Wanderlust Explained:

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By this post, I will attempt to talk about this ‘ wanderlust’ which affects us. On reflecting, I realized that not just the humans; but even a lot of migratory animals are affected by it. Specifically, some birds never stay put in one place all their life.  Perhaps that is why they have wings; so that they can fly?

How many times have you wanted to be someplace else as opposed to where you are right now? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a place you want to travel to, it could simply be a shopping mall, a cinema, a park or a yearning for some fresh air.

Travel is just a part of the Wish:

The yearning to travel is just a part of the whole scenario.

Is it just me or everyone feels like there is something out there to be experienced, discovered and lived. Not that there is anything wrong with the way we are living our present lives but there is a vacuum, a chasm ; if you will, somewhere  deep inside which can only be filled by this pursuit of the desire to discover something which  hitherto is unknown. Think about the gazillion cultures, tribes, cults, religions, places and tales just waiting to be explored, exposed and revealed!!!

At this point, it would be wrong not to mention the Inner Travel and Outer Travel.

According to me, any travel experience which entails travelling to any place, we are not familiar with would constitute two things on a basic level, an inner experience and an outer experience.

The outer experience would embrace the aesthetic beauty which we will see, natural like beautiful beaches, valleys, mountains and also manmade like beautifully designed buildings and cultural architecture.

However, the inner experience responds directly with the soul. So, you not only see things with your eyes but also with your soul… There is something about the sight of the magnificent ocean or the never-ending snow-covered mountain range, which communicates with you at an atavistic level. It strikes you at a spiritual level and makes you realize how insignificant you really are, how trivial your sorrows and pains, how ludicrous your struggles…..

Every travel experience changes something about you or rather teaches you something about yourself you didn’t know, the reason being that we are faced with unfamiliar circumstances and situations , things we are not used to and the way we react to them acquaints us with a part of our personality we didn’t know existed. So it really helps us grow. Every travel has changed me a little, my perspective in certain things.  It makes you aware about new things; things you didn’t know existed or cared about before, perhaps.

Does it signify a yearning for Freedom/ Emancipation?

Could this mean that the human soul really desires freedom when it wants to discover new things, new places , new people? Freedom to live beyond their societal boundaries by assimilating with different cultures and different ways of life? Maybe the soul was really not meant to live in these manmade boundaries, these boundaries which define how to live and how not to live.

What is strange is that every culture has a specific way to live and deal with things, so which one is really the correct way? How do we know that?

At this point, my saner self tells me, hey everything you wish to know and discover is right beside you, with you and around you. But how will I know that unless I do this, unless I give into this wanderlust and see where it takes me?

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Was this a Glimpse of Nirvana???

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We started off with a trip to Andaman and Nicobar Islands but soon realized that there was no Nicobar to visit because the tiny archipelago was made tinier by the Tsunami that rocked the Pacific Islands in 2004.

I will admit that I am a little conventional in a way and I like to fully prepare myself about a place before I travel, I read travel blogs and travelogues about it. But nothing had prepared me for the real Andaman! What awaited us there was an experience beyond mere words. Not only was it aesthetically beautiful, it being an archipelago, the view from the airplane window before you land on the Veer Savarkar Airport in Port Blair, is beyond compare. It was culturally, anthropologically and even geologically unparalleled to anything I have ever seen even on Discovery HD.

(Honestly!)

It will take me posts and posts if I tell you the  complete story of Andaman as I saw it, so I will stick to a cursory view of the island. The promenade around the ocean in Port Blair is thrice the size of the much talked about Marine Drive and ten times more beautiful. Anthropologically, it hosts many tribes, the Jarawas, Onges , Sentinelese etc  which despite the advent  of a nuclear world live in absolute ignorance of the world around them. I mean they operate in a parallel universe because their civilization has not progressed from the Cavemen stage. This is astounding. No? Imagine! They haven’t heard of TV and yes our very own ‘the Internet’ is a mystery to them.  I saw hordes of anthropologists visiting the island and studying their culture.

