On the road  

Posted by Nitu in

When I was about seven, the 37th national highway used to fascinate me a lot. It ran along the southern border of our village. It always had something on its stock. All the big trucks, bearded pilgrims, cattle-- different travelers at different times, different seasons. I wondered where the road started, where it ended, where those pilgrims used to come from, where they were heading to etc etc. My mother would explain that one road needs not run forever, that there are more than one road and they are almost always connected, one leading to another. So what matters is once you set out your journey on a road, you can always travel the whole world. I would exclaim, the whole world! She would smile and say, "yes, the whole world."

The bearded pilgrims looked very wise. Legends were abound about them. They can tame ghosts, can heal leprosy, can recite sloks from the Veda even in their dreams.. so on. Later I got the answer of their destination. They always headed to the Parshuram Kund, the holy lake in Arunachal Pradesh. The pilgrims would camp underneath a big banyan tree for a night or two, would cook their meager meals in the small pots. They were barely clothed, always fighting with the weather. They looked miserable even with our rural level of comfort standards. Soon a new question surfaced on my little mind. Why they do what they do? Why they just don't stay at home comfortably like us? My mother would answer that they travel to acquire holiness, to acquire knowledge. I would confront her, "well to have knowledge, they can go to school!!" She would tell then, "there are different ways to learn a lesson, to acquire wisdom. Traveling is one of them." I would imagine, one day I would travel with them. I would go back the road and join them at the exact place where they started from. Later I figured out , "well, going back is illogical. I can start from here, right away joining them."

After 20 years of those days, the son faced the same questions about the myriad criss-crossings of roads of life. I wished I could go back and start picking up the right threads and knots. But going back is not only illogical, but impossible now. Sometimes I wish we could be like gold or silver. Got a scar? Fading into dark? Just fall back into a melting pot and get molded into a new shape, new shine. Alas, we don't have a melting pot. However, what we have is a point to start from, a word to start with our story. The world is much bigger than our own backyard, the road goes beyond our own ghetto. There is enough oxygen to breathe out without suffocating inside a cocoon. As long as someone has a wing, there will be air to fly, a shade to rest.

I am starting from here. This is my story and this is just the beginning.
You say, again?
All I say is, one road leads to another road. When one road ends, another road begins. There is only one world. All we need is to find the roads and to embark the journey.
Stay with me, travel with me, together we shall discover and enrich the world.... our world.