In India the one moment of true realization you need could be found eight thousand feet above the sea level or while smelling sweaty strangers in a busy Metro. History holds the mere fact that most epiphanies are achieved when you direct your life towards the well and good of others, which let’s be honest is a joke in this country. As a tourist when you check in a hotel, all your intentions will lead you towards your satisfaction and entertainment, whereas to be a traveler is to be a sponge soaking in the new vibe as you trot around. Selflessness in a new environment is something I achieved recently and the insight I gained weighs more than any souvenir I ever brought back. Full disclosure, I just dropped my laptop and what I saw after pressing the power button was not quite desirable. Penning down about the past soothes me, ergo this entry is coming to you from a lousy PC of an even lousier Birla Gallery where I intern and suffocate myself to death. Helping others stride for a better future while travelling will never be as alluring as sipping down a cocktail on a balcony of a four star hotel. As it turns out, I find the former much more emulating and honestly makes me feel a lot better. Also I am quite broke of guy to afford drinks and pricy sleepovers at air-conditioned buildings.
By being one of them is the best way you can see their world. Dad’s words not mine.
Although chino shorts and white T shirts never really reeked Bhutan, but my heart was in the right place as I jogged down the lanes of Paro. It was past eleven and the roads were dark enough to send chills down my spine. Suddenly it became all smiles and sunshines as I heard the sound of a football getting kicked around. I joined those lads and had quite the game in the closed quarters of that blind lane. We sat down after thirty minutes of futsal and I could honestly feel my lungs rise till my throat. Altitude really took its toll. They passed me a joint. I nodded. It didn’t take me long enough to realize that those guys were homeless but were happier than any corporate snob making money out of an excel sheet. My trek to Tiger’s Nest was due the following day and I thought of asking for some tips to make it to the top of that cliff without breaking much of a sweat. They understood English. I was taken aback when I heard that none of those five guys, staying at the heart of the country had ever been to the location which basically ran the tourism revenue of Bhutan.
“Sticks, you need sticks to climb the mountain. With Fifty bucks we can feed ourselves for a week.” One of them (I am terrible with names) stared at me expecting answers. I had none. I had meager cash though, which was supposed to feed me dinner and pay the driver to take me to the foothill for next day’s ascent. As I sat there calculating, they flicked the cigarette butts and began to wrap up their midnight cardio session heterogenated with marijuana and yours truly. I stopped the one who got up last and showed him the hotel I was spending the night at.
June 10, 2015.
4.30 AM Galingkha Hotel
“ Nick.. Bhai.. Nick..” The roads practically echoed.