Skip to main content

If you travel beyond this point, you will be responsible for your own brain damage




While I have tried to keep a non-personal perspective in all my blog posts so far, today I intend to indulge myself by way of divulging my proclivity to stay on the move. Especially now because I have started to see a number of articles floating around on the world wide internet claiming that travelling isn’t all that it’s made out to be. You’re damn right. It isn’t.
It’s no wonder that social pundits have taken to condemning our generation of pretentious Millennials to excessive self-indulgence that does nobody no-good. I salute you, whoever-wherever you are for calling a spade – a spade. But not necessarily for the right reasons.

Travelling is not some Utopian idea of heroism

Unless you join Greenpeace (wait! Are they any good?) or some equally sensational non-profit that claims to be saving humanity from the next zombie apocalypse (if you ask me – it’s inevitable) or helping children rehabilitate from the repercussions of society’s inclination to strike out and shoot dead anybody who doesn’t agree with (for example, the United State of A). Truth is travel is a hedonistic indulgence by which we assert our presence in a world that could be hosting a very-real version of the Hunger Games in the near dystopian future. Once that happens; who knows; maybe we’ll just die of a flying spear or a poison arrow before we can say Czechoslovakia (PS it took me three attempts to get the spelling right). That brings me to...



We are a bit too aware of our morbidity

I don’t say mortality because mostly that word has been used to refer natural causes of death. And let’s be frank; there’s nothing natural left in this world. We’d have to go to Mars to die a natural death (of course Mars Terms & Conditions apply). To put in social-media-parlance, it’s like giving your share of thumbs-ups for a page like Nihilism. I mean the only reason I get this humour around death is because my alter ego is shit-scared of dying and I’m in denial – so I make a joke and laugh it off.




And what does travelling have to do with all this morbid balderdash? In a world that’s conspiring to annihilate itself, you can’t blame us for YOLO-ing our way through life. Would the last dinosaur that lived, ponder on the extinction of his/her race or try his luck hunting the ape for dinner? My bet is on the second and that’s probably what got him killed anyways. My point is that I want to see and enjoy every bit of the time I have left before I’m killed by a Messenger Bot that reaches sentience and does the right thing to save the planet. In case you’re wondering, I’m referring to the extinction of human-folks (I’m told that this could happen in less than 24 hours. Care for a glass of freshly melted Arctic ice anyone?)



Why walk it when you can Wiki it

In an age where Google is God, is it really necessary to see-it-to-believe-it? There are a million cat memes floating around but who knows what these furry felines are saying anyways. That doesn’t stop us from believing. The truth is we are a doomed generation, anyhoo. We are stuck between the previous one that believed hard work can get us anything and the one ahead that are doing batshit crazy things too young and too easily by being in the right place at the right time with bootstrap luck. So forgive me, if I don’t find 360 degree augmented reality real enough to glean my life experiences from. I’m still a bit of an internet ape that way.



While very soon we might be climbing Mount Everest or the Grand Canyon on our iPads, I’ll settle for the less virtual experience, thank you.

Human interaction is overrated

Before you go gaga over the travesty of that statement, consider this. The only reason Facebook is a multi-national giant and middle-man apps are making people real paper money is because they cut out the whole ordeal of human interactions. Yet, here we are, gloating over inane experiences like living and travelling like locals. In this dog eat dog world, why are we so keen on knowing the dog we are definitely going to eat? Are we sadists or plain stupid? But then again, it’s a fear-mongering lying duplicitous world out there where even shit can be sold for a buck (advertising anybody?) and I’m just as confused. I definitely like to order my food on Zomato sans the overrated hi-bye but hell, it cannot be compared to sitting down for a sumptuous meal of snakeskin and porcupine innards in a tribal province called HeebeejeebeeBurg. I guess the difference is between survival (boring conversations can kill ya) and life experiences. Just to be clear, I’ve never had any body part of snakes or porcupines. I wonder what porcupine guts look like? Maybe I’ll Google it.


On a more serious note...

Travelling has nothing to do with Instagram pictures or Facebook check-ins; it’s not about copy-pasting unoriginal quotes over beautiful horizons (not another sunset!); it’s not about listicle-ized blimps with pretty over-the-shoulder photos exposing tanned shoulders or (god-forbid another) selfies with your brand new wayfarer. This is a distorted version of what travelling is all about, just like everything I’ve said so far in this post.

