Aside

It is my dream to see the entire world. I want to travel everywhere, I love travelling. It has been almost a year now since I travelled anywhere and it makes me feel so fidgety somehow. My family is one of those who travel somewhere every year, it is a kind of habit. For the last couple of months I have been feeling extremely bored. That happens to everyone, we feel the need to escape from our life sometimes. Obviously, since I cannot travel every single time I feel like this, I read. That’s the next best thing. Nothing can take your mind off unwanted things like reading does. It allows me to escape into the world of the characters, their lives, their stories, their struggles. It makes you forget about your own worries. 

Reading has its own place in my life but travelling is something else. I thought earlier that by travelling I meant actually travelling outside my city or country. But recently I have come to realise that that is not what it means at all (though I have to agree that getting outside the city for a few days is fantastic).  I saw this advertisement two days back for a new building project. It asked ‘When was the last time you felt peaceful?’, ‘When was the last time you saw open roads and spaces?’, ‘When was the last time you breathed freely?’ etc. etc.Now they meant to say that their building project would provide nice open spaces, lawns and all that right here in Mumbai, but I thought of something entirely different. I was actually feeling all that-peaceful on open roads and breathing deep and easy while in a cab on the streets of my city. That actually did surprise me a little.

It surprised me because I had never thought of feeling as if I was travelling while in the city. For me travelling has always meant packing bags and catching a train or plane to go to a never before seen city or country and seeing new sights and hearing different languages, seeing new people. But that wasn’t what I was doing at all. I was on my way home late at night, in a cab in Mumbai!

I travel everyday. I travel in the local trains to get to my university and I travel in rickshaws and taxis. But I have never considered that to be travel because it is something that I do everyday, its somehow monotonous. I travel on the same stretch of railway tracks everyday, see the same things outside the window, the same suffocating crowd. The only difference is whether I have got a place to sit or whether I have to stand the entire way. There is nothing new. But it was something different altogether, that one ride in the taxi.

Since it was late the roads were pretty empty, there was no choking, congested traffic like there is in the day time. Mumbai is something else at night. Its beautiful. The cab was travelling at a pretty good speed since there was no traffic. The best thing was that I could roll down the windows. I like comfortable travelling, air-conditioned car and all that because in the city it is necessary. During the day there is so much noise due to the honking of cars, the pollution, the slow-moving traffic. But at night, there was a cool breeze blowing and we could roll down the windows. That feeling of the wind whipping through your hair, the glimpse of the sea and the beach between buildings and the beautiful sea-link!! I don’t have enough words to explain.

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I always knew my city was beautiful. There are definitely many problems, when aren’t there? But that one ride has made me feel so much better about my city and about travelling too. There is so much I haven’t seen in the world, so many places I want to visit. But it is just as true that there is nothing like your home-city, anywhere you go. It has made me realise that it is only that feeling that is important, whether you are travelling within your city or outside it.

I felt so wonderful that I had to write about it. I can’t think of a title, any suggestions?

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