I wrote this essay sometime in 2002-03. It is special to me because this may be the first time I realised how much I love writing and I started a whole new journey with it... and I had a lot of fun writing it!
“…for the more worldly of us,
the way we travel is more of a
fashion statement or even a prerequisite
to 'lure' the female of the species.
What other purpose could a fuel
guzzling behemoth bedizened
with chrome plating and glaring
Travelling is something we do almost all the time but rarely pause to think about its significance. It has become an integral part of everyday life -as integral as eating and sleeping itself. Almost all human activities require travelling from one place to another. From the proverbial Mohammed who had to 'travel' to the mountain to the breadwinner who go to work, from the toddler going to kindergarten to the dead man making a last journey to the graveyard, travelling is an unavoidable part of life... and death.
Looking at things from an 'out-of-the-world' perspective, travelling is something that we do every second as we hurtle through the emptiness of space along with our 'spaceship' earth as it revolves around the sun. Amazing, isn't it? Just imagine the billions of miles we must have travelled around the sun without even noticing it!
Coming back to 'ground level', travelling is serious business for us humans. All modes of transport put together could be one of the biggest industries on planet earth. Aeroplanes for the high-flying people, railways, waterways, roadways, e.t.c, are a source of livelihood for a countless number of people. At one extreme is the millionaire thinking of which airline company he could take over, while at the other extreme is the humble rickshaw puller for whom someone deciding to travel on his rickshaw could make the difference between a meal and an empty stomach for the day.
The way we travel and the reason for it can so much about a person and can have so much significance. Gandhi travelled all the way by foot to Dandhi and made a bold statement against the colonial rule and as the cliche goes, the rest is history. The Wright bothers' first successful plane travelled a mere 40 meters but again it made history. Little would the brothers have dreamt that one day much improved versions of their wood and canvas contraptions powered by a small engine would be helping people travel halfway round the world. In 1955 in
For other people who are badly in need of some change from their monotonous lives, travelling can be a source of adventure and romance. Travelling to exotic locales is gaining more popularity by the day as more people don't mind spending a little extra money. Looking at the number of travel magazines appearing at the newsstand, one can easily guess how popular leisure travel has become. The way we reach a place is also an important aspect of leisure travel. Whether it is the 'romance of the railways' or the acceleration of the jet plane that pins us to our seats as we take-off into the azure skies, each have their own thrills. The travel bug never had it so good!
From the invention of the wheel to the space shuttle, we have come a long, long way. Each of these inventions meant for travel continually reflected the progress of mankind at the time of their conception. But like the fact that the space shuttle, in spite of being an epitome of modern engineering, still needs modern versions of the primitive wheel to land safely, one thing remains unchanged -the need to travel faster, farther and safer and with more comfort. We can say that our Mohammed has some along way ever since he set out for the mountain on foot. One of these days, we may see him vrooming towards the mountain on his four-wheel drive!