Wednesday, November 9, 2016

My Post

http://fuseoff.blogspot.in/
A post on one of my travels long back. Written in 2013, I am posting it here unedited.

TRIPTEASE

 My passion, my interest and my dream is to travel. I love traveling. Reading and watching travel news and programs brightens me up. I am always eager to go on trips, vacationing and sightseeing.  It’s thrilling, and refreshing!! Oh! To the spirit of adventure!!  It’s an unbelievably beautiful planet earth, and life is short, so I need to make the most of my time and step out of my house to see places.  I believe traveling is an education in itself. Once out of the safe cocoon of our home and surroundings, we learn, learn and learn. By meeting new people, coming across different cultures and customs, we realize that there is a world beyond us. This is what intrigues me. A quote by Mark Twain that I like, and had once read in the Lonely Planet (http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/1742200796), so I wrote it down in my personal copy of quotes and favorite lines. It goes like this: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn´t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  This is exactly what I believe in, to seize every opportunity that I get to travel. It’s a curious, inquisitive mind that will love to travel.
I have traveled quite a lot, in my opinion, and each experience has been very unique to me. There are so many more places that I need to go to. There are a variety of things that I enjoy while traveling. Every place, new or old, has a story to tell. Every stone speaks of its past. Some are historically rich places, while others are purely meant for enjoying the scenic beauty; some places bring out the spiritual being in us, while some sleepy old towns, just allow us to rest and cut us off from the regular humdrum of life. I must not forget to add the variety of foods that we can enjoy in different parts of the world. Each place provides for a new gastronomical experience. A change of weather, people, customs, food, landscape, and almost everything refreshes the mind and feels like a superb getaway.
My favorite trips have been with my extended family. There have been a couple of trips with my sisters and their families. We have been to places like Goa, Karnataka, and Punjab together. All of these places are in India. Goa is famous for its beaches, temples, and churches. Located on the western coast of India, it attracts a lot of tourists from all around the world. It has a history dating down to ages, with various dynasties that ruled Goa, and later the Portuguese. It is a city vibrant with people from different cultures settled there. So along with enjoying on the beaches and eating food cooked by its indigenous people we visited the churches there. Topping the list, among my favorite places visited was the tomb of St Francis Xavier. The body of the saint is said to be lying in its tomb and has not got decomposed for centuries now. This is something that truly got me so intrigued. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Xavier). I even bought a postcard from there for good luck. One of the most fascinating things in Goa were the churches that we saw, with beautiful stained glass designs and pictures. Goa is also one of the important ports of India. Needless to say, with family, traveling gets all the more fun. Bonds get strengthened, and that is what it was for me.
Another positively memorable trip that I made with my family, including parents was to Amritsar, a city in Punjab, North West India. Both my parents are from Amritsar, their birthplace, and they left the city and moved to another state, Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad, years ago. They were going to see the place after forty odd years. I remember going there as a child and after that, their families sold off all their properties, and moved out to Mumbai and other places, so we no more went there, and life went on. It was only when my sister thought of taking us to our parent’s birthplace, to mark her silver wedding anniversary that we got excited at the idea. Amritsar is a city distinctly known for its large-hearted, happy caring and hospitable people. Its' rich food, and an agrarian lifestyle, is unique to its people. It is a very urban city, which has suffered the onslaught of several invaders that came to India to plunder, loot, and ultimately make India their home. The people of Amritsar can be characterized as brave, gallant and courageous, having fought many wars, and played an important part in the freedom struggle. My mother visited her school and the Principal of the school extended a warm welcome to us. It was an extremely emotional moment for all of us when the Principal dug out the new admission’s register in which my mother’s and her sisters’ names were written in ink by her father. It brought tears in her eyes, going back so many years, so many memories, of childhood, home, friends, and teachers came flooding into her mind, that she could not contain her tears. She even went ahead and accepted the offer of the Principal to address the students’ who had assembled after the lunch break. I had never seen my mother address a gathering, but to see her so happy and speak so confidently, made me feel so proud of her. She had a Muslim friend; whose name she saw in the register, who she said, did not come back after the 1947 bloody riots, when India and Pakistan became two separate states. Visiting the Wagah border, the gate where the Indian army is on one side and the Pakistan army on the other, was another sentimental moment for both my parents. Both had families on both the sides, had lost their friends, property, and all the emotions attached were suddenly cut off. Other than that it was such a pleasure to see them reminisce about the years gone by. My father showed us where he first saw my mother, and where he met her dad to ask for her hand in marriage. They met people whom they knew, went to localities where they lived, lots had changed, of course. They even went to their favorite eating haunts and enjoyed the meals of their choice. A rare and unforgettable trip, full of emotion, fun and sightseeing!!
Well, there have been lots of lovely trips, and it does not take long to recover details from the store of my memories. It’s wonderful to see hospitality at its best when we go places. For me traveling is a spiritual experience.  And above all, any place is made by its people and all the history that is attached to it. So here’s to more globetrotting!!