I don’t respond well to surprises. I prefer not to be caught off guard. I had prepared myself for a lazy weekend at home in my faded clothes watching K-pop videos. Instead on Friday night at 10:30 PM, I found myself standing on platform 19 of the bus station waiting to board the bus to Hyderabad with my sister. Talk about a surprise! If there’s one person who has managed to really surprise me it is my sister and she only seems to get better at it every year.
It was an interesting trip to the largest studio complex in the world, ‘Ramoji Film City‘. While the destination was exciting, for me it was the journey which refreshed me. We packed quite a bit to do in 24 hours and we were able to see the plan through. This was supposed to be my birthday gift and I couldn’t have been more thankful. The trip served as a much-needed escape from home and daily life.
It’s always nice to do childish things, like going on rides, sitting on a carousel, and playing games. You can’t be the most mature version of yourself all the time. It’s ok to do silly things and rely on gut feeling. It’s been a while since I let loose and gave things like bungee-trampolining a shot.
I don’t particularly believe that holidays only count if they cover a week or more. I like short and exciting trips. I live for the movement, the time I spend staring out the window of a bus, car, train or plane watching the scenery change. Every conversation shared with those you travel with will be the ones you remember when you’re sad. Travelling is the best way to make and collect memories. Long holidays get tiring after a bit and seem to drag on. When you’re bound by time, you make it more exciting for yourself. You want to do as much as you can.
There is no perfect trip, there will always be hold-ups and fumbles. There are a million things that can go wrong when we travel, but you can only do your best. While I am a careful traveller, it’s taken a lot of travelling to make me a more accommodative traveller. The more journeys you make the more prepared you are to brave adversities. Even if your trip goes off-track it doesn’t mean that that’s the end of your trip, in fact, I see it as an opportunity.
I love exploring new cultures, every city and every town has a character of its own. I am not the person who’ll book a guided tour, I hate them. You barely get to immerse yourself in the culture on a guided tour. If I can’t find someone from the area to tell me what to watch out for, I’d rather read up and plan my own thing. It’s about putting yourself out there and just for one day or a couple of days being someone you usually are not.
Travelling can give you a new lease of life. When I discussed where else I’d like to go in the future with my sister it reminded me of how much I have left to see. Every day I wake up asking myself what the point is, what have I left to live for and every time I travel I am reminded that I am not done yet. I don’t get to decide, when the world is done with me that’s when I’ll go.
The film city was fun. The thing is, I just liked being elsewhere. The sweltering sun, taking typical photos and allowing my curiosity to precede my judgement. As someone who watches a lot of movies, I could tell which scene was shot where. Like I said it wasn’t the place that caught my fancy, it was the trip in itself, a new place, new faces, the feeling of being on your own. I enjoyed the feeling of being Sahitya before being a member of this family and of this world. For one day I wasn’t a girl on a gap year, who has things to accomplish and shoes to fill.
My sister and I survived on public washrooms, where we brushed and changed, mind you, the washrooms looked like they’d never been cleaned. It’s always nice to live on the edge, but as two people who’ve travelled a fair bit, it was a cake-walk. We might have not made the best decisions when it came to food and maybe we should have kept aside a little time to think about that but when it’s a surprise trip, you don’t have much of a choice.
Like every trip, this one was not without its scary moments. I have never walked on a road in any city and felt like I was not going to reach the other side alive as I did in Hyderabad near the bus station. The traffic and the rash driving ensured that my heart was in my mouth for every second as I walked along the road. Of course, the weather could have been better but that was hardly an issue.
For an impromptu trip, it went off much better than I had expected. This year I haven’t felt like travelling, because it made me panic, the stress was more than I could handle. Even when this trip began I asked myself if I was ok with the idea. I wondered if there was going to be a problem, but I realised when it comes down to it I am still capable of taking care of myself. I am still able to think on my feet and find my way around the world without holding someone’s hand. I think I was sure I’d be fine when I booked the cab. I was ready to be proven wrong but I am not so easy to shake.
Now that I am back, I feel like life is a little more bearable and exciting. I am a home-body, I like my life indoors and when I came home today I was overjoyed but I love travelling and taking a few risks as well. I guess this is what it feels like to have the best of both worlds.