The traveler’s tailspin

Those who have travelled for the sake of travelling would relate to this well. Our biggest motivation to give up the routine and take to the wheels is to pull out of the player’s role, and become an outside observer. And travelling affords this keyhole view of life perfectly well. Reading, watching movies, attending a sport arena are some others. Yet travelling is superior, because it puts your very soul into motion. And not just for a few hours, but days on end. Your world goes topsy turvy. Everything, just changes! When I was young, I loved train travel. The sight of green trees and wild bushes, and the ever changing landscape that blazed past me would dull my senses and fill up imagination. So the traveller, no longer a part of the game, in a new land and among unknown people, now observes life go past him, people going about their business, yet not touching him the way they could do earlier. If he...
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I sympathise with your India experience, O foreign tourist

My first backpack visit to Rajasthan several years ago brought about a revelation. In my own country, and in my own state, I was being perceived as a foreigner. The culprit was my relatively fair skin and brownish eyes which,  coupled with a city-bred look, somehow set me apart in the eyes of the locals. I felt excited with the new found status. Now I could travel with double the self-esteem, or like a born Rajah! What did I know. The first to fall for the deception were the kids who went with the camel rider at Jaiselmer. They gladly took me to their house. Then, agents would single me out from the crowd. At Jodhpur, when I spoke in Hindi at the fort, the man, instead of replying to me, reacted with, “He speaks Hindi!” And how can I forget the hearty laughter let out by the traditionally dressed guard at the Jaiselmer fort, when he learnt that the gentleman standing...
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Panvel to Matheran Trek

Matheran is a beautiful hill station that at once captivates the romantic spirit.  While the route via Neral is the most convenient and popular mode or reaching Matheran (with the added attraction of a toy train), the adventurous souls can do it on foot, though it is one hell of a climb. The trek begins at Dhodhani (Dodhani or Dudhani) in Panvel, located at the foot of one of the hill clusters of Matheran. Matheran is over 2600 ft in height, and this trek is not for those in poor general health. The entire journey can last close to 4 hrs, including frequent breaks for rest. The zig-zag route is simple to find, beginning from a general retail store in Dudhani, and sticking to the widest route that is going straight up the hill, rather than circling around, will take you through to the top. Some points in the trek are tricky if you are going in the rainy season, as...
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