Instead, it is a lot like Schrodinger’s cat. Science facts aside, in that whole neither-here-nor-there scenario, I would like to believe that the cat’s outside the box. Probably sipped its fair share of cocktails on sunny beaches of Indonesia, maybe had the opportunity to meow at a South-American feline in Patagonia or discovered the illuminating transcendence of catnip in the Himalayas (or may be Schrodinger was simply trying to cover up for accidentally killing his neighbour’s cat. Tssk). For whatever it’s worth, the only way the cat would’ve come to appreciate the cosy safety of home is by being outside. Because in life, we don’t necessarily know what we want till we get it. And to me travelling is mostly about just wanting to know. Get it?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PS. Certain chronological facts have been distorted to serve the purpose of my argument.

In case you were riled up or had some sort of extreme reaction to the above post, here's a song from the queen of badassery -Nina Simone, to tide things over.


Popular posts from this blog

Project Other Names: A Collection of Fictional Characters

An exercise to explore the different vibes of names used in a story and their relationship with the plot. Captured in a fleeting undefined moment. Here's a cute picture of my cat in case you reached here by accident.  The task of assigning names to characters in stories has always been a bit confusing for me. Either they are too eccentric or misplaced, misdirected or just feel like a mouthful.  Other Names is an exploration of what makes a character a character. Is it possible to bring them alive purely through their internal worlds. Or inversely through just one defining physical trait. What would that world even look like, is it real or fantastical, or can it be both?  I guess, we'll see :) Amuse yourself. #1 Ajay “Mutuality isn’t the least bit important in marriage, Ajay. It counts only in romance.” Ajay gave his pretty paramour a long look. Did she believe this stuff? Or was she playing some deep female game? He knew he would not marry her. He was proud

Beachbumming in Deobag

Every year the Indian Konkan Coast swells with tourists and travellers looking for fun in the sun and sand. In laidback Tarkarli and Deobag, however, it’s as much about what to do as it’s about who’s next door. Chances are that you’ll be by yourself, despite the peak seasons (fingers crossed).

A road-tripper’s recipe to beach-hopping: Sri Lanka south coast

Nay-sayers said it couldn’t be done. Well-wishers said it probably shouldn’t be done. The fact that the mercury would rise to its zenith high in the peak summer didn’t stop us from travelling to the southern coast of Sri Lanka last month. After a rickety eight hour bus-ride that saw us descending into the plains from the hill country, we reached the bustling sea-board town of Weligama. If you are travelling along the same route, keeping a day in hand for the Yala National Park would seem like the most obvious choice. However, short of money and time – my fiancé and I headed straight for the holy trinity of sun, sea and sand. It would be safe to say that any road trip involves the road (duh!), a pair of trusty-ish wheels and at least one companion (who you will most likely fall out with at least once a day. But regardless the offense these silly skirmishes that start with ‘let’s stop for a cola’ have a knack to smooth itself out soon enough). Like life, which’s about the journey and n

Other Names #6: Kaai

Unrelated picture from Berlin. #6 Kaai and I had been driving for ten hours straight from Udupi, threading our way through the NH66 which ran all along the western coast. It was a last minute plan put together in all of twenty minutes by Kaai during the tea break. We would drive 700km to the Osho Ashram in Pune to get our hands on the hip new Osho sandals before anyone else in class. It was a bit much but this was 2006 and Osho was all the rage. ‘A little adventure won’t hurt’, he said. Little did we imagine that for one of us, this trip would last a lifetime. I learned that Kaai was a very spiritual person. He hid that side of himself under rock band t-shirts, ripped jeans and the old bubblegum beret that he refused to part with even while he slept. It took me by surprise when he brought up ‘god’ literally in the middle of nowhere. We passed a little kid who was throwing stones at the cars on the road. “Think of it”, Kaai said. “One day he’s going to throw a stone that wi

