It’s been more than a year since I returned from the UK to India. For years, I had been visiting India on short social visits. These visits never gave scope to do any sort of travelling. The discovery of the real soul of India, so long a passionate longing within me, never happened. This is one of the first things that prompted me to make this return to India. I left India in Decemeber 1990 and had lived outside eversince.
So you can imagine the excitement I felt when I returned to India in September 2007. Fifteen months later I still haven’t seen anything of India. Firstly, you think you have returned for good and hence you have infinite amount of time. There is no sense of hurry which only means procrastination. You get caught up in everyday things, in a life of busy schedules, commitments and routines that are all part of a dull existence.
Secondly, there is very little evidence of other people doing it. There may be many tourists but very few travellers. A traveller is not a common breed. He is a misfit, an aberration of society’s clean order, hierarchy, rules, responsibilities and duties. He is a vagabound who has lost his bearing in life’s clear course. Frankly, I have met very few people who have a clear course; and those few are great men and women. The majority of us have to search doggedly to find it. A traveller is nothing more than a specific class of such seekers.
Thirdly, living in any Indian city is next to hell. I say this only because of my personal experience with Bangalore. It has moving swiftly from being a Garden City to being a Garbage City. Traffic is best not mentioned. The state of roads will soon been an obsolete topic. In time to come, it is likely that we will not have anything close to resembling a road. Urban planning is a new phrase here. A city as this quickly absorbs you and your energy. You are caught up in survival and earning your daily roti and daal. You think that if this is all the Silicon Valley of India is capable of, surely there can be nothing better in the rest of India.
But now I am determined. I have made up my mind to leave Bangalore as often as I can. I know very little of India outside the major cities. It is high time I discovered. In another circumstance I would be tempted to say that I leave the comfort of home to discover my country. Instead, I am glad to leave the pollution and mess of Bangalore to imbue the spirit of an Indian village, no matter how remote and how primitive. It can only be better.
They say that at journey’s end is the beginning of a new one. So here I am sick of city life and starting on a new journey. Those of you who may take the trouble to read my long accounts and anecdotal thoughts, I hope you will stay with me or better still make your own journeys.