More things I learnt in 2017.
I’ve always enjoyed travel. I dislike perfectly arranged trips, and I enjoy doing aimless exploring on my own. It takes me time to find the desire to leave the comfort of my home, and I suffer from inertia prior to getting into a cab. But I enjoy travel. I love the experiences travel gives you, the simple joy of discovering something new and unique. I like seeing new sights and carrying with me new stories. Every time I set out, I feel like Christopher Columbus – like there are places to go where people haven’t been, and things to experience in my own unique ways.
Following the debacle in January, I decided I’d give myself the opportunity to travel as much as I could – even if it meant going back to Bangalore repeatedly. I’d use debating to take me where I want to go, but I’d go somewhere that wasn’t Ahmedabad. That was for certain.
First I went to Bombay, a city I’ve never been to, and then to Bangalore – both for debates. In Bombay, I caught up with seniors, stayed at a college friend’s house, explored South Bombay food at 1:30AM, and even sat in a bookstore for 6 hours: reading. I travelled by the train both ways, and took the local to get around. I’ve never slept so well. We didn’t break at the debate, but I met some amazing people and ate some incredible food on that trip.
Then I went back to Bangalore in April, where I debated again, and just missed breaking. But I caught up with a friend I had last spoken to aged 10, and I used the metro to get everywhere I needed to go. It was fabulous. The connectivity was a new experience for me, living in Whitefield.
I visited my grandparents up in Pune, and then landed in Bangalore with a road trip to Mysore planned out. For one day, my friends and I felt like we were back in school. We played FIFA late into the night, and then yelled at each other while inventing a new game in the swimming pool.
After returning to Ahmedabad, I made 3 trips to Bangalore in the course of one semester. And I went to Delhi. All those trips had a couple of activities in common, and people at the heart of it all – people who made those trips memorable: by serving me biryani, or giving me fresh doses of gossip. And yim yam.
One of my debating trips took me to Manipal, the experience I cherish the most in this year. You can read about that here. Basically, I learnt a lot about friendships on that trip. And about a different kind of college life. One that I’m not going to experience for another two and a half years, atleast.
I returned to Pune and consumed lots of Gulab Jamun and visited a temple with my grandmother.
Once I was back in Bangalore, I took an amazing road trip with my mother and one of her classmates across Karnataka (quite literally). We visited 7 temples in 2 days – not something I’m a massive fan of, but the company and the food more than made up for it. I got to go to Malpe beach – a sight I had missed out on when I visited Manipal, and ate paneer ghee roast (favourite new dish from this year). And I learnt a lot about my own culture, in terms of how temples practice Brahminism in the modern day. Plus, I got to learn a bit of Karnataka geography – something I haven’t been exposed to before. All in all, it was a good trip, and gave me a lot to think about.
I travelled a fair bit this year. Mostly I remember the food. But I also remember all the wandering I did alone. Especially in Bombay, where I opened Google Maps and wandered around till I reached a bookstore. And then I moved to another bookstore.
I really want to travel more next year. It’s one of those things I love that I can’t quite articulate as well – and that’s something I’m eager to work on.
Travel was a big part of my 2017, basically.