Above, is a very poor attempt at a doodle. For the lay people, I just want to explain that this is my effort to depict the theme “Journey”. Attempt is to convey the idea of journey through an open road leaving aside villages, towns and cities.
From my childhood, it is the journey that has fascinated me more than destination. My enemies say I am an escapist. I don’t want to face reality. I think, to me journey epitomises the infiniteness that is inherent to me. Moment I reach a destination, infinite becomes finite and I lose interest.
Philosophy apart, I was first interested in journey when I read Mahabharata of Pandava brothers and Draupadi, started their final journey with their dog. They walked and walked, one after another brothers dropped, Dharmaraj Yudhistira kept on walking on his journey. The very first time I visited Rishikesh, in the foothills of Garhwal Himalayas, with ganges in full flow between lofty mountains, I felt if there ever is a heaven on earth, it is here in the mountains. I wished if I could walk on the mountains and become one with the mountains.
During my college days, I have taken a few trips to the mountains. It is exhilarating to walk with a backpack on. It gives such a sense of freedom. One of my desires / dreams is to walk on the mountains from Ladakh to Arunachal. I know it is unlikely to come true. Even if mind wants, body will not accept.
My second travel dream is more doable. It got reinforced when I saw the movie Piku. In the movie, Piku takes her family from Delhi to Kolkata by road. What an exhilarating feeling it most likely is. Open tract of road, bright sunny day, a train chugging along at a distance. Who can ask for anything more. I also want to travel around India in a car. Mountains, rivers, oceans, there are so many things to see and so many places to visit. Now that roads have come up, many of us have access to a car, I think such a dream can materialise.
My third dream journey is to travel from Vladivostok, in Asian Russia by the Pacific ocean to Moscow in European Russia by train. Trans Siberian Railway covers the journey in seven days. The trains goes through siberia and covers eight time zones. Trans Siberian journey is simply thrilling because along this route, mongols had invaded Europe. There is so much history here. Tsars used to take the rail road to reach their retreat in Ural mountain.
These days, one can take a ferry from Japan to reach Vladivostok and take the train from there. Alternatively, one can buy a ticket at Beijing and reach upto Ulanbator. The journey has its challenges. A regular traveller, even in a first class compartment, has to carry his own food. In the train, other than hot water, nothing much is available. While short distance passengers may not face much difficulty, long distance travellers have to be prepared. Besides, language may be a problem. Most local travellers do not speak English.
One can take a luxury train from Moscow to Ural mountains. This train is something like a Maharaja Express or Orient Express. Here, every need of a tourist, including meals, accommodation, local tour, and Russian speaking guide are taken care of. Such a trip is expensive, five thousand US dollars per person. Besides, flight from Vladivostok to Moscow or Delhi is expensive too.