To Agra and Back

No, I dint click this pic. Image credits: Stuck in Customs on Flickr

Just came back from Agra. This was my second (or maybe third) trip to Agra. And no, I did not see Taj Mahal or Fatehpur Sikri. However, I did did crib about bad traffic, fog, corrupt cops etc. And like all other visitors to Agra, I bought Panchhi Petha (for a friend) and stopped at a highway for lunch.

If I could have my way, I would make traveling my profession and become a highway-food-inspector cum real-life-landscape-photographer cum driver-of-those-trucks-without-bodies. There is something about sitting out there in open, on make-shift furniture, being served with assorted utensils and yet charged as if you were Dhirubhai Ambani himself. The food, by the way, is strictly average and service, mediocre at best. The surroundings are hardly clean and you are not sure of the ingredients that they put in. And yet you are drawn to highway dhabas as if the key to your salvation lies within.

Everytime you pass a building, staccato houses, farms, people working in distance, you wonder what their lives would be like. If they were as interesting (or mundane) as yours is? If they realized that there is life beyond their fields and little colonies? If they are content and happy with what they have and do? And since they live on a highway, what do they think of people and generations that passed through the highway? After all, all the emperors, kings, entrepreneurs, travelers, sages, adventurers, would have taken these very roads to expand their empires, see the unknown, conquer unseen lands, spread their religion, learn from new things, seek adventure. Do they realize that they are living (and going to die, in most cases) next to the roads?

Every time I am out on the highways, that lead to places of historic importance, I wonder how would life be back then. Would they have those trifle things to worry about that we have? Would they chase money? happiness? hobbies? What would they be doing to kill time? What kind of opportunities were available to them? How did they manage to build such huge buildings without modern tools and machines? What motivated them? Why is that they lived for long without healthcare? They didnt even have Internet (and Google). There are a million questions and no answers are forthcoming.

Anyways, it took us about 5 hours to cover just 200 odd KMs. It was a scratch-free ride for a change (my Santro would be happy :D) . And since I was trapped inside a vehicle for these hours (with few sutta and pee breaks), there were tons of things to think about and realize. For starters, I realized Samsung Corby sucks. Please do NOT buy it even if it is offered for free. BTW, anyone wants to buy mine? Willing to sell it for anything more than INR 5500. I paid 6500. I have the original bill and the phone is not even ten days old. Second, I discovered Pavarotti. I loved the music, the incomprehensible words and the power in his voice. I could draw vivid images of murders in saloons, bank robberies, an old godfather sitting on the top floor in a tall building and steering his vast business empire with a gusto of a young man indulging in sex. I never thought I was the opera listening kinds. But then I was never the red shoe kinds. Its ok to change. Its ok to experiment. Reinvent. The journey like every other journey was full of boring moments and exciting moments. There were times when monotony of being in a car got better of us and we dint speak at all. And then there were those few moments where I sang screamed out the music. Realized how true these lines from Bitter Sweet Symphony are
'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony this life
Trying to make ends meet, you're a slave to the money then you die

Every moment we live, every action is for money. Every opportunity to travel is like a break from the routine. Look forward to more such breaks. Planning to drive to Haridwar during this Kumbh. This time, I may want to take @sgElectra for a spin.

Was reviewing this and I figured I suck when it comes to ending the blogposts. Need to do something about it!

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