Tuesday, March 20, 2007

All that jazz about travelling

So. I am sitting in my aunts living room, surrounded by my relatives who have just recently come from a trip to kaasi-varanasi- gaya-allahabad and I am in a state of revelation. I look around me, and see animated expressions, wild gestures. On one side my aunt is talking about the 'vaatta saatamana security, ana evaalo sehappu' or the fair complexioned, well built security men out there. Then my uncle mentions the 'malai' available or the milk which is constantly on the boil in huge urns and tastes delicious. And then about the "vibrations" of the place, and the devoutness of the saadus.

And about the triveni sangam ( the meeting point of yamuna, ganaga and saraswati) and how when they sacrificed a lock of hair at that point , it did not float away, but actually got sucked in by the hidden currents of saraswati. The yamuna apparently is black shaded while the ganges is in green. About the way the road side vendors make rotis. Apparently, these guys make a thin roti from a ball of dough just slapping in between their two hands without using the roti stick (not sure what the correct name is).

I am amazed. I mean the tales that my otherwise 'un-travle-types' relatives stunned me. They brought back more interesting stories than i probably have on mine, they have tried out their broken hindi, spoken to locals and swamiji's, found a few shastri's from tanjavur living in kaasi.

So what, if they dont call it "travel" and dont try and market their experience as an "experience of a lifetime" ( o - they actually do label it that way, but more for spiritual reasons :) ). And the thing is, I would have normally not even bothered to enquire about it except for mere courtesy maybe, and wow, i just got one of the most vivid and interesting accounts.

There was this thread on travellerspoint once about 'why travel and the jazz' and someone who mentioned that they cant understand how people are seemingly satisfied with their boring routine lives. And it seemed to me then as it does now, that maybe there is this race of people ( myself included?) who are becomming extremely snobbish about this 'travel' hobby.

I mean - isn't travelling as u see it? Shouldnt travel be more for understanding that there does exist people unlike us, but not tag them into a category? Ofcourse, there is always the difference between the passionate traveller and the casual traveller, but that doesnt make one better than the other right?

Sort of like the bunch of us who call ourselves 'cosmopolites' but turn out to be just as racist as the next man , except here the divide is between the 'cosmopolite' vs 'non-cosmopolite' as against 'north indians' vs 'south indians'...

Just a train of thought... or have I become just as judgemental of the judgemental with this post???

10 comments:

priya said...

Hi, very interesting blog article!! Well if you are wondering what the name is for the stick that people use to make roti, it's rolling pin.

Your last sentence of the article reminds me of the style of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) in " The sex and the city":-)

Ms.N said...

@ priya... o yea the rolling pin! i kept telling myself i know the name but jus couldnt get it!

do dop in! any resemblance to sjp is coincidential and not intetional! :D

Mridula said...

I found the post wonderful.

Me said...

yeah your right!! We do get snobbish sometimes about the travel and what is meant by it. Nice post babe!!

apu said...

very interesting. Infact I've been thinking recently about this whole thing of traveller versus tourist, which I find to be a sort of west-led snobbish distinction.

In many cases, a traveller (even one living on the lowest budget) can only afford to do so because he comes from a developed country that allows him to quit his job and come back when needed...how many of us in third world countries have a social security net. Definitely travel is becoming a sort of status symbol, not in the old style of where have you been, but how have you been travelling...

Sriram P said...

seems like u r back in business after a long time or is it just i havent checked ur blog lately? i dunno... but those aunty stories are always interesting... and oh.. Dream on about SJP :-p) ...

-Cheers
SPJ

Ms.N said...

@ apu... actually even in the western world, quitting and travelling for a year is still quite 'forward' and in a way courageous. but yea, certainly more in the west than out here.

@ sriram... well, the last 3 posts did come after a long time!

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Arun said...

hmm.. Varanasi is a place that has intrigued me too. I spent 5 days while I was there, and came back presuming that i havent even scratched it's surface. Seems right, coz all those things you have written, I have completely missed!!

Ms.N said...

@ arun
i think that feeling happens with every trip tht i go to , and when u come back someone or the other is asking if u've done the one thing tht u miised out on!