Some excerpts from my travel log……………..
When I look back and reminisce on our holidays, it is very difficult to pick the best but there are quite a few that still bring back happy and emotional memories. Traveling in India is fun. The chaos, the colours, deafening bollywood music, energetic people, cows, everyone has a right to live, very democratic, technology and economic boom, slums, the extremes and you have it all. India has such a great diversity in culture as you move from north to south or east to west. Its rich and vibrant culture has so much to offer. For now lets stick to my journeys in the past.
We (ma, pa and we three sisters) used to travel a lot by road in India too. We have covered stretches of India traveling by road. Pa while driving would love to listen to his three favourite singers: We three sisters. We would stop by the roadside ‘dhabas’ (restaurants) every few hours for a drink or so. I love the food in Indian highway dhabas, you CANNOT go wrong eating food from these dhabas because the travelers consume what they cook very fast. These dhabas are in great demands and I just love them. Each time I go to India, I make sure I eat from a dhaba at least once. Dhabas generally reflect the owner’s personality. The décor, music, food can tell you a lot about the owner.
I was 15 when we were traveling in Rajasthan (West of India) from Jaipur (popularly known as ‘Pink city’) to Udaipur (city of palaces), the two most beautiful and historically famous cities in Rajasthan. We started early in the morning which is what we always did. The ‘Grand Trunk’ highway is one of the best highways in India and I am told its being turned into something even grander. So for those who are thinking of traveling to India, it would be worthwhile experiencing driving on that highway with a flavour of typical Indian traffic, you would find authentically decorated trucks (again the décor on truck reflects the drivers personality). The journey from Jaipur to Udaipur was a day’s trip with lots of stopovers at various dhabas on the way, ma and pa loved stopping for tea and we would look forward to stopping for ‘Thums Up’ (Indian equivalent of ‘Coca Cola’, those days Indian govt. would not allow any imports and so we had an Indian reply to all the popular ‘item’!)/ or samosas, Indian snacks. The drive is scenic as you cross villages on the way. Rajasthani women wear elaborate jewelry that covers the whole hand, feet, face and neck and their beautiful heavily embroidered ‘lahangas’ (long skirts) are just gorgeous, and you could see authentic attires while traveling between any two towns in this region. This was one journey, which I wished would never end. I am now planning to do one with Ankita and Atul so that we can introduce Ankita to this unique culture in India.
The other one that I remember and feel a particular sense of attachment to was journey from Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh, North India) to Nagpur (Maharashtra, South-West India). It was a long journey and we drove for nearly 2 days and stopped to spend the night in Bhopal. Bhopal is the town in Madhya Pradesh (Central India) now unfortunately famous for the MIC leak case in the Union carbide factory. It was an eerie feeling that I got as we reached Bhopal, the memories of 1985 incident came back as shown on TV. Yet, everything seemed so normal. The next day as we set to drive out, I had very strange feeling which I can still recall and feel. I was doing my master’s in organic Chemistry, so I could relate to the incident and understand it very well. I just wondered how could something like that happen! And I still wonder!
To be continued……………..