It is quite difficult to say that whether life happens to you when you travel or that travel happens more often when you actually begin to live! One way or another the chart of life is connected to the places we see and the people we meet.
Life and its adventures grew on me gradually. It took me years to see that there was a whole new world outside of where I grew and lived. Now, having had lived in 3 states and 5 cities, I feel that I have seen only a tiny spec of what is out there. But, now I also feel more certain of the universe out there and of the hunger in me to explore it!
When I start here, I must confess that I’m a novice. I feel that every place has its own calling for its travelers and all these destinations have a new adventure written on them. The year 2014 had kept such adventures wrapped for me which I will relive and cherish till my memory grants me.
Two childhood best girlfriends set out all packed to catch their other three friends at the New Delhi Railway Station, for a trip to Kasol. Knowing that they were mighty late to reach the station they ran with all their guts on the platform, but only to watch their very first brave attempt to a travel adventure trail away and leave them behind. And it was gone! So, what’s next? We have come this far so we must carry on and ahead, they said, in words or with eyes, it’s all blur now. There’s no going back, they had decided. The last bus to Jaipur leaves at 11:15 pm from Bikaner House, they got to know. They had half an hour to make it. And this time, they made it! A six hour journey, from Delhi to Jaipur was hardly a thing to pass for two friends who were never out of tales to tell. Still surprised at their daring act, they knew that it was the best they had ever had, as it was their very first!
Three days of being enamoured with the obvious beauty spots of the city such as the Amber Fort, the Lake Palace, the City Palace, the Jal Mahal, the Nahargarh Fort and, Chokhi Dhani, and a shopping revelry at Bapu Chowk was already too much to feed the tyro travelers. But what held them by the soul were the escapades which they had never expected or imagined, like the silence while sitting next to one of the lakes, the thrill and fun of feeding the langurs near an old temple or the fishes surrounding the Jal Mahal, the unexpected rains and hailstorm in that month, and the crazy jeep ride on the way up to Nahargarh!
All of this and more smeared them in PINK of the love for the city!
Bored on the eve of a long weekend that year, I sat with one my closest friends who sat even worse with a sprained ankle. Much to our ignorance, the evening had a thrill planned for us anyway as there came a sudden invite to join on a road trip to Kasol. With absolutely no hope of anything more exciting than sitting indoors on the weekend with a casualty (I might be killed for this), I had nothing to expect at that stage. I guess that the feeling was mutual as she too agreed to set out on a trip with three people that we both didn’t know so well. Also, I had tasted the blood of an unplanned journey once and it was difficult to stop. 45 minutes later, packed and first-aided, we were in the car with our fellow travelers. It was the season of rains on the mountains. Heavy Showers and landslides converted our 13 hour drive to a 23 hour one! Making small stoppages at Karnal, Mandi, Kiratpur Sahib, and Bhuntar and having had spent almost a day in that car, the five of us were more than homies by then!
The surprise bumping into a friend from back home in the middle of that foreign city, the new found friends, the scrumptious and surprisingly cheap food, the first high, the discovery of my love for the rivers while sitting next to the crazy gush of the Parvati river, the moments of silence at the Manikaran Gurudwara, and a walk under the stars is all and more that I got on that trip.
Just enough to make it to the list of experiences that stay etched in one’s FOREVER!
This was a time when I had set out on an expedition with my two soul mates! One of us was going to move to the next important phase of her life and all three of us knew that our lives were going to change somehow after that. And what better a place than Goa- the synonym for vacation and a good time to celebrate and welcome the change!
The very first encounter of the rising waves at the beach both enthralled and amazed me. It somehow reminded me of that scene from the flick- Godzilla- where a fisherman sat on the deck and the water rose magnanimously in front of him as the mammoth emerged from under it.
The carefree walks in the rain on the beach, the childlike play with the waves, the crazy win at the offshore Deltin Casino, the sight of Saint Francis Xavier’s relics in the church in South Goa, the evening at a Yogashram, the crazy dance at the opulent LPK (love passion karma), the late night dinner and confessions at the popular beach restaurant-Curlies, the warm welcome of the old Goan couple at a beautiful shack at Calangute, and the touch of eight beach sands were our precious collectibles from this trip.
To discovering INDEPENDENCE and more!
This trip was more of an ode to bringing in the New Year. Four couples set out on their joy ride to welcome the new beginnings for them. We reached our destination after a comfortable road trip of about six to seven hours. The cantonment located in the Solan district (Himachal Pradesh) gave us a serene and scenic getaway. Those who love to wake up to the sharp sun of the cold mornings with the cinematography of the hills and with the background score of the bird chirping would definitely like it there.
The unsuccessful attempt at reaching the Manki Point, the walk back from the market after braving the chilling breeze, the New Year’s cheers, a super happy driver’s company and the promise to find the hidden joys in the not so joyful moments, is what I packed back with me!
For some travels make you crave for MORE!
This is one way I sum up my 2014, where I collected a lifetime of eternal memorabilia and made the promise to keep adding to this collection through my journey ahead.