We all want to explore and travel. Be it exploring your own neighbourhood, your own city or your country and of course even foreign lands. Most of us wander in various worlds we create, many of lust materialistic things as well but we all Wanderlust! Some may disagree because they have already travelled every place they wanted to or they simply hate travelling. However, my family and friends all have the quench for travel and adventure. We are wander-lusters! [That’s not a word but you know what I mean?] But with the growing competition in educational and business sectors, it has become so difficult to get some time off to plan a vacation with family or friends. The furthest we can ever go is maybe to a hill station or a beach for a day or weekend. But that’s about it. I miss those days when family and friends went on long vacations, played games, ate together, and stayed together and made memories together. Now we merely meet for few hours and have individual stories to tell.
As for me, I have never travelled out of India in my twenty years, whereas, most of my close friends have got the opportunity and time to go for trips abroad either for a vacation or a pilgrimage. A year ago my parents too had not been anywhere outside India but they finally were called to the Holy Place of Karbala and Mecca-Medina in duration of a few months. My brother and I were held back due to college and work. So sadly I didn’t get to travel out of India. Although in India, as a family we have covered up a few states and cities in the west, east and south. We have travelled to Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka, Kolkata and Sikkim being the best of all because we travelled as an extended family. My dad does not have any siblings and that makes me feel so disappointed at times because cousins are awesome to have! Luckily my mum has an older sister, who is a mother of two crazy and loving cousins and is also my beautiful and caring Masi [Aunt].
This trip took place in the year 2007 when we decided to go to Kolkata and visit their hometown and also go up North East and make some memories! This was the only trip my family had with our late and beloved Masaji [Uncle]. He was an adventurous man and had climbed snow clad mountains too! Our journey began in the train which took 48 hours to reach its destination-Kolkata. I still remember beingmesmerisedd by the purple coloured lights of Howrah Bridge and the various modes of transport in the city of Kolkata! The next day or so we left for Siliguri which was halfway to Gangtok, Sikkim. In the train Masaji Hassan told us about some bridge that opens or used to open up just like the London Bridge. I cannot recollect the name! We reached Siliguri in the morning and headed up to Sikkim via the Ghats which my mother abhors! She has a travel sickness issue and that day we all caught it 😛 We were so relieved once we reached our hotel in Gangtok, Sikkim.
I was in love with the climate there. It was drizzling at times and at nights it was chilly though it was MAY! We had gone to Ganesh Tok, a temple situated many feet above the ground level and there I could only see and feel the fog around. Even my mouth did that cool thing that happens only in really cold regions. [I think it’s called breath even when its seen] While coming down the Ghats we stopped at this beautiful seven sisters waterfall! We used the ropeway too and ate dinner at one of the hotels on the other side. We visited the beautiful Enchey Monastery and also took pictures with the monks!
There were gardens, many gardens, one place also had the largest flower exhibition that I had ever seen! At Tashi View Point we encountered some ladies with slit open eyes who came to our cab as soon we halted and opened the doors like they were going to attack us! I was frightened at that action after which they said “Kapde pehno” [wear clothes] and I looked at myself and wondered which part of my body they think is uncovered? In the meanwhile, we were dragged out and were made to wear traditional outfits of the people there! [Sigh, I could breathe again]
From our hotel terrace the owners there told us that we could see the peaks of the twin mountains also called the Khangchendzonga or K2 Mountain. It is one mountain with two peaks, pretty cool eh? We had to wake up around sunrise before the fog came and hid them in its cloak! That was some task but totally worth it.
The best out of all the sightseeing places was Chanhgu Lake many feet above water level. It was way too cold there and I had some weird heaviness in my head which later resulted into vomiting once we reached the hotel. But it was the best because I got to see a frozen lake and touched some ice on the mountains. There were many Yacks there as well which gave an amazing touch to the vicinity! I was fed momo’s there and I just could not gulp them down! [Maybe, it was my nauseas] We also did quite a lot of shopping in Sikkim, and we also met far away cousins there coincidently. A #JodeyDilonKo moment we had there! 😀
After our Sikkim trip we came down to Kolkata and the heat was unbearable. I was tanned and looked the colour of charcoal! But Kolkata had its own charm. The hath-rickshaws, the metro, the trams, the British infrastructure, those British named streets like Park Lane, the cool way to stop a bus, the white uniform policemen, the abundance of variety at New Market, the magnificent beauty-Victoria Memorial and the attractive and knowledgeable Science City. Oh, how could I forget the delicious Mishti Dhoi and Roshogullas! I also love the way they make their pani puris there which they call puchkas! 😀 Sometime soon I will visit Kolkata again during the Durga Pujas and that is something my Masi and cousins have told me I shouldn’t miss! [I couldn’t find a good picture of our Kolkata visit and nobody in my family can take good pictures except me :P]
But before that I want to travel NORTH with family! My mum and I absolutely love the people from North for their eyes! [solely referring to Kashmiri’s and North-not-Indian-people, such as Pakistanis, Iranis and etcetea. Whenever we have an handloom exhibition at Reclamation, Bandra we always have a moment of “hai mey marjava” [Oh my, I wish I die] when we spot Kashmiri’s at their stalls selling those amazing shawls. My dad and brother are no less. The time they saw the teasers and previews of a new channel Zindagi which will be telecasting Pakistani serials, they couldn’t just keep calm. [included my mum and myself as well] My parents told me how years ago; they would buy tapes to watch Pakistani serials at home. It’s great to know that this channel will bring some diversity in plots, scripts, cultures and traditions and also introduce many new beautiful faces! The country I really want my family to visit is Pakistan. Yes, I am an Indian who wants to visit Pakistan because Pakistan is beautiful and so are the people! The terrorists are not even considered people as per my dictionary so let’s not even consider them. The prior reason is that my mum has family there. She often talks about her cousin sister and how she loved it when her cousin, Aunty Mumtaaz came down to India and spent time with them and the way Urdu sounds when they talk. It is just so soothing to the ears! She also mentions her beautiful honey coloured eyes which are apparently not that great compared to the Pakistani eyes according to Aunty Mumtaaz. My mum is in touch with Aunty Mumtaaz through whatsapp but then that’s about it. I feel so helpless not being able to do something so I have jotted this agenda in my Bucket List “to take my family to Karachi, Pakistan someday to meet family.” Insha-allah someday I will be scratching this off my bucket list! I cannot wait for the day India and Pakistan travelling becomes less a tas! Till then I will learn more about Pakistan and its cultures and traditions through the new channel Zindagi – Jodey Dilon Ko. Looking forward to Aunn Zara & Kash Mey Teri Beti Na Hoti!