Other Names #4 and #5: Ahana and Asha

Other Names #4 Ahana belonged to an aristocratic family. But as a rule, Bengalis think more of influential friends, than birth. Ahana was lucky to be esteemed and even loved by people of consequence in society, whose example was followed by others of lesser means. It seem hardly necessary to remark that her family worries and anxiety had little or no foundation, or that her imagination increased them to an absurd degree. But if you had a wart on your nose or forehead, you imagine the whole world is looking at it, sniggering behind your back. Because you can’t see past the puss-filled elephant sitting on your face. Doubtless, Ahana was considered ‘eccentric’ in society, but she was nonetheless esteemed; the pity was that she was ceasing to believe in that esteem. Other Names #5 “I’m going through a phase. And I’m awfully glad it’ll all be over in a couple of days”, Asha whispered to herself. For a fleeting moment the weight slid off her shoulders and she felt a breath of fresh

Other Names #8 and #9: Sahil and Mira

  It had been three years since Sahil had last seen Mira. A lot had changed (physically) for Sahil in that time. His jaw had hardened to an angular shape, he had lost that baby beard that everyone made fun of and the unruly curls had been tamed to a neat close crop. He had returned to civilisation - unrecognisable beyond repair, as his friends often remarked. So, it came as a surprise when Sahil found himself looking at Mira, untouched by the passage of time. She still had the look of an alert school girl. Head held high, a neat round chin, wide thin-lipped mouth, snub nose, bright eyes and a forehead that was often flushed with effort or appreciation. She was finishing her thesis in Sanskrit from Xavier’s when they were together. Sahil always marvelled at how much the professors delighted in her – as though they were grateful for anybody who still took up ancient languages, especially for someone so gifted – but they were always worried as well. The problem Mira used to say, was becau

Three salad dressings with a side of honesty

Salads. The healthy-and-mighty of all meals. The snooty accompaniment to a glass of rosé. The veritable rainbow on your plate. In Fran Lebowitz’s words, a salad is not a meal – it is a style. Well, as long as ‘style’ includes a fair amount of mud under one’s fingernails – I couldn’t agree more with Fran. Sure, it’s fashionable to eat a salad – but there’s a certain panache to going down on all fours in wet mud, rummaging through fresh lettuce pods every morning and wondering what you’re going to dress them in. While it’s far from the fashion statement that salad has come to symbolise, growing your own food definitely is a style of its own. There are many categories of salad snobs – the ingredient minimalist, the chop-it-right evangelists and the brigade of dressing-goes-first, but the only consensus between the salad factions is that you don’t actually need packaged dressing. A homemade vinaigrette made from basic ingredients lives just as happily on your refrigerator door, not to ment

Project Other Names #7: Dr. Prarthamesh Potty

  Professor Potty scratched these words on the blackboard, punching the period at the end for dramatic effect. He turned to face his class of forty. Forty miserable, clueless schmucks, most of whom didn’t know the difference between a period and an ellipsis. And yet they thought a minor in Creative Writing would be a piece of cake. An easy grade to brighten up their mark sheet. He had overheard on his way to class, some of the students casually joke, “Next class…” proceeding to clutch their tummy and ejecting a fart-like sound from their mouth. The joke lacked half-a-decent punchline but regardless, the junior year would pick it up from their seniors, giving new life to a lame old gag. Professor Potty did not have a sense of humour. At least, none when it came to his name. You would think after years of being tormented by friends, foes, colleagues, relatives, lovers and eventually his own children as well, the professor would at least pretend to smile and take the power out of the old

Windows between waves

Back in 2009, during my last year in college, my friends and I used to take a three-hour train ride to Gokarna over weekends. It was a small seaboard town with a penchant for attracting people who listened to Bob Marley and chain-smoked cheap cigarettes. But what I remember most distinctive of Gokarna was the sea. It was a beautiful sunny morning like any other and we had all woken up late. After a heavy breakfast of Nutella pancakes all of us headed out to the sea. It was calm and we all wore our sun shades into the waters, lying supine on our backs and floating with the sun in our eyes. Unlike other days, we had given up on playing pranks – no one went underwater to imitate a sea creature tickling a feet or neck, there were no sudden shrieks of friends splashing the salty sea water into each other’s eyes and mouth – we were pinpricks in the vast ocean drifting further and further away from the shore, blissfully unaware of how close to danger we lurked. At first, we thought we were be

When Joan Didion said, ‘we tell ourselves stories in order to live’, I think she meant - the stories we delude ourselves with.

I used to think that if I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning, I’d hammer through the noon and end it with a Thud! Whack! Clanggg! before I hit the sack. But once I had a hammer, I realised I wasn’t hammering as much I said I would.