Thursday, December 26, 2013

Trust is the operative word

When you are travelling, you need to trust. You need to trust fellow passengers, who have seen you working on your laptop, take money out of your wallet, put the wallet and the laptop securely back in your bag before you go to the washroom. Then before leaving the compartment, you smile and request the strangers to keep your luggage safe. You trust. Blindly.

You hire an autorickshaw. Knowing very well that the autorickshaw driver is charging you almost double the fare. Then you trust him. Trust him to not only take you to your destination but also drive safely. You smile at him, ask him his name and the next thing you know he is telling you how not to get duped, where to go, and how to commute.

Trust is the operative word. Once you begin to trust, suddenly the world seems nicer. Sadly, for me at least, trusting people comes easy only when I am travelling. Maybe this is the ‘one thing’ I’ll take back home (apart from the presents I am to carry if I want to lead a happy life).

I left Goa this morning. Carrying my bags to the station from the resthouse early morning was taxing for my shoulders but a major ego boost for my soul. Being independent is a high. And though I have never tried any other forms of getting a high, I still can bet my last cent that nothing can beat the high of being independent.

I was very excited about the train ride today. I had read online and heard from Jaspinder that this leg of the journey was magical. Fortunately, it was everything I expected and then some more. My co-passengers today were a German couple. A few seconds before the train was going to reach the Dhoodhsagar Falls the Ticket Checker came rushing through the compartment telling all of us to look outside the window and be ready with our cameras. I explained to the German couple why the Indians on board and especially the Ticket Checker was so excited about the falls. Even though they told me that they had never seen a Bollywood film, I explained to then that these falls have gained a special importance in our lives since they were a location in a very important scene in SRK starrer Chennai Express. So crossing the same place where SRK had been during the shooting of the movie was a total fan-girl moment for me.

However, I must admit that travelling solo is not all fun. You see couples in love, families mostly shouting at each other but surely in love to travel together, and then you see something incredibly beautiful and have no one to turn to, to share the moment. In the last five days I have shared a lot of moments and conversations with strangers. And while the novelty of that experience is something that I cherish, there were several moments when I missed having someone next to me, someone I knew. But I knew what I was stepping into when I packed my bags and left the cold grey skies of Delhi.

Once in Hospet, all the autowalas went rushing to the foreign tourists. I felt neglected and decided I would go to Hampi with the first autowala who asks me, and that too without bargaining. And so Sharat earned not only my respect for ignoring the foreigners but also awesome business from me. He will be taking me around the ruins of Hampi tomorrow as well. But this time I will bargain.

I decided to take it a bit slow today and just vegetated in front of the TV throughout the evening. More about the hotel, the staff and of course Hampi tomorrow.

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