In the Colonial times, this island was used to dump the political prisoners, and it earned its moniker “kala-paani”. The Cellular Jail made me think that how can some place so beautiful be marred by so much bloodshed? On a tour of the jail; the place where the prisoners were hanged is also pointed out. Many people who fought for us; died here.

To cover the whole chain of islands, we decided to hire a car. We drove through the whole expanse of the archipelago, the local ferries would ferry the passengers and their vehicles across the water. It was pure joy to watch gas cylinders being ferried from one island to another. One thing which really intrigued me was that every little town had a library. The public libraries in the bigger towns were often huge buildings, that says a lot about the people there.

The Beaches! Where do I even begin? The Havelock Island had its own immigration office (which was a cute little hut), a lot of tourists moor their yachts and use speed boats to come to the island and enjoy the beach and for water sports. With coral reefs to explore; Andaman has made a niche for itself in water sports.  The Ross and Smith Islands are twin islands off the coast of North Andaman (picture above); the sight of them emerging when you drive towards them in a speed boat is unsurpassed.

I will never ever forget the sight of underwater life; the scene I saw when I snorkeled on the Jolly Buoy Island. I saw a school of sea anemone fish (the clown fish rather Nemo, if you will ). It was like watching Nemo come alive. This school was attempting to hide in a sea anemone.

There is so much to cover the cuisine, the museums and more beaches; which keep getting better… When you think that nothing can be more beautiful than this; you come across something twice as beautiful.

So! If you ever think of an Island holiday; don’t forget we live close to one of the best in the World ( even though it is unexplored; which adds to its allure)!!!!

What is Honor:To do or not to Do?

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One of my fondest memories of my recent Goa trip, strangely, is a book I bought from the famous Singbal Bookstore which is located on the Church Square in Panaji ( Panjim), infact even Lonely Planet recommends this place.

I was in my Turkish- writer’s phase and decided to give Honor by Elif Shafak a chance. Since I had read the Forty Rules of Love and enjoyed it.

On the cover it looks like any other oft- written book about immigrants to foreign lands. However, this book grapples with a lot of other fundamental questions which are beautifully weaved into the plot. What is Honour? What are we really protecting ‘this’ for? And most importantly, from whom? Why is ‘honour’ only associated with women?

It is a powerful story set in Turkey and London, which roughly covers three generations. Adem and his wife Pembe immigrate to London from Turkey in search of a good life.  It highlights the differences between the Turkish and Kurdish people. Shafak highlights the question of Identity crisis which is faced by immigrants and even the generations that follow. It follows the lives of these family members which are shattered by an act of a brutal murder.

The protagonist, Iskender, a young seventeen year old is made to choose between honour and love and he ends up murdering his own Mother for the sake of ‘honour’. On finding out that she was having an affair with another man after his father abandons the family he is made to choose since he is the head of the family, being the eldest male in the family.

It makes you question the significance of love and blood ties. Peculiarly, by the end of the book a feeling of allegiance can be associated with Iskender and I wanted a happy ending for him, despite his cold blooded act.

Shafak managed to bring out the notion that you can’t hate the sinner; it is the sin that is condemn-able since behind everything there is a reason.

This was a good buy. Nothing is worse than paying for a bad book.

My next post will be about the beautiful Andamans!!

The Pilot Post!

I am a law graduate ( graduated a few months ago) , like everybody else i knew what i was doing when i started law school. I was supposedly one step ahead and had my career mapped out to the last detail. Then, life happened or shall i use a euphemism and say that i grew up!

In my last year of law school, I realized that i did not want to do anything I had mapped out infact I was clueless about what I even wanted for dinner sometimes (No kidding)! Then I graduated and I was more clueless than ever… I wanted to travel, write about things I am passionate about ( which ranges from anthropology to books to music to metaphysics and yes also world peace) and work for social organizations. In a parallel world, all these things might be possible to do and even together but the real world does not give that much leverage I realized.

But then it hit me.. I can do all these things if I want to and yes all of them can be done together. With this blog, I will share my travels, vicarious and real ones. My social organization escapades and yes, my books..

I hope you will enjoy it as much as I will!!!!!!