travel

Long Time, No see!

Hi There,

Long time no see, dear friend. How have you been?

So much has happened in the past few months that I do not know where to begin. Let me begin with this, I quit my job. The job that I was comfortable in, the one I was doing great at, the team I adored and the friends I grew attached to. I decided it was time to move on. I want to give myself a chance to explore something that I would possibly want to do for a long time, something that I could be passionate about, something that I would fall in love with. It is hard to leave behind all things and people that you are close to, but I did. There are days I miss working (I’d been a workaholic throughout) and seeing emails in the morning. But, I am also enjoying this break that was due from 4 years ago. This is my first break lasting a month in the last 4 years.

What did I do during the last few weeks? I travelled. I travelled to places that make me feel like a tiny speck in the universe. I travelled to a land that is called heaven on earth. I  travelled to Srinagar, Leh-Ladakh and Manali. And, what a trip it was! Jannat on earth for sure! The trip was also an eye-opener, I learnt so much about my privileges and also started appreciating people in my life more than I did before. I celebrated my birthday away from my usual world, away from internet and network towers. There was cup cakes in a tent, with friends staying awake playing games just to wish me. I was then sitting there stargazing, with a friend who would not let me go out alone. We sat there looking at shooting stars amidst the mountains in our camp. The daytime was spent at the Pangong lake, a lake I will never be able to describe that beauty with words. Absolutely stunning and unearthly Pangong lake! I couldn’t have asked for a better 25th birthday.

I spoke to my family 2 days after my birthday (because there was no network at our camp sites) and when my phone finally connected to WiFi I read my mom’s  sweet message only to find myself in a miserable teary eyed state. I was overwhelmed by the places I visited and then by the long distance phone calls from family and friends when they exclaimed how wonderful it was to listen to my voice after so long. Emotions choked me when I found out my friends called me over 20 times to just wish me but couldn’t get through, and more than that I was surprised at the people who remembered without any reminders on Facebook.

I finally got a chance to re-connect with my long lost friends over phone calls, now that I have begun to follow IST finally.  Yesterday, in specific was a day of phone calls. I got 2 call backs that I was expecting from a long time (fingers-crossed), one from my old colleague/classmate, one from my school bestie (she was having a great day like me), one from my childhood friend and finally I made one phone call to a school friend I promised to call ages ago.

The last phone call got me thinking, the phone call I made to was to the friend from my school. This is the friend who would be the first one to wish me on my birthday every year after my family, he had moved out of city after our class 12 and we’ve never met in person after that. But, I always knew what was up with him and vice-versa. He was someone who wasn’t the excellent student you would expect, but there was one thing that he was passionate about right from the school days – computers. I had no doubts that he would become a computer engineer, and he really did. Even though we only spoke on the phone, our banter was endless each time. Be it knowing about other’s crushes or blackmailing the other about revealing the secrets to the other’s crush, it was so much fun throughout all these years. More than anything else, he is a brother who would always look out for me, no matter which city I am in. I would occasionally get phone calls in a panicky voice ‘Hey, I heard there are riots going on. Are you okay? I was worried!’

Yesterday, however was different. I was expecting a boy from my high-school to answer my call but I spoke to a grown-up man. Well, as friends nothing had changed but the friend I knew had now matured. He was talking of his responsibilities and it wasn’t playful anymore. He had things to fix and people to take care of. He was speaking of everything in a calculated manner, a manner that I have heard my elders speak when I was a child. He spoke of events and not emotions. He had his life planned and spoke of looking out for alliances in a matter of fact voice. I couldn’t get my head around the fact that the little boy I knew had grown up, and now the world he lived in was very different. He was amazed at the carefree life that I am living, much different from the one he is. It was his birthday and he was still working, ‘another ordinary day’ he said. The call ended as usual, but this time I spoke to a whole new person.

I was amazed at how the careless kid I knew had grown up to be this responsible adult, deciding his own and his family’s life with conviction. I think maybe that’s what life is all about when it throws stones at you, pick them up and make a house out of it to protect your loved ones.

My yesterday passed thinking about the change that is the only constant in our lives, to be interrupted by the phone call of my NRI bestie. After much thought and deliberation I filled her in with some recent news from my life taking a promise that no other soul would hear of it. Leap of faith, I know.

Today, I figured that I had already wasted 2 days being a potato so I finally got my lazy ass out of my bed and cleaned my room, pulled out 2 books that I should be reading & then white sheets and paints to make me feel like an artist. Opened those damn windows to let the air in, changed curtains to let the sunlight into my life and turned those fairy light on for some fairy tale magic! 🙂

By the end of the day, I am planning my trip to Kerala that would happen next week. My friend might join me, but I’ve decided that solo or not I will do that trip. I have annoyed google with details on how I would be getting around the place. I am planning to make this a cheap and exciting trip, my budget is 5K (be it solo or not). I’ll be back next week after I am back to tell you if I did manage to stick to the budget.

Until we speak next time I want you to remember, no matter what is troubling you now do not take it to heart. It will pass. Things will change for better and you will have everything you dreamed of, even if it gets monotonous today tomorrow will bring the passion and excitement you crave for. Take it from me, it will! 🙂

Adios for now!

All my love,

Dhanya

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Travel.

