Rewind! 5 years back, I was this kid right out of college and I had this dying temptation to take a break and travel a bit before I get into my monotonous work life. Practically speaking in India, a break is a big deal- no company wants to hire you, no parent would be proud of having a child like or no girl would even think of hooking up with you.
So, like any average engineer, I joined an IT company. I hated this decision at first but it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. Boom.
Cut to chase, it was time for my first job and to my luck, I got posted far from my city. Though my family hated the idea moving 1000 miles away from home, I was delighted by the opportunity. I dreamt of living in a city far from my hometown and my dream had come true. With the new city, came a new bunch of friends across the breadth and length of India. The city and my friends exposed me to culture/food/lifestyle that I never experienced before. And it felt wonderful.
Every single day I spent with them, I felt this overwhelming sense of love for our country’s great mix of varied culture/tradition- so many places to see, so many people to meet, so many dishes to eat, so many traditions to keep and the list goes on.
Although I have never been a great fan of travelling abroad, my realisation only deepened my love for travelling within our country.
One day, I will just leave in between an awesome lunch at home or an important meeting at the office or in the middle of a movie; book a flight in our Domestic Airlines and travel to those tiny, secluded villages of the Himalayas. Lose all the comforts, the phones, the debit cards, the sunglasses and just get on a local bus or a cart.
That day, I will start my day without any defined plan …
…. waking up to a cold morning with a cup of lemon tea in hand, on the balcony of a backpacking hostel. Just sit there staring at nothing in particular. Surrounded with awesome people who I have never met before but feel a deep sense of connection because of the stories we shared. And just like that set out on the day’s adventure on the road.
I can’t imagine myself on anything else but a bike with another wayfarer who is on an exploration journey herself. That bike ride where that wind strikes your face with immense force but it feels comforting like a peck on the cheek.
My rides will definitely involve spending a lot of time with the locals. Live a day just like them- work, eat, sleep, drink and be entertained like the locals. And then when I leave that place, I know that at least one person is sad that I am leaving.
And then come back home like nothing’s changed.
Picture courtesy : My friend Santosh Suresh Jain photography.