Recently I was watching a sketch by one of the renowned Indian Youtube channels, The Viral Fever and there quiet aptly they showed that how the bhoot (Ghost) of travelling is the easiest one to get you. And it tickled all the funny bones at the right places. But when my friends or the people that I know, ask me that how I got the bhoot (ghost) of travelling, my answer is simple, “Don’t blame me, blame my genes”.
Apparently the answer pisses them off, as that apparently has no meaning to it. But deep down, that’s the only truth. Around 28 years back two nutcases decided to make a trip to Gomukh (The origin of the river Ganges, safely sitting on the Gangotri glacier in present day Uttarakhand) They traveled separately, the guy with his bunch of friends, and the girl with her parents. And as the probability factor had it in store, they met, they fell in love and decided to get hitched. Now you see, it’s not like their first trip. They individually covered different parts of India, even before meeting. And how do I know their story? Come on! Don’t tell me that you haven’t figured it out yet. Yes, they are my parents. They tagged me along when I was 6 months old. And post that it was the annual ritual to dig up a new place, go there, and explore it.
So, you can see, I was the unwitting companion of my parents initially (just like they never asked me before having me, they never asked before taking me out on a trip), and travelling taught me a few great deals about life and skills. The first rule of our trips was never say no to any food unless you have medical complications. Second rule was never to belittle anyone, carry your own luggage. And many other rules that I think all of us should learn. Also, my father taught me how to take photos on a trip. We learnt how to ditch a famous tourist spot, and go to the obscure places, how to sit down and eat with the locals. So when I say it’s the gene one should blame for my travelling habits, its not a bit exaggeration.
By the time I was in college, I would go on a short trips with my friends, and by the time I was in my Masters I started travelling alone. But initially it was all following the bucketlists made by some one else. But I slowly learnt to ditch it all and make a list of my own, and that started a new phase of a different kind of trips. And all these trips gave me most of my fondest memories, some people who became friends, some life altering experiences, a backpack full of stories from all of these trips that I fondly cherish.
It would be a lie if I say that all the stories I collected from the people are the happy ones. It’s a mixbag of all the sort of stories. Some are really happy, some stems from their frustration with people in authority, some stories of losing a loved one, and some are stories of finding hope again. So though you should blame my gene for the urge to travel, I equally deserve the blame for falling in love with all these stories, these people, and the road. Its the people who made the journey worthwhile, the smiles, the laughter, the foods, the songs, the dances, the knowledge we shared, made me go back to the road time and again. Because on a trip if you can’t connect with people out there, then nothing can make you go back to the road.
I will stop it here with a line borrowed from a friend of mine, as we were recently discussing the possibility of losing the direction on the road, and we agreed on one mantra,
“Rasta hi hai, kahin toh leke jaega”
(It’s road and it will lead you somewhere or the other)