Thursday, September 17, 2009

Path Least Taken...

India is a land of myriad landscapes, and moods. I have learnt that India is the answer to a miniature world. We have differences in religions (most other counties in the world are religion/nation states historically), creeds, races, castes and philosophies. Different cultures which have merged over and over with each other through ages, through such varied landscapes.
Think about it, In this country (3000km length, 2000km wide aprox), we can hitch a ride and within a day, we could reach such virgin beaches- which have never been set foot upon by outsiders; on the western coast- down from mumbai all the way to kerala, we can climb the sand dunes of the thar- and walk on ancient hillocks of gir forest-girnar. We can take a train and move to the placid water bodies on the east coast and meet thick tropical like jungles in orissa. We can see the heights at various altitudes over shivaliks/himachal ranges and give it all up and move to highest of all heights in himadri. Travel east and meet the great torrent brahamaputra (perhaps one of the most understated rivers in this world) and such..
So what stops us? why don't we travel, I am personally inertial like most of us, believing to make a life in a small hole of a room bound away from the real world, we have a chance to see the world-here in this country itself. its such a wonder really, you travel and meet so many different personalities, you get to see the poverty and the wonders of architecture unparallel, India has been a collage of awe! Through ages the aura of this land has penetrated this awe in every every every nook and corner of this black soil land.
I get to see so many different perspectives when I travel, see people's lives through their eyes, how they have lived and survived, how they have grown up and seen this india change in the past 50-100 years. People who have become wise from their life experiences, this is practical knowledge which we youth can get so easily, for that matter anyone at any stage of life, can gain practical knowledge by traveling. You get to inculcate patience (atleast in India, that is a must!); to handle unfamiliar situations and people, to communicate and bond with the unity of our common land and the differences whatsoever they may be. It is a feeling of camaraderie, of mutual respect- which one travels humbly, taking everything in, embracing every sight- however mundane or inhumane it might look, this is the wisdom of the real world, and as i say the real world is here manifested in India itself.. then what stops us, from seeing every single town, zila, state of this god-blessed nation.
Travelling is a great guru, it tends to screw you over if you travel with arrogance or ignorance of your external surroundings, it tests both your internal capacities and external chaos. It builds tolerance par excellence and sense of awe.
We are such small physical entitites in this great universe, it sometimes astonishes me when people are not willing to travel some kilometers-baby steps in this universe, not to see the great wonder of life. How can people spend their entire lives inside boxes of varying spaces and call that living?
Traveling is very common indulgence which perhaps most people undertake at one point in time or other, but some or most give it up after a while. They are not actively interested in seeing parts of the world- or are only interested in selective parts of this wonderful world. Why is that? Perhaps we start imagining how it is in delhi, is how it would be in angul (orissa) or in rudraprayag(uttarakhand) or perhaps in lakshwadeep. This is a gross mistake. The element of boredom can NEVER mix in a journey-which is the elixir- a therapeutic- for all this worlds and our internal mental ills. The traveling i am talking about is kind of a pilgrimage (like the old days), where we set out to see awe. to something our lives does not present us, at our home. We see what others in this world have been upto- living and dying.
For a long time, I saw the story of king Siddhartha and his exile in his castle by his father as a sort of allegory. Like Siddhartha was not worldly wise- he was mostly in his city- he never saw what the real world looked like, intense thirst for world (not the material so called world, but the real world) took over him. He wanted to know, to see, to be. This is what most of us never ever feel during our lifetimes. Our jobs and families and bank balances occupy so much of our time, that we are left impotent of energy to even grasp the joys of free travel.
Traveling according to me is most enjoyed when one travels with a good companion or alone, too many people and you end up going no where (if you take every bodies consideration that is), and traveling should be light- remembering that we are moving, changing inertia and hence if we did it with least mass- it would be easiest- so travel cheap-travel light-mentally and physically and of-course keeping no expectations. Most travel experiences remain average or less than satisfactory, because people go in with some sort of imagination of how it will be, turn out etc. Mistake of your life people, let it be and the path least taken shall become visible for your eyes only :)
So wake up tomorrow, and see a new place, try some new earth. Breathe in some different winds, and dont let that fire of wanderlust die down ever.


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