Every time I drive across the flyover at Howrah Station, the largest railway station in India, I see many trains whistling to set off. The whistling of the trains, the view of the parallel platforms full of busy travellers and their baggage always drags me inside the imaginary maze of the place where the trains will be reaching in a few hours. It is often very hard to control myself to get out of the state where I am lured into embarking on a journey. I often wonder if it is something that I experience only while crossing the place or is experienced by every person who is a traveller at heart.
Fortunately, since childhood, I have always had some people in my life who I could travel with — my father and his friends, who in spite of all the problems in their lives continue the custom of going for a yearly vacation. And being a part of their alliance, I have been lucky enough to go along with them for every single trip.
As the time approaches, they sit together to decide on the travel destination. And every time, they split into two groups and argue on the same question: “Where do we go now: The mountains or the sea?”
Although sea beaches offer this sense of joy in living, the reason why I usually desire mountains when it comes to travelling is because of the charm it possesses. At every precise moment, when I reach the foot of any mountain, the mammoth mountain makes me feel trivial and insignificant with respect to it. The immensity of the mountains stuns and stupefies me and every bend in the road thrills me. It feels like the supreme truth of everything is hidden inside the secret chamber of an ascetic who can never be found. The change of shades of the mountains, from dark green to light green, orange, grey and finally to white, gratify my allured eyes. The emptiness and silence tends to appease my soul and electrifies my neurons. The height, in spite of the lack of oxygen, gives freshness to my life. The frost and the snow refreshes my mind. And when the sun rises and sets, the snow soaks in the glory of the sun and turns into golden and red. These colours warm my heart even in the freezing cold. Last but not the least, the simplicity and generosity of the hill-dwelling people amazes me. They are living examples of how peacefully lives can be spent despite such extreme weather conditions and a tough lifestyle. Whenever I meet mountain people I get motivated by their aura and I always come back home refreshed.
Tomorrow, while passing over that flyover, if I begin to hallucinate that two trains are offering me two different journeys — one to a sea beach and another to a hill station, I will probably hop onto the latter one.