I love travelling. Not from today, from the time I was very little.Major travelling which took place in my life was the time when my sister and I went to my grandparent’s house in Kerala during our summer breaks. I used to look forward to the travelling the most.My dad seldom booked tickets before hand, in short we had unplanned journeys,which we loved of-course!

‘ Pack your bag I’m taking you guys to your granny’s’ , my dad would come in unannounced and order us.

‘Yay! we’re going by bus!’ we would squeal.

Here by bus, we did not mean the super cool volvos, here bus means the govt transport buses.We used to travel 700 kms by splitting our journey into five parts: Bangalore to Hosur, Hosur to Salem, Salem to Coimbatore, Coimbatore to Palakkad, Palakkad to Kottayam. Now the best part of this break journey was the food at every station we got down in: the filter coffees,the saravana bhavan masala dosas and idli vadas with the yummiest sambar and chutney,then the chicken kebab and fries from palakkad and payam pori’s of thrissur , just imagining these food makes my mouth water even now.

Another one thing that stuck to my little mind was the liveliness of the bus-stands when the rest of the world would be sound asleep.The bus-stands and the out-skirts of these bus-stands rustle with the sound of shops and travelers at all hours of the day and night. People selling flowers, snacks, toys, books,men gambling away to glory in one corner,ladies with bright red/pink lipsticks and fragrant jasmine pinned into their hair standing in a group and laughing at some incoherent jokes that someone cracked are the scenes so clear in my memory.This was my encounter from my initial trips during summer vacations with my dad.

As I grew older I became more fond of studying the co-passengers in the bus we traveled along with my love for food at different places. Every bus journey had some women who would push me and my sister into a single seat much to our annoyance! So what if we were small, the conductor didn’t let us sit there for free, we had to take half ticket! How dare that aunty with a huge bum pushed us and sat in our places while we meekly complained to our mother. The worst part about this thing is that it would often happen when we would have finally got some sleep. Apart from this annoying aunty I remember another brave lady, who sat next to my mother.

This lady held her one month old infant in her hand and was breast-feeding it, while she had goods for business that she had brought from Cochin to her home in a village somewhere between  Coimbatore and Salem.She got down in a deserted place at one thirty in the night!That too when her husband was away at some other place for business, and she had to walk back to her home about a mile away from that bus-stop all alone holding her infant in one hand and the luggage in the other. All this she does with a bright infectious smile on her face.

 

There are more such little but important incidents I remember from my usual trips of summer vacation but the journey that is closest to my heart is the one that I went on last October. I was thrilled beyond words when this email popped in my inbox, for you it might not be a big deal but for me it meant the whole world.

 

Dear INKster,

Congratulations! You have won a free pass to INK Live 2013.
We have good news for you. Due to the overwhelming and excellent responses for ‘All That Matters’, INK Live has selected more winners, and your entry is one of them.
Looking forward to see you there!
 
– INK Team
This was the best news I had heard in a while. I was sure that I would have a tough time convincing my parents to send me to INK by paying 3K, so winning a free pass to INK LIVE 2013 definitely went a long way in convincing my parents to let me attend it. This competition ‘All That Matters’ required us to fill in 4 words after ‘ ALL THAT MATTERS IS —— —— —– ——‘
and I wrote ‘ALL THAT MATTERS IS THE WAY I SEE MYSELF’  These four words had somehow managed to get me  a chance to travel alone for the first time. INK was happening in Ernakulam, a city that I have been to innumerable times but never alone, and when you are alone even in a city you’ve been before it makes you see the city in a new light. I traveled alone to get to my destination in a train filled with strangers and it is one of the best journeys of my life, I went to a place where I had no friends and no one I knew of. When I returned I returned with the confidence to write, the workshop by Lavanya Shankar  was so empowering, for once in a long time I felt I belonged in a crowd, I felt at home amidst strangers. I found so many like minded people who shared my passion for writing and travel.Within a short period I became friends with three awesome people Danny, Sundar and Surbhi.All three of them wonderful writers and excellent human beings. Spending just three days with them made me feel I knew them for a long time.Even now the fact that we are in touch makes me believe in the power of accidental encounters in accidental journeys. Even though I was a little nervous before I went to INK, I knew I had only gained a lot more than I ever expected. The new technologies, the common people who had the guts to do the common things which the rest of us are ashamed to do, the unconventional ideas,the different life stories from different people from all walk of life, the inspiring talks, workshops and the drum jam session made INK top the list of perfect trips in my life.
Well, before INK was my beautiful journey with my family to Munnar, which was perfect too. I went on a trip with my friends recently,during last semester break but even as the trip was completely crazzy and fun-filled , I missed the solitude and space I got to retrospect during the train and bus journeys I went on before.
I feel I am missing a very important part of my life by forgetting to travel, so I seized the oppurtunity when it came my way recently. You can learn so much from a journey than you can ever learn by spending a year amidst text-books.Well at-least for me this holds true 😛 😀 😛 🙂 😉  So grab a book, ear-phones, your mobile phone,some cash , pack your bags and set out to the place you always wished to get to.(Before that make sure your boss approves your leave application 😉 😛 )  IMG_20140731_093620403 (1) )
IMG_20140731_090404271