakeMyTrip.com ran a travel contest called ‘#DiscoverTurkey’ in a question-answer game format and in May 2015, three winners were declared, including me. http://www.discoverturkey.in/ In case they have disabled the link, here’s a screenshot. I received an e-mail on 13th May saying this: “You’ve won an international trip courtesy MakeMyTrip. This mail is just to ensure that you know you’re an officially declared winner. Someone from our team will be in touch with you shortly with your trip details.”
I don’t like novels that are ‘one time reads’, movies that are ‘one time watch’ and places that are ‘one time visits’. I love when one time is just not enough. I want books that can be read until the pages are tattered, scenes that can be watched until you can recite all dialog, and cities that can be visited until you can call it your home. So, when I was sitting at my balcony in Malvan, feeling lonely and a bit homesick, I realized I am just 150 kilometers away from what’s known to be the ‘Beach capital’ of
A city where I experienced all four seasons in one day, every day. The mornings were sunny, afternoons rainy, evenings foggy and nights cold. The order may have differed but it happened on all 3 days of my stay in Darjeeling. A city where the main gate of a few homes opens on a railway track. Something that caught my attention every time I saw one such home. A city where cars and trains run side by side, on the same road. Where some people still prefer walking instead of driving or taking a bus, train or taxi.
While I am writing this, I can’t even recall all that has gone through my mind in past 30 days, in a positive way of course! Here are top five emotions I’ve felt after bidding goodbye to the routine life and entering a new phase of uncertainty:
An ancient charm, a sense of belonging, a place that makes my curious instincts alive by presenting numerous questions and eventually answering those itself. It can be a monument, an old village, a barren land, ruins of a king’s fort or just another building at the same place where my grandfather saw it as a boy. It can be the way people dress up or talk. In fact, it can easily be a way of life. Heritage to me is all of that and everything else that is preserved over the years and deserves to be protected for the times to
I was amazed to see how they seem to be lifeless for minutes and start moving the next moment. Imagine, if we humans start doing that and this world would turn into an even more terrifying place. 😀 Crocodiles, alligator and snakes. I would like to call them the creepy creatures I would dread to be around. However, when I visited the crocodile banks in Chennai, India, I could not stop myself from capturing these lazy looking animals, happily lying and crawling in their own space.
The relationship has been strange. It’s like how you have it with your parents. You don’t really have a choice there. You never actually think if you love them or not, until a point where you have to leave them and you realize how invaluable it was, throughout. It doesn’t matter to me if Hyderabad is a part of Telangana or Andhra Pradesh. It’s like when your sister gets married and changes her surname. You know she will always be that sister you still fight with, for a scoop of ice-cream or the TV remote.
“Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. Home is where the heart’s tears can dry at its own pace.” – Vernon Baker A lot of times while introducing myself, I am asked about my hometown and when I say I really don’t have one or I have too many to count, I am bombarded with a lot more questions. Then I have to explain my dad’s job which again raises a lot of eyebrows, though I still don’t understand why (more on that later). Almost always, my introduction becomes more of a storytelling session than a small talk.
As a child, I think it was the 1st ever family holiday we took. In my little mind, it was the only place with mountains. I still remember how my dad collected the cash from his bank account (there were no ATMs in 90s), bought a new reel of Kodak cameras, how my mom packed our bags with as many clothes as possible and there we were, all too excited to go to a ‘Hill Station’, as they are fondly known in India.