A new India
After a 6 hour long bus journey up the hills, I took a shared taxi with some localites towards Manikaran. I had to squeeze msyelf inside the cab that took the road under the scorching day light. A fellow passenger couldn’t resist throwing away the wrapper outside through the window while ignorantly chewing something. As much as I hated his act, I could only mumble to myself calling him an idiot and giving away angry expressions. Perhaps, I should learn to speak up and educate people about cleanliness, I thought.
While I was debating inside my head whether or not to speak up, a gentleman from behind questioned the fellow passenger(idiot)’s act. The conversation quickly fueled into ‘Swacch Bharat Campaign’ discussion while the rest of the passengers joined and it became a serious one. The ‘idiot’ defended himself by saying there are no dustbins around for us to not litter. The others politely said, ‘you could always carry it in your bag and dispose it off, when you see a dust-bin.’
Another said, ‘it’s our ignorance that makes our country dirty’. Well, that was a lesson for me, as well. The very fact that people are actively discussing about it made me smile and also made me believe that people are changing and hence the country.
A Tryst with travel dreams
I was lost on my trek inside the woods in the beautiful Parvati valley, trying to figure out if it would lead me anywhere. I had come a long way up. Reluctant to walk back, I decided to figure a way out. It was not long since I had taken the decision when a young man with a stubble and also a trekking pole as his third leg walked down my way. We smiled at each other and initiated a conversation just like other generous souls would.
I asked him about the route and he named me a village 7 kms further away. As soon as the good news hit my ears, I couldn’t resist asking more about his whereabouts. He said he was from Morocco. For some reason, it made me exclaim, ‘Wow! It’s so close to my dream continent. I plan to explore Europe in the near future. It has such beautiful places.’
He also said he had come to explore India for the next 6 months with no definite plan. I told him about all the beautiful places I had visited across the country, he was spellbound. We discussed a bit more and he left with a quote in his accent that I’ll never forget, ‘India is such a beautiful country. There is so much to explore. So many different landscapes. Indians should explore their country more before moving to Europe.’ I waved goodbye as I concurred what he said.
Forget the past
As I finally reached the destination, I found a bunch of people taking rest under the shades of a broken hut. After a while, a German came with some tools to fix that house for an Indian family. I was speechless. He woke up a bunch of Belgians who were lying there and started with his construction work while speaking to the Indian kids in a pretty fluent Hindi. The Belgians and the German soon struck a conversation.
They spoke about football, Europe and then about beer while I was eavesdropping with a smile. The German said, ‘You guys must hate us for what we did to your country during the war times’. The Belgian replied, ‘Oh! It’s the past. We weren’t even born then. Neither were you. Our countries were different and so were our leaders. We can’t hate you for their mistake. We have come a long way from there.’ As simple as that may sound, so was their attitude. Simple and friendly.
To more travel stories to write and more beautiful places to visit, as there is just one life to live.