This is not a post on travel, but a post on travelling . My husband says Ive become anti social. In a way I agree. My tolerance is rather very low and I blame it largely on the new breed of tourists who follow me wherever I go.
I have nothing against tourists in particular, but I seem to find a huge disconnect in the way they travel. I often travel to escape from the madding crowd and merge with the silence of the valleys . I choose monuments and forests that are off the tourist track and many a time, a new year's eve has been spent in a silent jungle resort which is not yet in the tourist map. But then travelling soon became a fad and travel stories have become conversation currency.
I understand that most tourists believe in letting their hair down when they travel and holidaying is all about relaxing and having fun. But I wonder if it is at the expense of a fellow traveller's peace and quiet ! "Notice me" says the brand of these new tourists, but I wish to tell them that they are an assault on my senses. They speak loudly, dress loudly , listen to loud music and crave for attention when they travel. Why cant they let a nondescript traveller like me enjoy my anonymity ?
I was recently in Kabini and I couldnt recognize it when I landed. It seemed to be a national park and a zoo rolled into one. Almost a 100 people and bulk of them were noisy loud children throwing tantrums with their parents screaming louder than the kids to be heard. One hip young mother told her son that she would throw a hot cup of coffee on the child if he didnt drink his milk. Another hyperactive kid was gargling water at the tap and spitting all over . She said sorry when I walked away in disgust.
And the most exciting sighting for these tourists was Rahul Dravid and his family. A tourist even had his picture clicked with him. " How about one with the leopard also?" asked a fellow traveller, but the joke of course was lost in the din. People still shout when they see spotted deer and of course get very excited when they spot elephants. As a tusker approaches the jeep, it is the perfect timing for a kid to cringe and cry. The excitement is always more if its a tiger. At Tyreguppe , in the tiger safari, a bunch of grown up men got into a nervous fit when they saw the home grown tigers - they started teasing it , while taking pictures on their mobile. The tiger just walked away ..
Tourists have hugely misunderstood the word " adventure " . In a recent trip to Bhadra, a bold young mother forgot that her 11 month baby would be hungry at 5 pm in the evening. So when the winds were making it difficult for the boat man to veer his vehicle and the boat was rocking in the waters ,wetting our feet inside, her daughter let out a loud wail announcing she was hungry.The adventurous mother didnt mind that the boat was extremely shaky , but went on to mix milk in the bottle and started silencing the baby by walking in the boat and feeding her, while we watched the scene with more attention than looking at the elephants on the opposite bank.
Food has always been the most important aspect of any trip. We all gorge on every delicious morsel and of course not just live to eat, but also travel to eat. However there are some who only eat ! While we were at a home stay in Masinagudi , a couple of families with teenaged kids dropped in as well. They made sure they didnt move beyond the dining room. they stood around the table attacking every dish with more vigour and patting their stomach after every meal. In fact they were least concerned that there were more guests at the property - after all, they have paid for the meal. while the kids protested after eating a dozen puris and an equal number of bread and other delicacies, the mother stacked away a few more for the journey , but before that she coaxed her daughter to eat more of the bananas.." You will feel hungry and we will not stop on the way..after all, we have paid na .."
I am tired of running away from such people. I am also tired of tolerating them. All I am hoping is that these families would enjoy travelling as much as I do and yet be more non intrusive . Am I asking for too much ?