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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The World is Not Enough

A young boy aged about five craned out his little neck from the window of a moving train of a third class compartment as the steam engine bellowed out smoke and chugged ahead. After a while, he suddenly withdrew his head inside as fly ash and soot from the burnt charcoal particles entered his eyes and he cried in pain. The mother who was sitting beside cleaned the eye with the handkerchief after washing with some cold water. Within minutes the child was once again busy looking out of the window, unconcerned about the eye, gazing at the passing fields, a cluster of houses and the electricity poles as they flashed past! The kid has not changed much despite the passage of few decades the enthusiasm to peep out of the window either in a bus, train, boat, ship or a flight still unchanged! You guessed it right! The kid was none other than me.

In the initial years whilst still, at school and college, the holidays were to nearby towns of Delhi and a couple of cities scattered across the country. The changing countryside, dialects and languages, the way people dress, aromas of different foods were the first impressions that left an indelible impact in the coming years. Different cultures and languages witnessed while travelling helped in understanding the history and geography of places.

Then came the momentous day when I finished the college to take a 2-night train journey to Kochi to join the Naval Academy!  It was a defining moment for someone who had never seen the sea in life, to seek a profession full of thrill and adventure on the high seas. The stories of Captain Ahab in ' Moby Dick' and ' Fifteen Men on the Dead Man's chest.... Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum' in the legendary 'Treasure Island' by Robert Louis Stevenson were a literary confluence that shaped in pursuit of a sailor's life.The love for the sea, to see the dolphins pursuing the aircraft carrier in which I sailed, to a date with seagulls in the evening were something I miss even now!A journey to new port meant meeting the new people and learning new customs! For someone used to eating food with hands for a good twenty years, everything changed to eating by fork and spoon for every meal in the Naval Mess! There were opportunities to take a dive in the submarine and also fly onboard a helicopter that took off from the flight deck, strengthening the resolve to conquer all possible frontiers. During the vacations, I would pack my bags to head to places like Leh in the North to Shillong in the East to see how the arid mountains and the tea plantations look like! I had my wife as a willing partner in crime to travel! Just after our marriage, we headed to Kashmir and also undertook treks to Chandanwadi from Pahalgam followed with an arduous journey to Leh by road in an Army bus with a night stopover at Kargil! The Commanding Officer of the Transit Camp at Leh welcomed us informing me that I was the first officer to visit Leh after the Chief of the Naval Staff! The blazing deserts in Jaisalmer with fiery hot winds and temperatures of 47 deg C to the sultry weather of Chennai and Madurai were equally lovable. The chimes of bells in Varanasi and Dwarka, Azan from the Dargah of Chisti in Ajmer to exploring the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa paved the way for a truly secular outlook that our lovely land offers!
At Burj Khalifa in Dubai

As the life took another turn a plunge in the corporate world paved the way for a journey to the lands I had only dreamt of. Journeys to the mystical land of Jesus in Israel and Bethlem, floating on the Dead Sea, climbing the World Trade Centre( prior to 9/11), Burj Khalifa, and the Petronas Towers gave a real power of enjoying the spectacular distant vision. Skiing down the slopes in Jungfrau on the Swiss Alps, appreciating the beauty of Mona Lisa in Louvre, David by Michelangelo at Florence, a Papal audience in the Vatican are some of the memorable events among many that opened the mind to make every journey unique.
Antibes in the French Riviera

The beauty of the French and Italian Riviera on the coasts of Mediterranean with the deep blue sea kissing the coastline, watching the whales in action at Kaikoura and dolphins in Akaroa in New Zealand, tasting the pizzas by going all the way to Naples, bring back the childlike curiosity to keep exploring this beautiful world forever!
At Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps

The inspiration for travel keeps the urge to know and learn more with every passing year.It only keeps getting stronger with the passage of time as no matter how much you travel, ' The World is Not Enough' to see, learn and conquer.

PS: This is my submission for the Lufthansa(https://yestotheworld.com/in/en?utm_source=Indiblogger_contest&utm_medium=contest&utm_campaign=LH_SayYesToTheWorld_Mar18) and Indiblogger sponsored blog contest

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8 comments:

  1. The world is surely not enough for your passion to travel. Wishing you more travels and happiness.

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    1. Ha ha.. thanks a lot for reading and your kind wishes!

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  2. I belong to the other end Rahul ,not much fond of travelling,but I wish you happy traveling all the time.

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  3. Thanks for reading Induji! What is sauce for goose need not necessarily be sauce for gander:)

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  4. You have traveled a LOT, Mr Bhatia and that's sooooo wonderful. Love your travel pics always.
    All the very best for this contest! Cheers!

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    1. Shilpa believe me the joy of traveling is unparalleled for the bounties of experience ! There is still so much to see😃

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