<I wrote this for the Travel & Lifestyle section of the online magazine www.ignitink.com >
Robert Louis Stevenson read my mind when he said - For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.
I am the Romeo of this great affair; the ardent lover who won’t give up. As is true for all awe-inspiring affairs, this too started with lust. Wanderlust. It swept me off my feet and changed my life. Like true love does. But, this affair has no end. So, there’s no fear. Thus, I travel relentlessly. Sometimes, aimlessly. And I find happiness in this relentless pursuit. This is about one such pursuit. Some excerpts from my travelogue and some perspective through my lenses. About a long weekend spent in and around Munnar.
It was the Republic Day weekend. We took the Friday off to make this a four day long weekend (a luxury of sorts!). We packed our backpacks and boarded Pothigai Express from the Egmore station to head to Madurai. We had a sketchy plan and a few vague reservations. Rest as always falls in place. Travelling after all is just a leap of faith. The moment you plan too much, it starts resembling work!
And that’s what I did. Picked up my book, asked Danny for a coffee, put some music on and then tried concentrating on what the author had to say. Smiled for no reason. Maybe Gulzar’s lyrics in the background was a small reason for that smile.
|Pavithram Homestay, Devikulam|
|Sunset while on a walk from Devikulam to Munnar city|
Well, I did pack and we left for the next pitstop – Chinnar forest. To reach the place, one needs to take a bus from Munnar to Maryur (around 50 kms) and then take a jeep to the forest reserve. The bus driver drove without a care in the world at alarming speeds. The ramshackle bus shook to the tunes of ‘Tu cheez badi hai mast mast’. Motion sickness was redefined that day! Once we reached Maryur, we bought a week’s worth of food for our two day stay in Chinnar. The problem with foodies is that they shudder at the thought of lack of good food. So, we stuffed our bags to the hilt (only to regret later). The plan for the first day was to stay in a log cabin in the middle of the jungle, next to a stream. The brilliance of the plan exceeded our expectations by leaps and bounds! A two hour hike later, we were happily freezing our brains in the bone chilling water of the stream.
|The hike to our Jungle cabin|
|Cooking in the open|
I dozed off on the rocks while figuring out those funny patterns. The sambhar rice was delectable. I overate yet again! The plan for the next day was to pack up and go for a 4 hour hike to the top of a mountain. This was supposed to be our last stop – a mud hut on the top of a mountain. The hike was formidable because our bags were heavy. Important note to myself – Pack less clothes. And definitely, less food! The forest is replete with wild animals, but such is our luck that not one crossed our paths! Not that I have the willingness to become tiger fodder, but atleast a deer could have hopped and skipped in front of us! All we saw was animal poop. The view during the hike made up for everything though. Lush and green mountains in every direction. The peaceful silence of the forest was only broken by our feet crunching leaves.Just when we thought we could walk no more, the mud hut became visibly close. Our insanely heavy bags seemed lighter all of a sudden. The glimpse of the hut that we caught between the trees did not prepare us for the actual place though. The hut in itself wasn’t awe inspiring but the entire landscape just took our breath away. The rustic mud hut, the wooden chairs in front and a view so stunning, that even sleep seemed like taboo. All we did was sit on those wooden chairs, sip on port wine and stare ahead.
|One of our many breaks during the hike|
|The mud hut and the view in front!|
And just like that, the trip was over. Before we knew it, we were all headed back to our respective cities. This affair does get better with time, like wine. Enthralls you with every new journey. Gives you memories to smile about and a promise of a future full of long winding roads and beautiful sunsets. Quite like those timeless fairy tales which always have a happy ending. The thing with travel is that it gives you a new set of dreams with every journey. Makes you belong to every place you go to, yet keeps you rooted. Gives you wings, yet keeps you grounded. If only we learned to not belong to a region, religion, state or country, but embrace every place we went to, the world would be a happier place. That’s why travel is my religion. Someday, I hope to convert you too!