Sunday, September 23, 2007
On a special journey called Life
I just realized how under-traveled I am! I have not even seen India completely, forget about abroad. My first real tour was when I was in class sixth; we went to Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan, Lucknow, Delhi, Shimla, Chandigarh and Delhi. I was quite young then but I remember everything clearly. Undoubtedly, I loved Shimla, the best. I just love mountains. I remember there were so many monkeys when we were going up to see this temple called Jhakhu Mandir in Shimla. It is supposed to be the highest peek there, and the view was lovely from the top. I remember the Rock Garden of Chandigarh, I remember that wonderful park at Pinjaur, I remember the person sitting outside the Qutub Minar with a huge snake, I remember the bada and chhota Imambada of Lucknow, I remember the Mall road of Shimla, I remember Columbus of Appu Ghar; yet I feel every city has so much to see that covering so many cities in 15 days is the same as not seeing them at all. I had been on this tour with my parents, my grand-parents and my brother. Our second tour was down South. We saw Chennai, Mysore, Bangalore, Tirupati, Ooty and Coonnoor. I just loved Ooty and Coonnoor too much. They were heavenly. It is something to do with Hill stations. It was lovely. I went with my parents to all these wonderful places. I remember the Tea and Coffee gardens of Ooty, the zero-visibility foggy roads of Coonnoor, the unpolluted Tirupati, the amazing Mysore palace and a bit of Bangalore. I discovered Bangalore more when I stayed there for sometime. Well, to think of it, I have not been that unlucky after all. I have had the privilege of staying in three Metros – Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai. Can you beat this? Well, to go slightly off-track, city exposure did wonders for my self-confidence. I used to be over-awed by city life. I always had this feeling how would I adjust? In fact, it all started with moving out of home for my Graduation. I had the first brush with freedom and independent life. It was my first journey out of home alone. Those three years prepared me for life ahead. Of course, there was much more to come. Post graduation, I moved to Chennai to stay with my brother. Those 6 months were amazing. Nobody really likes Chennai. I mean people from other parts of India. They would prefer other places to Chennai, any given day. I liked Chennai. It was kind of conservative yet a metro. It is much cheaper than any other Metro and if you love South Indian food, you don’t need to look beyond! My next destination was Bangalore. I did not really see the entire Bangalore but the fact that I used to move around alone, taught me several things. Bangalore, for me, is all about Udupi restaurants, cyber cafes and several hopes and dreams. I was preparing for CAT at that time. I really learnt using internet in this place. In fact, I stayed all alone in Bangalore for 15 days. It was scary initially. What if I needed something in the middle of the night? I knew nobody there, absolutely nobody! It was from Bangalore that I did my first long distance train journey alone. I learnt all the now-seeming simple things like doing reservations in train or making a demand draft. Yeah! Joining IMDR in Pune really made me a metropolitan at heart. I used to be overwhelmed by even Pune earlier. But now it seems like a second home. It’s nice and relaxed. I think life is nowhere even close to what it is here. Chilled Out! Its here that I had the real campus life experience—my first late nights, first instance of being on my own, my first Scooty, this Blog, my first visit to a real disc, my first Film Festival and many more firsts. I loved every bit of it. When college days came to an end and I landed in dream job in Mumbai, I could not have asked for more. But, well, I never really liked Mumbai. I don’t know why. Today I regret only one thing. I did not SEE Mumbai properly. It is an amazing city, whatever I might say. There is always one thing or the other happening (and I am not talking about Bomb blasts and Flood). I did not see Prithvi Theatres, I could not check out the Strand Book Sale, I missed out on “Class of 84”, I could not go to King’s Circle for Books, I did not see Colaba flea market and so many things. But I chose to move out, so I am not really complaining. But yeah, it all boils down to What next? The latest trip was to, well, Life’s finest Abode! Yes, the Aamby valley. It was a heavenly experience. The peace, the tranquility, the unabused atmosphere, everything about Aamby valley is such that you would want to get in a cozy cottage and spend some days of sanctity, away from the hustle and bustle of crowd. Well, I was sure lucky to be there. Everything said and done, I still think I am highly under-traveled. I want to travel more, see all the beautiful and amazing places—in India and then abroad. That’s what life is all about. Isn’t it? After all, life is a journey in itself.