Travelling through India!
Long-distance journeys are no longer monotonous in the country which Nirad C Chaudhuri once termed as ‘The continent of Circe’. (Circe was the mythological Greek goddess who transformed people into pigs.)
Places that only a few decades ago were considered rather boring have now become exciting destination points in India. So much so that those officials who promote adventure tourism in India could award prizes in the form of free travel.
For instance, the third prize could be for a lengthy bus journey from Dantewada in Chhattisgarh through lovely forests ablaze with mahua flowers and not infested but inhabited — as Arundhati Roy tells us — with peoplefriendly Gandhians with guns, with armed special police officers (SPOs) perched on top of the vehicle to provide foolproof security.
The second prize could be a free train trip from Kolkata to Mumbai, with the highlight being a night journey through the forests of Jhargram where the swaying of the coaches can lull the passengers to sleep even during a derailment, followed by the ultimate treat of a press conference addressed in high-speed English by railway minister Mamata Banerjee to point out why what has happened has not happened.
The first prize could be a free air ticket on a Mangalore-Dubai-Mangalore Air India Express flight, with the highlight being the ultimate in smooth touchdowns on the main runway of the table-top Bajpe Airport. Like the hyped-up cliche goes, it doesn’t get bigger than this.
Just four decades ago, destinations such as Mangalore were considered sleepy places. There was a joke at that time which talked of a first prize of a week’s free stay in Mangalore, a second prize offering two weeks’ free stay and a third prize three weeks’ free stay.
However, thanks to the national carrier, Mangalore has become a happening destination where even touching down at the airport has become an achievement.
Likewise, long train journeys across India and prolonged bus trips in Chhattisgarh are no longer monotonous but have become more exciting than the ultimate of jungle safaris in Jurassic Park!
Posted by Jitendra Kumar sharma | 03 Jun, 2010
Posted by Vinit Agarwal,Publisher / Owner at MilkyDwarf, Web Magazine|02 Jun, 2010
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