There’s an upcoming travel website – at least, I hope it’s coming up, soon – that I’m loosely associated with, that had asked me for a “generic” travel article. At first I couldn’t come up with anything, but the trip to Pondicherry let loose a flow of words, which I captured on my mobile phone, of course, and this and the following (that is, previous) entry are what emerged. I thought they were rather good, I hope you think so too.
I’m on the road again. It’s a wonderful, comfortable feeling, like a favourite old blanket, torn and worn and smelly that has settled over me and wrapped itself all around me, warm and cozy.
The milestones roll by in slow motion, counting down the long, leisurely hours on the move, with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Vast open vistas unfold, usually layer upon layer of green and yellow fields, crops waving in a gentle breeze. Occasionally, a river flows across the path, with a rickety old bridge spanning it.
People board, and get off. I lose track of them, as they swap seats, stories, and snacks. Time passes in a haze, as I drift in and out of sleep, in and out of conversations, in and out of a book, in and out of a bag of something to munch… The mind enters a peculiar state of disassociation. Nothing seems very important, or even very real, except the set of wheels (car, bus, train, or any other) rolling me along and the slowly passing landscape, the inexorable countdown of the milestones. Something – or, more often, someone – awaits me at the end of the journey, but for now my mind, body, and soul are adrift, gliding freely among the swaying fields and floating away on the noiseless waters of the flowing river.
I have, of course, promises to keep, deadlines to meet, miles to go before I reach… but, as usual, I don’t want this journey to end. Not yet.