The Inexorable Rambler wayfaring the wilderness – Kanj SauravApril 18, 2016
Hi! I am Kanj Saurav.
It took me a while to realize that I loved travelling. Probably because I had been doing it since childhood. I had walked to all those hills that were across the shrub shielded fields past those streams that flew through the towns. I knew of every tree that served as a landmark. But I didn’t know that I was travelling, now I know why- Because I wasn’t reaching any destination; any popular tourist spot- of which people tell stories about and keep photographs of; any place that was well known to be planned to arrive at. And thus I was a traveller, not a tourist. I watched a lot of travel programmes as I grew up and subconsciously I knew I would be there at some point of time.
In 2014,I was preparing for my MBA entrances. I had left my job with the excuse that I needed more time to prepare. But did I, was the question. Meanwhile, I had got an interview call from a dream company. I was interviewed for over a month and I was pretty confident of getting through. But then, the no response from their end turned into a negative one. I could not sleep for days. Yes, it was just another job. But if everything could be rationally dealt with in this world, the world would have been a peaceful place, a heartless, robotic landscape though.
Anything that was real, was that I could not sleep and I needed to escape. And I did, I travelled solo to the Parvati valley; met strangers who took me to their orchards to pluck as many apples as I wished, who offered me water and comfort in a distant abandoned village, who lent me money and passed on their knowledge to me. I came back after a week as I had another interview lined up the next day. After I had written my entrances for CAT and IIFT, I told my family that I had left my job three months back and I was planning to visit the North-East. They called me back home, as it had been long since I met them. I travelled to Bodhgaya with my parents during the time which was supposed to be my rest time. As the journey date approached near, my mom got apprehensive about me travelling. I was almost broke, and suddenly my provident fund from the last job had arrived. Ideally, I shouldn’t have spent it. But I did.
I had a little plan, that of how to reach Guwahati, after which I knew nothing. Thankfully, one of my friends’ family was generous and helpful enough to pick me up and greet me to their home for a stay. The next day, I left for Meghalaya. I reached Shillong in a shared vehicle and as I landed there, I realised that it was unlike any of the places I had ever visited. I looked strange here and was being picked on by the tour operators as a naïve customer. But I found my own way and reached Cherrapunji by the evening. Evening, at 4.30. As I moved around the bazaar, I found no other tourists or hotels or any accommodation. Eventually, I landed up in a PG nearby. Also, I found a Russian guy who had hitchhiked from Moscow, paying for no mass transit to reach India crossing the Myanmar border and was being given free shelter by a local. Next day, early in the morning I started to walk to reach to the double-decker living root bridges. I expected to get a transport and I did but I rejected them all because that was no fun. I walked through villages and forests to arrive at the last point where vehicles could plod. This was the first time I took a break. I had walked for over 4 hrs and covered about 20kms. I had tea and Maggi and began climbing down the 3000 steps that would end up at the double-decker bridge. I walked through dense forests, witnessing villages mid-way with orange laden trees around, clicking men who plucked beehives, swinging over the jolting iron bridges, gasping over the emerald blue waters in the stream below.
As I was to reach the double decker root bridges, I found my first co-traveller. He was an Indian guy working in Germany who was also a mountaineer. He recently climbed Mont Blanc. I had never been happy meeting someone before. We reached the bridge together and explored it and later took a dip in the crystal clear water. I was too tired to climb those steps on the journey back and couldn’t keep pace with my fellow traveller. I asked him to go further as I was slowing him down. I met the Russian guy here, who asked me why I was tired, I told him that I was walking from sohra. He chuckled on it saying that he was walking from Russia. When I climbed up, he was waiting for my on the dhaba with his cab and offered to take me back to Shillong. His driver found it amusing that I was way too tired to be not able to take steps properly, but as he drove me back to Cherrapunji, he was amazed to find that I had walked for over 25 kms. The guy dropped me to Shillong for free and thanked me for giving him a good company. I left for my place a day later because I had a few more entrances lined up. And I did score well. 96.87 in SNAP and 98.97 in XAT are good scores.
What makes travelling an amazing experience is the people you meet on way, sometimes others inspire you and at others you inspire others. And when you travel with fewer resources you learn how to appreciate every small resource that you have and how much further you would push yourself to go beyond, which certainly resurfaces in your life ahead.
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