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Wanderlust of a Wayfarer.

"Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow", Anita Desai.

The biggest advantage of being a Fauji brat is that we get to travel a lot. Every 2-3 years we move lock stock and barrel from one place to another. Rarely do we go to big cities. It's generally a small town or some remote and exotic place in NE or the Valley! We may or may not be able to stay there but we definitely get to visit these places.

Travel is an integral and the most interesting part of Fauji life! It broadens our outlook, adds to our knowledge and makes us more adaptable and flexible in our attitude.

For today's children, travel means either flying or taking a road trip. But for us it was Indian Railways all the way! Very few people could afford a car or the flights!

My earliest memories are of our train journeys from Pathankot to Guwahati every summer . After traveling for 3 days and changing at least 2 or 3 trains we would reach Guwahati. Then another 2 hours by bus to the village that my parents belong to.

4 days of journey, the First Class Coupe reserved for the entire family, bags full of snacks... Daddy ensured we don't get bored or disturb Mummy(she had to look after our baby sister) and he would keep us busy with activities like Word game, trivia about the state we were crossing, counting the number of trains or their coaches! Once we reached the village we had to keep a log of what all we did there, e.g.- saw the farms, went fishing, had roasted crabs , made flower garlands etc.

When I started writing poetry, I also started writing in detail about every trip - even if it was just a picnic spot a couple of hours away! It became a habit. I would sit with the Atlas and try to find out as much about the place as I could. We had no Google, after all!

So, living a nomadic life as a Fauji brat taught us many valuable lessons and we made friends all over the country! We were exposed to different cultures and cuisines peculiar to people in each place. We picked up random words in different languages and adjusted to local food habits and other customs if required.

After marriage also I traveled a lot with my husband and kids. We've seen and explored a lot of places together- the stark, untouched beauty of Ladakh, the sand dunes of colourful Rajasthan, the lush green North East, the exotic Andamans, the bustling metros of Mumbai and Delhi ... We visited Europe, Singapore and China also. The bucket list is pending and grows longer every day!

Travelling is more than just sightseeing and shopping. It is a learning experience. It enhances and adds on to our knowledge about the people and places around us .

Every time we traveled abroad, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to experience the daily life of the people there, besides doing the usual things tourists do! We tried local cuisines, went to local markets, watched the people going about their daily lives....

Travelling boosts your geographical knowledge and also your general knowledge about the places you visit or wish to visit. Nowadays, information is just a click away and travel has become easier and cheaper. One has the option to travel by air, railway or roadway and even cruises! We are truly spoilt for choice.

I am totally consumed by the feeling of being 'insignificant and invisible' when I travel..., There's so much to see and explore, to experience and learn, to know and enjoy... I feel like a 'tiny speck of dust'!

Let's open our minds and just enjoy every bit of this beautiful world of ours! Let's explore the unknown and unseen. Let's travel.

"Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes in the middle of nowhere , you find yourself."

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01. Okt. 2019


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