I love to travel. There is nothing more exhilarating or inspiring than to see new sights, new places, new people. It just fits, you know! I have many memories that involve trips, and these memories are priceless to me.
I remember one time when me and seven other friends hopped in a Sumo, bunked college and went sightseeing to different parts of Mysore. We left on a cold morning, with lots of food packed. It started out as just the two of us, and we picked up our friends along the way. A gal whose parents were a little reluctant to allow coming on the trip came to a different road. The road was picturesque after we crossed the city limits. Other than few colleges, and some factories, there was greenery around us. We saw cows grazing contently in the fields, unmindful of the sparse traffic that was on the roads around them. We chatted amicably of college, and teachers; we teased one of our friends because the teacher he had a crush on was getting married soon after, and we listened to Bollywood and English songs we had got along with us. We munched on tomato and pudina sandwiches, samosas that one of us had got up early morning and made, and even played antakshari, though we weren’t good at singing. My friend and I talked of the dance that we were working on together for the university fest. She was the lead dancer, and I the co-ordinator. On the way, it started to drizzle, and then rain heavily. Our destination was Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Kaveri and Paschima Vaahini, so we were worried about the boating being cancelled. The worry however was lost in the beauty around us. The rain made the greenery even more vivid, and when it let up, a rainbow joined our journey and we just forgot the destination in the journey. When we reached Sangam, the rain had stopped. The coracles (round boats), which are very popular there, were back on the water, and it took us to a small island in the middle, where the eight of us had a picnic, and those who knew to swim went into the waist deep water. After spending some wonderful time over there, we decided to return. We then went to the Shivanasamudra falls. These falls, Gaganachukki and Bharachukki were even more beautiful today because of the rain. We couldn’t go into the water again, but we were still struck by the beauty of it all. On the way back home, we stopped at a roadside restaurant near Bidadi. We didn’t think they would have their famous “thatte idlis” at that time, but we were lucky that they did. In the cool weather, the hot idlis with coconut chutney tasted absolutely heavenly. We reached back home by eight in the evening, stomachs full of food and hearts full of unforgettable moments.
Another time, we were around twenty of us, the whole gang from our class! We had gone nearly six semesters in college without going out together for a trip, so we decided sixth semester was the right time, as final year would be hectic. Plans were made and re-made. And finally it was done. We hired a tempo traveler that would accommodate us all, and the trip started, at 11 in the night. My buddy Uday and I, along with four of the girls were to get in about halfway, while others were starting from near the college. While we waited for the vehicle, we were almost caught by the cops! Thankfully, our parents were also around, so they just smiled and went past. Nightouts during exam time are common, but this trip has the most memorable ones of all, for all of us! A trip that started, for us six, at around 1 in the morning! Twenty of us, all singing, dancing and making merry! It was one of our gang’s birthday that day, and we surprised her with a cake, and candles, and gifts! The vehicle had a TV and DVD player, so we put in a movie, and that passed the night, as we hooted with laughter at a comedy scene or just discussed stuff. We saw a big accident on the highway, but the police waved us on, so their rescue wouldn’t be hampered. Our first destination was the temple town of Nanjangudu, which we reached at 3:30am. The temple looked very medieval and mystical in the lights. We stayed in our vehicle, till we saw the sun was rising from amidst the hills. The golden sun never looked as beautiful from my house balcony, or from behind high rise buildings. The boys and I went for a dip in the river Kabini, on whose banks this town is situated. Afterward, we joined up with the gals, and went inside the temple. After a few hours there, and breakfast, we headed out through a winding road up the Himavad Hill, and to the temple there. Before we went to the temple, we trekked down our serene green surrounding, careful not to slip and fall. I’m not fond of trekking myself, but inching down whatever stone path we could find, holding hands and just talking about things like what our future might be, or whether we would have such moments again, the sun now on our necks and just laughing… yeah, if I had to trek, this would have been the way I would have done it. We went down about halfway, and then climbed back up, which was very tiring for me (I’m a little chubby) especially. The sweat in my eyes, and no water in my body, I think that would be why I collapsed and twisted my leg as I reached the temple. Thankfully, there was an ambulance at the temple for some dignitary, and I got it bandaged. My classmates were thinking of skipping our last destination, and heading home so I can rest, but I was having too much fun to get home so soon. Soon we went to Talakad, which is a desert like town of temples on the banks of the Cauvery River. The river wasn’t brimming, but my friends went for a swim anyways. I became the videographer, since I couldn’t get in the water thanks to my bandaged knee. One of my friends joined me as we walked about (as best I could) and we had fun doing it. She just talked on about random things, and I think she was just trying to take my mind off the pain. From Talakad, we left at six in the evening. Some repair work on the roads hampered our journey, but we took the time to play antakshari, and truth or dare. I was dared to sing an English song, but keep counting numbers at intervals! That was some experience, I tell you! We had dinner at a restaurant on the way, and tired from our near 24 hour sojourn in our own carefree world, we dozed off. We reached home at 1 in the morning! And we still went to college the next day, just so we could make the rest of our classmates jealous!
I remember a trip with my family to places all around Karnataka. It was a road trip that was for many days (I don’t remember exactly how long it was, because it was many years back). Twelve of us in two Ambassador cars. You could say it was a pilgrimage of sorts, because there were many temples on our itinerary.
We went to Kollur, Mangalore, Mysore and many other places. But I think the places I remember the most are Shravanbelegola and Sringeri. The former is the place where this 57 feet tall monolithic statue of Gomateshwara is there. 57 feet! 600 steps to reach there! The world’s tallest monolithic statue! We went during a time when the festival at the temple was happening! So we got to see the anointing of the statue with milk, saffron, sugarcane juice, sandalwood etc. It was spectacular. Sringeri is memorable for the fish feeding! Lots of fishes were there near the Sringeri temple, on the banks of the Tunga river. We offered rice to them. I remember them nibbling on my finger too. Then we didn’t go as close, and just scattered rice into the river. I remember the nature around us on the trip, and small moments that just became big and funny in our hearts. Even when recently, we had gone to Trichy, Kanyakumari and Madurai; it was nature’s beauty, in the fields, in the sunsets, in cattle or even the hospitality, that made it worthwhile. Then again, it could have been the togetherness too.
For me, the most memorable road trips happen not because of a car, or a destination. Be it an Ambassador car, or a Mercedes with an AC, shopping in the hustling bustling streets of Bangalore or Chennai, or enjoying nature and its beauty on the banks of a river, watching a sunset from a coracle, the best, most memorable trip happens when you are with people who love you, care about you and you enjoy each and every moment of the trip with them, getting to know them, and not let small things that come in the way to interfere in that fun. Only when we enjoy those moments, we live life. When we live life, we enjoy these moments.
in many evergreen memories,
I relive those moments I lived
carefree, lost to just fun, life;
and lost were worries, strife.
in those evergreen memories
I wander to find myself again,
when I lose me in life’s pain.
for in those memories I’m me,
as perfect as only need to be.
where the journey matters,
mot just the destination alone;
I realize through the nostalgia
how much since, I have grown.
a perfect, memorable trip,
down the lanes of the past;
only then, I look on to create
more such moments to last.
Cheers… to many more such magical moments!
(20th July, 2013)