The Enigma of Solo Travel

The Enigma of Solo Travel

Although the world has seen revolutionaries travel alone and discover places, I don’t think it’s been more than 10 years that the idea of solo travel has become a popular trend. Before you think, “oh, I have done it!”, be sure to check off from your list, those kinds of travels which are done to a familiar/comfortable place, even traveling for work (majorly going into an office setting) doesn’t count unless you take time out to travel and explore the place. So yes, I mean traveling alone, outside your comfort zone and exploring a place.

In a close-knit society such as ours, the first thought of solo travel makes a person appear as selfish. “O my god, you’ll go alone? What is the purpose of that anyway? It sounds so weird.” Continue reading “The Enigma of Solo Travel”

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Why Parents Don’t Let Their Daughters Travel

Why Parents Don’t Let Their Daughters Travel

In 2015-16, I travelled once a month for an entire year. To begin with, it was just a carefree vow. But it took a great amount of effort, from all fronts, while executing it. There are some things you learn only through travel. You get to see a lot of beauty, learn so much about new cultures, make friends for life and you learn to co-exist. Most importantly, when you outside the safety net of your parents, you have a chance to be more responsible and take your own decisions. Budget travelling on your own money- is that beautiful feeling that is essential in growing up and making of a confident personality.

In our society, travelling can be a comment on a girl’s character. It extends to our homes too. What you say no to, says a lot. For a lot of my friends, it is unthinkable to even propose to their parents to let them travel with friends, forget solo trips. You either think that your daughter is not mature enough to handle herself or you don’t trust her enough. And it adds up to your daughter’s low self-esteem. Wanting your daughter’s safety is not your fault. The world is becoming an ugly place, yes. But if you think your daughter is not fit/mature/strong/smart enough to make these decisions, it is not really her fault either. It is perhaps you who failed to make her strong, smart or confident enough.

Serial Entrepreneur and Founder of Freecharge, Kunal Shah wrote something about the prevalence of arranged marriages in India, which strangely holds true for travelling too:

Prevalence of arranged marriages in India can mean one of the two things for parents:

1. Not trust the judgement of kids if they choose someone and have “love marriage”. But then why not train them all of young life to take good decisions?

2. Not like kids to have the power to choose for themselves and stay obedient or kids are incompetent to find someone?

Some of us love to have birds at our homes. They are colourful, look beautiful in the cage and keep your house lively. You feed them on time and give them love. It is said that birds once caged for a long time, can’t survive outside the cage for too long. That’s true too. And then we like to believe that we are keeping the bird safe by not setting them free. Most of it is same for the daughters too. They should be freed before it is too late.

Low Budget Getaway: Jodhpur

Low Budget Getaway: Jodhpur

In our sincere attempts to grow up, which is largely a conscious decision after being pointed out quite a few times by our elders we forget to cater to the child within us. We tell as many people as possible about how mature we are, and slowly we start believing our own lies.

We are not happy and there’s no way we are meant to live and die in the same place where we were born. The truth is that we are meant to travel, just as much we are bound to have a career and marry someone and have babies. But this truth is conveniently taken away from us.

In 2015, on my 24th birthday, I made a resolution to myself that I will travel once every month, low budget and on weekends. I pretty much did. And you can too. If not now, sometime soon. This travelogue might help you dream.

July 2015: Jodhpur

Basics:

  1. Why Jodhpur: Small city perks: beautiful fort and a unique Blue City, people have painted their houses blue to maintain some coolness in an otherwise hot atmosphere.
  2. Distance from Ahmedabad:
  3. Preferable AC Sleeper Bus (Night journey)
  4. Stay: Cosy Guest House
  5. Trip Duration: 2 days (Weekend)
  6. Budget: Rs. 4500-5000 (per person)
  7. Ideal Season: Monsoon (It doesn’t rain there but it will be cooler), Winter (Avoid Summers)

What People say you must do

  1. Visit Mehrangarh Fort
  2. Jaysar Mahal (Opposite Fort)
  3. Clock Tower
  4. Raja’s Palace
  5. Museum
  6. Mandore Gardens
  7. Shopping from Rajasthan Handloom

Continue reading “Low Budget Getaway: Jodhpur”

Low Budget Travel to Kaas Plateau

Low Budget Travel to Kaas Plateau

There was so much fog, we could hardly see the road; and we drove the car through it, absolutely point blank with the fog light on. But there was no choice. We had to keep moving. If someone was coming from behind, they would hit us. It was getting dark and we were wet and cold but the kid within us was happy because it had won. Today, the kid had literally walked on clouds!

