All posts tagged: Stories from the road

A Scenic Bus Ride In Switzerland

It was undoubtedly clear that the journey, as soon as the bus escaped Italy and entered into Swiss territory, became far more surreal. The majestic Swiss Alps, perfectly beautified with an unbroken chain of sparkling glaciers, crystal blue lakes and the many quaint villages – as I happened to explore, during a cheap 25 Euro Flixbus journey, offered no less than many million dollar views. I was travelling from Milan to Basel to spend my last weekend in Europe, before flying back to Delhi, and it couldn’t start any better. I mean there is no denial the fact that Switzerland offers beauty unparalled, on any road trip, taken in any direction; but this 300-km long stretch, even though I’d nothing more than a window seat in a public bus, felt no less charming. It dwarfed the memories of many other places I’d so far classified as SERENE! (PS: Milan to Basel route was even better than Zurich-Lucern-Engelberg, as I explored during a day trip to Mount Titlis from Zurich) What To Expect From the Journey The first two …

From Getting Robbed In Bratislava, Slovakia, To Saying No To Making Generalizations: My Experience, As It Continues…

Before you read the story, I request you to please read it till the end. Please do not leave it in between finding a negative tone against Slovaks, or the Eastern Europe at large… because that was never the intention, and just cannot be!  While planning my 2-month backpacking trip across 8 countries in Europe, and before I arrived in Bratislava, the capital town of the east-European country of Slovakia, a few people warned me about having my wits about the place. “You be careful walking along those streets; eastern Europe can be surprising,” they claimed. But I never cared much for their unsolicited advice. I mean for a person who had spent most of his life learning the art of self-defense, inside the crazy boundaries of a city like New Delhi, eastern Europe should be no problem, right? “I’ve seen worse,” I would carefully assure myself. To sometimes even brag about it a little, and sound more experienced, I would utter an experience or two from my solo backpacking trip in Southeast Asia, and Cambodia …

Travel Confession: I Hate Flying

I always think that this world would be a much better place if man hadn’t discovered flying yet. And I’m sure if there were no aeroplanes, science would have invested more resources in improving train travel, and we’d still be able to cross continents. Though we might not be able to travel from New Delhi to Boston in a few hours, as we can otherwise do in a supersonic jets of today, but we’d sure be somewhere closer. And then again, it would be a much better journey, passing through I don’t know how many countries and the infinite ocean, than just tripping in a boring aircraft, entrapped with a few hundred impatient co-passengers. Before you make generalizations let me get this straight, I am not scared of flying.  I am not afraid that the aeroplane I’m on will fly into a mountain because of pilot error, or that a Korean Navy ship will decide that the Boeing flying above their head is an enemy aircraft and knocks it off by mistake. No I don’t find …

Why I Loved Phnom Penh

When after spending a few days in Siem Reap, I decided to move to Phnom Penh, it was FOR ONLY ONE NIGHT – before further moving to the coast. I had more than just a fortnight left in Cambodia, and islands were my priority. But as I arrived in Phnom Penh, one night became two, two became four, and four became almost a week. Every day, I woke up, thought to myself, I’ll get in the bus tomorrow, and wasted the entire day street hopping, eating, and drinking. That wasn’t me. But the city had cast its magic on me. Phnom Penh is a kind of city that stuck you in. It is laid back, cheap and easy-going. Everything here is accessible at a hand’s reach, and at a cost cheaper than affordable. The pace of life is seamless, and the many affable locals make the city enjoyable to a next level. In short, Phnom Penh is a perfect city to easily blend in, and you don’t need more than one day to realise that. What …

Travelling India – Where Every Step Is A New Learning

It has been more than an year now, since I’m travelling India – exploring its horizons and stretching through its boundaries – from days on end.  And during the stint I’ve come across, this repeated question, a predicament rather, that why am I busy travelling my own country, when there is so much to see in the world. “What is the reason behind this abiding fascination,” someone once asked. I give people different reasons – that start right from the obvious mentions of its cultural diversity to the warmth of the people. When you’re in India, not only you feel more alive, thanks to the country’s colourful ambience, but you also lean a lot – about yourself, and about the world around you. Not to mention all the ways it familiarises you with the many imperative spiritual truths. Here, some of the most important life lessons this country has taught me: People Are Not Bad, After All Before I started travelling, and during the days of my bustling life in New Delhi, I often heard people saying …

