I’ve never been a history buff. Ever. But there is a certain vector of travel that merrily explores just that – the whys, whens and hows of events and their by-products that molded what we see and experience today. My favourite guidebook author – Rick Steves – is a proponent of this vector and I suddenly found myself very intrigued.
While America did not kindle the history buff in me, Britain and India are pushing the boundaries of so much to read and so little time to do it all (and too little memory to store it all!). Renaissance, the industrial revolution and the Tudors to the Mughals, British Raj and the ’91 liberalization – I’m not sure if this is a phase or if it will have lingering effects, but for now I’m wallowing in the glee that accompanies reading material that caters to the sinful pleasures of the moment.
In other news, it’s been a year in Pune! While I’ve relished Maharashtrian cuisine with great delight and shifted travel styles to get away rather than chase dream destinations, I have also pondered in-your-face issues like India’s striated society and the unique Asian mindset. There’s something to be said about being a tourist in your own home town/country – your radar is up, your senses are on high alert, you notice things that you’ve never noticed before and your thinking goes in directions so far unbidden.
In this one year, I’ve swung from an exhilarating first six months exploring home like a tourist to the frustrating inefficiencies and lack of resources and independence that come with trying to be a native; and then to the equanimity (erm, make that near-equanimity) that comes with substitutes and the peace of I can live with that for now! I’ve realized I ain’t as zen as I thought I was when it comes to moving (I get cranky when I can’t find organic fresh produce and a Zumba class at the correct time and place ;)) and I’ve also realized I like the comforts of a home base more than I ever thought I did. Excellent lessons that travel only teaches you if you settle in a place for more than a fleeting moment. I’ve learnt to survive, but thrive is a different story.
But hey, I thrive in the Sahyadris. India’s true claim to fame is her rustic outdoors, and B and I are letting ourselves be charmed by the four-hundred year old Maratha forts atop hills that offer sweeping vistas of every kind. Here’s to more pondering the vectors of travel as we traipse up and down these pretty hills!