About Kass Plateau

Kaas plateau is a plateau in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra, 22 kms from Satara city and 136 kms from Pune, declared as one of the United Nations World Heritage Site for its historic volcanic formations on its terrain and huge water bodies- beautiful lakes mesmerised with the mountainous and the greenery reflecting on them. In monsoon, Kaas blooms with more than 150 types of grasses, shrubs and flowers.

One Mesmerizing spot we found on the way

How to Reach

We took a late night Duronto from Ahmedabad to Pune, so as to reach Pune by 8 AM. We had booked a Zoom Car (a startup that rents good self-drive cars at effective cost) for our journey to Kaas. There are two ways to reach Kaas. You can either go through Tapoli via Mahableswar or through Satara. The former way is longer if you just have a weekend in hand, while Satara is just 118Kms from Pune so you’d reach pretty much in 2 hours (maximum 2.5 hours if you take excessive pee-chai breaks) through NH4 with roads that look like they have cut mountains and made way for themselves. Our aim was to reach Satara by 11:30-12, so we had the rest of the day to our journey. Continue reading “Low Budget Travel to Kaas Plateau”

The Traveller’s Discourse: Tourists vs Locals

Being dumb is the birthright of a traveller. And why not- you land up in a totally new place with specific expectations, knowing not much (or worse is knowing nothing), and then you try to figure out one thing at a time. For example, it is a heated afternoon, empty road and you can either look at the google maps or the signal while the traffic cop doesn’t know that it is very normal in your own city to skip signals in the afternoon. We like to ask for directions as many times as possible. It’s the tourist’s right to stand right in front of Red Fort and ask where is Red Fort. It can get tricky to be dumb in Mumbai or Pune because you’ll get one back:
“Bandra kis taraf hai, bhaiya?”
“Har taraf Bandra hi hai madam ab toh. Aap Bandra mein hi khade ho. Ab aage kaha jaana hai wo socho.”

Continue reading “The Traveller’s Discourse: Tourists vs Locals”

The Other Angle: Top Best (Interesting) Bookstores in Mumbai

The Other Angle: Top Best (Interesting) Bookstores in Mumbai

The last trip I made to Mumbai, it was focused on bookstores. The idea wasn’t to buy too many books (that is never the idea, but it always happens). It was like you know how people want to go to Siddhi Vinayak, Haji Ali, Mahalakshmi, all of which I have already seen; for a book lover, bookstores become one of those sense of attractions. I looked up whatever information that was available on Google (especially Quora) and made a curated list. Mumbai is such a big city that you cannot finish everything of anything. I was determined to make the best out of two days- Sunday and Monday, that I had in hands.

Of course, this trip included other interesting places (apart from bookstores) such as the walk around Colaba, Kalaghoda, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mani Bhavan and Starbucks (because coffee is an essential ingredient for stimulated literary and philosophical conversations).

This piece is not just about the bookstores but the experience that goes within while you explore them. If you don’t like spoilers, please don’t read further (disclaimer).  If you are not going to ever see these places or want to have a literary tour irrespectively while you still plan to go and discover these and more places yourself, you are the right person to read this one.

The BookStores that were on My List:

  • Kitab Khana, MG Road
  • Strand Book Stall, Horniman Circle Gardens (definitely sounds like horny men but luckily found not a single one)
  • Smokers corner, Kala Ghoda  (Found no smokers here, and Kala Ghoda is a street statue of a black horse made in the memory of Prince of Whales’ horse)
  • Oxford Bookstore, Marine Drive
  • Mani Bhavan, Laburnum Road
  • Trilogy, Worli
  • Victoria Book Center and Library, Mahim 
  • N Bookstore, Bandra
  • Crossword, Bandra 

Continue reading “The Other Angle: Top Best (Interesting) Bookstores in Mumbai”

Glimpses from the Artsy Udaipur

This was my second trip to Udaipur in the same year. When I went there in February, I had a little time at bay, me and a friend; we had decided to skip looking at the City Museum and, instead went to the old city.

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And this time when I am back, I am even more intrigued with the same question I had left with, the previous time. What makes Udaipur so creative with its wall art, sign boards and those little things they do to stand out. Is it a part of the creative and colourful culture of Rajasthan? It has lakes, forts, and all the Royal palaces, for sure. But this is something I just could not ignore.

Continue reading “Glimpses from the Artsy Udaipur”