Why Mountains Attract The Traveler In Us

The air condition of the car felt like a whiff of cool air emerging right from a timeworn refrigerator, trying to choke my throat with every inhalation. And then, in just a matter of few long minutes, it gave a quick but restless comfort – something I was not much familiar to, at least not from the last few weeks. I found myself struggling with these boundless, wasteful thoughts as I grabbed myself riding my sister’s car, on my way to pick up my mother from the nearest metro station. In just 5-kilometer drive, I remember bothering about half a dozen drivers. And their indignation was quite visible through those irritated, disdained looks they willingly offered me, while overtaking. They seemed to be following some sort of cultural hurried routine, while I was still controlled by the periodic episodes of peaceful blackouts – something you get addicted to, after experiencing, for some time, the stillness in Himalayas. It’s crazy how man has developed technologies for a speedy comfort, yet at the same time, he knows they’re making his life harder …

9 Best Experiences I Had In South India

No matter how little or how deeply traveling interests you, the southern part of India is one of those places, that can’t be missed. From carefully watching locals getting hold of their lungis to discovering a culturally intriguing way of life, this is where you will never find yourself getting short of most expected, and a little stereotyped, Indian experiences. But to tell you the truth, I was a wee bit unsure about my survival here, given all the distinctions between the India I was familiar to, living in New Delhi. But when an invitation landed in my inbox (from a friend living in Kerala) I’d long known, I knew I had to go there and test the waters. Though I was only staying at his place for a couple of nights, but it came out as a security that I’d, at least, survive my arrival, and it seemed enough for the moment. Thanks to that friend and to many other I met on the way, here are some incredible moments I had: Tasting The …

Kerala: A Well-Behaved, Tranquil State; Truly A God’s Own Country

Kerala, the southernmost state of India, as I found, has some sort of warmth in its air.  Its people, despite walking fast – with their lungis, all tucked up –never seem to be in hurry. This place has some sort of force – full of magic, and if it is, it speaks for a magic that only knows the language of friendliness and peace. They say, people in Kerala are most educated, I say they are well learnt. And what makes them so qualified is the culture they follow and the kindness they preach. I always wondered what’s in this place (and perhaps in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu) that it gave India so many great teachers of philosophy – from Shankracharya to Chinmayananda, and many others; and I found the answer only when, at last, I personally visited this part of my country. Almost every other person here – from the older, more religious to the younger, more practical – live in their own world of self-effacing originality. Their lifestyle is uncomplicated, simply …

Hampi: A Journey To The Unknown

The sun set; the dusk fell on the river, but no lights appeared along the shore. Hunters for treasure and the seekers of fame – it felt – this river has seen them all, back in time, when they came possessing whatever they found, within the greatness the of this land, until that greatness surrendered, and started losing itself into the oblivious mystery of unknown. I wonder how many times this town fell prey to human greed, generation after generation, as people submitted themselves to the insatiable thirst to acquire more and looted the place and took back with them, all they assumed was of any value. It reminded me of that computer game I used to play, where you take a big army of knights and swordsmen and bring down your neighbouring empire, something similar – or perhaps much uncomfortable and eerily painful – it feels, might have happened here, as you walk  about the empty ruins of Hampi. Beautiful, but missed monuments, lying wasted, losing their significance to the impenetrable gloom. Temples, either sealed …

A Wonderful Way To Navigate Through Places

The sun was scattering diamonds as we left our campsite – home to our few temporary nights – and started heading back to Bangalore. Driving through the wilderness and the many sleepy settlements around Coorg, we slowly turned onto the snarl of bigger roads that clog and clutter the modern city life. The final drive, back to where it all started, was rather strange. Everyone kept silent, despite much going in their head. I think it was the melancholy, kicking in hard, as no one, it seemed, had a perfect set of words to start a conversation. The silence felt awkward, creating a sense of discomfort, almost the way you feel the moment you first meet a group of unknown people. But this silence had some meaning to it, some memories, which kept reverberating in our head, with every passing minute. As I personally drew it out, everyone was, at least, quite satisfied with how this three-day trip went by. We were quite thrilled, in fact, with the experiences and the memories the journey had …