Once the travel bug bites you, there is no complete cure. Imagine if it bites an Indian spinster woman from a middle class family. The Doors came slamming on my face each time I proclaimed my need for travelling. Understand this; travelling to me is a need and not an option. To be in a metropolitan city, working, earning and being independent itself is too much a mistake I made; from the viewpoint of my filter coffee society. Let alone, travelling solo or with a male friend. But the bug had already created a bigger wound that refused to heal even after the hullabaloos created by anyone for that matter. I TRAVEL; I READ and I become PEACE.
The situation is no different for a young man who wants to travel, the questions asked are; you can travel after marriage, why now? Aren’t you a man! You should save up some money, whom are you going with! A Girl? What*****t the F**h. Defying all the existing rules and norms of travelling for Indians, I started backpacking and travelling to different places with different groups and friends. Well, it really helped in changing certain perspectives; from different countries, landscapes, empathizing with people with different skin color and eye sizes. Travelling kick starts life from a total sleep mode. I decide to continue my wanderlust adventures as long as I can, and take it as a religion.
The kind of excitement that bubbles up within you the time you decide to travel is elucidating. The day I realized, I love my backpack more than laptop; my life redefined. The motivation to work pretty hard, take up more projects, earn some extra bucks, to have tolerance for varied cultures; thanks to my Wanderlust self. So this year some approximately 2400 away from the land of Bisi Bele Bath, My friend and I landed in a place where people do Puja with Non-veg, where 20 rupees goodies has equal quality as a 10,000 rupees product, where people do not have democracy but live in total harmony, a land where they speak their language with pride and not with shame; Yet way ahead in economic progress; This is Thai life for you. Bangkok the capital of Thailand has the longest name for a city; ‘Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.’ Well, for safety lets stick onto the name ‘ Bangkok’. Roads clean as mirrors, sky scrappers, people with feeble feet, tiny eyes and hardworking hands, less pollution, beautiful night sky, nightlife, music, shopping, more food stalls and night markets than hotels, hospitals and schools; truly it is a City of Life. Unlike us Indians, they show their emotions without hesitation; they smile, they greet, they enjoy, they cry, share and truly live for their country.
If you are a vegetarian like my friend do not forget to carry extra packets of instant ramen, juices and biscuits in your bag; we literally survived on fruits most of the time. If you are courageous enough please try fried insect (Silk larvae, Red Ants, Crickets, Scorpions…whatever you can’t imagine*) Despite having food stalls in every nook and corner of the city; we truly kept a one arm’s distance from them because first of all no one can predict what meat it is, the not-so-great odor emitted from the dishes and after all, I still love my filter coffee, bisi bele bath and spices. I remember how we ate out Katti rolls in pin drop silence the moment we reached Bangalore airport. Hunger can teach more lessons than a well- written self-help book. Miles and miles we walked along the neat pavement of Bangkok roads; seeing the city coming vibrant, staring at the colorful TUK-TUKs and motorcycles, taking time to visit other places outside the city, tasting, testing and disapproving Indian food from Indian restaurants, trying to converse with people we met, learning about the culture and improving the tolerance for an absolutely different culture. For example; like we Indians, Thai Hindus pray to Lord Ganesha. The difference is Indian Ganesha is vegetarian and Thai Ganesha is a hard-core non-vegetarian. They offer their Gods Non-vegetarian dishes, the sweet tooth of Indian Ganesha was extracted from the root, I guess.
My backpack weighed an extra 5kg while returning; with happiness, stories, memories and promise to travel more. Travel to me is a necessity and not an option. I understand why honeymooners are not travelers, why my gold earrings are worthless to my first hand experience I carried back to my homeland, why it is an absolute necessity to stand outside your comfort level for a few days and why travelling is an achievable dream for middle class spinster woman. I READ, I TRAVEL AND I BECOME PEACE. Some approximately 2400 Km away from the land of Bisi Bele Bath, I found myself alongside my wanderlust ally.
*Bisi Bele Bath – A traditional Kannadiga dish made of rice and lentils. Made in every home, a staple dish and enjoyed by all.