Every journey is an escape that leads one to an experience.
After the completion of my graduation, I constantly faced the question – what now? Overcome by pressure, I thought it was high time to take a break and decided to go on a tour. I surfed many tourist websites and flipped through the pages of numerous travel magazines. But we couldn’t settle on the question of finance among all the tour packages I came across.
One day, my father called me to suggest a tour package offered by the Indian Railway known as ‘Bharat Darshan’. It offered a journey by train of ten days to visit four important places in India: Agra, Delhi, Jaipur and Ajmer. The tour package seemed feasible as it demanded only ₹8,000 per head, including food and accommodation. So, this package was finalised and I set out for the trip.
Unlike others, my excitement at first was not over the trip but due to the fact that I could escape from that ever-haunting question, at least for a while. But soon it turned out to be a journey which was a once in a lifetime experience.
I thought of not including the pictures of the Taj Mahal or the four main places that I visited, as most of you are quite familiar with them. Also, my focus is not on them but on a few things on the way which caught my eye.
Few sights were there which no camera could capture and which created in me an urge to jot them down. One such sight was at the railway station in Gujarat where men, women and children were relieving in open spaces near railway tracks in wide view of all the passengers. They had only a mug of water in their hands. I could not find any feeling of shame on their faces. At first, it was embarrassing, but later, I felt sympathy for them and resentment towards those in power. Those were the sights that one would least expect, even in their nightmares.
Another troubling sight was to see the widespread use of tobacco, both by men and women in equal measure. I was happy that the use of liquor was comparatively less, but still, these people had forgotten the fact that smoking really can kill.
Gujarat doesn’t offer any sight of lush greenery but is abundantly rich in factories – big and small – which can be seen in all possible corners. One cannot find a single river that hasn’t either dried up or isn’t highly polluted.
The last sight that struck me the most was the way people used the vehicle without a hint of concern for fellow travellers or passengers. Horns with piercing sound broke through our ear drums, making us feel deaf. In the morning, in no time, urban roads turn into a mess, especially in Agra, with traffic rules being defied in all possible ways.
It is true, what the father of our nation once said, “The true India is to be found not in its few cities, but in its seven hundred thousand villages.” For me, it was possible to grasp a portion of what rural India is only because of the train journey I could undertake. Though my destinations were quite eye-capturing, it was the other sights I mentioned above that actually captured my heart. Though they weren’t always pleasant, they did give way to new experiences.
And now I’m back to face the same old question, for yet another period of time. I guess one needs to travel for a while when questions raised by life make you too weary. In such journeys, destinations are the least important. Just remember to keep your eyes and ears wide open. Who knows, the journey itself may turn into a destination at times!
Spread across like a sea
Yet charmingly flowing river
The river KaveriApparitions that come and go by…
Glimpses from the Railway Station
Watching the Sun set is joyous
No matter if it’s in the Sea or on mere barren land
Thousand calls have I had to lay on your lap
Under the shades of Father,
O Mother Earth
Premises of Qutub Minar
Yes I eat your land
And breath out fumes.
Factories in Gujarat