Continued from here... [Train to Haridwar]
Before I enter Hotel Arati let me abruptly pause for a while here and hop onto another train. This time it is a train of thoughts that travels far and wide to everywhere!
Why am I here in Haridwar? What brings me here? To start with was it a conscious decision – of course triggered or by an impulse - that started it all? Or was it pre planned, beyond my volition? The latter is too farfetched to be imagined being true! At least I refuse to believe it although some part of my brain is instructing exactly the opposite – saying this is a part of my destiny – it had to happen…
Going by the easiest explanation first - it was an escape hatch from the banal life of the city that is Bangalore – academics and work combined had merely intellectual stimulation to offer. Get away, anywhere, now! It was a short break of four weeks (the longest we get between years) between the second year of my post graduation and the next quarter when I had exactly a week left. It was an urgency and impatience to grab this opportunity to travel to some place and I finally chose Uttaranchal, and to start with Haridwar. See? That was easy.
The next thing is this concept of wanderlust, to explore beyond just guided tours and work related travel. It is a sort of honey that attracts us as if we were bees. Getting lost – going up yonder – the pull of the majestic mountains and the beautiful hills – or the plains or the forests and the seas – infinite possibilities - one life. Notions imbibed from books and experienced in life too.
I had done an anonymous trip to Benaras, a year back and probably that was the source, a reference point. Once you take off on your own – you’re hooked, addicted as if to travelling independently, free from all things, going along, through thick and thin – carefree of the consequences. The ‘just do it’ spirit!
You won’t believe it – it all happened in the span of one day. I made the decision on a Sunday morning, went ahead and bought some travel gear that morning, booked the flight tickets in the afternoon and by midnight was on my way. Swiftness of it all also gives you that kick! Adrenaline high – I am reminded of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s remark: “We travel just to travel”!
More than travel it is my free will asserting itself! It tugs at your innermost core and then you give in! It is not your usual sight-seeing or relaxing in a resort (which incidentally I find repulsive, it has its social value I agree) – it goes beyond; it helps you connect to something beyond just life’s immediate, here and now activities and utilities.
Metaphorically the link of comradeship and love is established with the vast expanses of the universe through these spaces and natural formations such as mountains, seas, forests on planet earth and act as perfect surrogates. Transcendence reached albeit temporarily through these means.
The trailing compartment of this train is the destiny bit – the notion that it had all to be and so it did –destined as it were! Someone even told me this exact thing too, later on in my trip. I don’t deny that some part of my brain is reeling in pleasure at that thought but is it rational? Hmmm... Does everything have to be rational in life?
The train screeches to an abrupt halt. There is a momentary silence.
There erupts the hustle bustle of the Haridwar streets. Walking through a small entrance into a place dungeon-like, I check-in into Hotel Arati.