“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain
Mark Twain can’t be wrong, I wondered. It was this quote that laid the foundation for this trip. Maybe I will get a chance to visit all these places in the future. But if I don’t, I will for sure be disappointed. I could have easily stayed at home, saved my strength and the money that I am spending now. But twenty years later, when I look back at my life, I will regret that I did not do it when I could. Even if I get the time and the money for a such a trip twenty years from now, for sure, I will not have the strength to do such a survival style journey. Dreams, unachieved, will haunt you throughout your life. That is why I decided to live my dream.
I got up early in the morning. I had to catch my flight back to Bangalore. I got to the airport on time to take my flight. I took off and there I was on my way back after a mammoth journey across India. There is no words to describe my feelings. The feeling of having accomplished what I wanted to do. The Kashmir trip was planned as early as 2005 and the Darjeeling trip in 2007, the journey around India in 2008. To do all this together in just 3weeks was really a great achievement. The days went on so fast. The plan went right on, flawlessly. If ever there was a change in plan, it was for the better. It couldn’t have been any better than this, I thought. There were back up plans in place but I never had to use any. The plan of using some key places as ‘strategic location’ for the case of a missed train. There was even a back up for the worst case scenario in which I am stranded in some part of India without my backpack, handbag, purse and mobile. I would still have the 1500rs cellotaped to my belt that would get me home. 750-800rs for a sleeper class tatkal ticket from anywhere in India to home. The other 700-750rs for means to get to nearest railway station and for food. But with nothing going wrong, I never had to use any of these.
After a stopover in Ahmedabad, I landed at the Bangalore International Airport at 11am. I have now covered more than 10,000kms around in India through plains, mountains, valleys, rivers and air. I have been in 17cities across 14states in India in just 21days. Today being a sunday, I wanted to go to church. I had a lot of things to thank god for. Though I had a stock of all common medicines, against fever, cold, headache, indigestion, etc, not a single tablet of any kind had to be used in the entire course of the trip. Not a single thing that belonged to me was lost/stolen/misplaced during the trip. I visited all the destinations I intended to and even more. Been to two extreme places on earth in cherrapunjee and khardung la. From the scorching heat of Bhubaneswar, to the biting cold at Rohtang. From the marine drive at Puri, to the highest road in Khardung La. From the rainiest place in Cherrapunjee, to the cold desert in Ladakh. It was truly a journey from extreme to extreme. But was a wonderful experience altogether. Visiting new places, meeting new people, tasting new recipes and learning from other cultures. This was a perfect break I wanted.
And as for the obvious question, what next?, well, I don’t reveal my plan in advance. Two years for my masters in business at TAPMI, Manipal. That is where I am heading to. Hope you have enjoyed my travelogues. Thanks for the encouragement and prayers. Do keep in touch.
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