05 Jan Rajlakshmi’s Wanderlust
It all began when I was little. My dad had a transferable job, so every 3-4 years we would pack our bags, travel across the length and breadth of the country and start all over again. I used to call myself a Banjaran. My mom’s displeasure was quite evident when I told her that my ambition was to become a full-time Gypsy. It didn’t help either when I tried to sophisticate my aim and change it to an Interstate Truck Driver. To me it was the most exciting job in the world. A mean machine and long winding road ahead!! It took 15 years to finally answer the call of wanderlust and make a presence as Twinkle Eyed Traveller.
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
— J R R Tolkien
Road trips are my favourite form of travelling and exploring a place. Even now I get excited if I see a mirage on hot sunny days. Watching the roads open up and embrace me as I stick my head out of the window, rushing past the gushing winds. My most memorable trip was from Bangalore to Goa. We had stopped by BRR dam, Jog Waterfalls, spent a night at Bhatkal, and went 4 hours off direction, toward Mangalore instead of Panaji. The return was even more eventful as we took the route to Dharwad (Karnataka). Through the deserted scary forest, over broken roads, we drove for two hours, with my heart hammering against my chest. The eerie silence of the forest still gives me chills.
I feel the road trips present a true picture of the countryside – be it social or typographical change. While driving past Dharwad at night, I watched a group of daily labourers walk into the darkness of a nearby village, presumably without electricity, carrying the sole lantern. It was in stark contrast to the vibrant lights of highway dhabas, just a mile away.
I am obsessed with sunrise and sunsets. When nature unfolds it’s vibant hues, splashing the sky with bright colors, you realize how bland your life would have been without them. Sunrise over the sea, light green hills outside the city, the snaking coastal shores – yeah concrete jungle, try beating that!
To me, travelling was never about ticking off a checklist, but an experience, like eating food. You don’t eat food to fill your stomach, but savour each flavour. And I am a foodie traveller. I love relishing on local cuisines. If it’s special, it has to be on my plate. Thirunellvelli Halwa, Chicken Cafreal at Goa, roasted country chicken at a remote village in Tamil Nadu, Paradise Biriyani at Hyderabad, Moong daal fritters in Nagpur, the unbelievably wide range of fish delicacies in Kolkata, and it goes on. As I said, it’s not just about visiting, but to carry an essence of the place with you … maybe forever.
I love the sea too, magnificent and strong. How humble and small I look compared to this gorgeous vastness. On grey days, they look mighty scary too.
The more I travel and explore new places, interact with people and relish different cuisines, the stronger is the feeling of Wanderlust. I fear being cocooned in our world of indifference, where nature is slowly losing its value, where wars have scourged thousand lives, and where greed has lead to the extinction of beautiful species.
“And it’s over the hills or bust;
For there’s never a cure
When you list to the lure
Of the Wan-der-lust”
– Robert Williams
Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts and images with us Rajlakshmi. It has been a pleasure and a learning experience to share your words. Instilling a little bit of wanderlust into our lives. I wish you happy journeys and smiling skies ahead!
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