There is always a comfort level in planning a trip - its like a bank security.You know where you are headed and some research always helps in understanding the destination better. But there is a thrill in the unknown - in not knowing where you are headed, in making decisions on the spur of the moment and landing in a place and making plans on the go.
And that is when you realize that the journey is the destination - the essence of the trip lies in those million chai stops, in those smiles of the kids who wave good byes,in those cuddled pups who lie in the middle of the road and refuse to move, in a sudden downpour that hits your window pane that your visibility is so low, in watching birds and butterflies fluttering around, in watching the sun light up the moss on the trees ,in gazing at a dense canopy of deciduous and evergreen forests, in washing your face and feet at a small gushing stream, in watching the outline of a 1000 year old temple from the distance, gracing the banks of a lake, infollowing the speed of a water snake in the lake and sometimes, in just doing and thinking nothing at all ...
We attempted a bit of this over the weekend and it was entirely unplanned
The travel itch had hit the husband early last week as the noise levels reached an all time high during Deepavali.He suggested a trip to Sringeri/Agumbe over the weekend and I was too bogged down with work to make any plans.He checked the buses and they were running full. And then on late Friday evening,we thought of Masinagudi but accomodation wasnt available. So, we just crashed that night and decided to take a call on Saturday morning .
We woke up early and decided on a random impulse to hit the road. And I tweeted -"Ok so we have got into our car with no idea where we are headed - destination, direction,duration unknown-this is wanderlust.
"I had my purse, my mobile ,my sunscreen and my BP tablet with me in my camera bag and my husband, his purse and mobile .Over breakfast at the Malleswaram Maiyyas, we decided on an impulse to head to Chitradurga as I have been keen on seeing the fort . and so,we took the road towards Tumkur road, but almost veered of course at the Mysore Road deviation, planning Srirangapatna , Bandipur, Gopalswamy betta instead. We deliberated for a while on the road, but our reflexes were too slow and the car moved ahead.
We crossed Nelamangala and then bypassed Tumkur, but a call from a friend changed the course of our journey. They agreed to join but were not keen on Chitradurga..so with no destination in our mind, we returned to Nelamangala and agreed to meet them at Sollur , near Kunigal,where he got permission to park his car at a petrol pump for a night.
And then we discussed options - Hassan, Chikmagalur, Hanbal-Saklespur, Belur, Coorg or even a detour to Mysore. A quick lunch in Hassan and I was off to buy clothes and some toiletries and we continued exploring- Shettihalli , a deserted village to see the ruins of a Gothic Church floating in the waters -it was my third visit there and then finally the night sky brought our journey to a halt. Saklespur it was and with some help from uncle, managed a cheap and cheerful room in the Cosmopolitan Club and then we embarked on our journey the next day - Kukke Subramanya , Tipu's Mansirabad Fort and a last minute addition Doddagaddavalli - to see a 1000 year old Hoysala temple in a humble little village . It was my nth visit to Doddagaddavalli and yet everytime I see something new there - this time, it was a water snake speeding up under water in a lake,rearing its head now and then.
The most hilarious part of the trip was at lunch in Saklepur yesterday. The eatery was crowded and we were waiting for a table to be cleared when a woman was grinning at me and so did a friend. I turned back to see another lady wearing exactly the same kurta I had picked up at Hassan the previous afternoon. It so happened that she had landed in town late night at 11 and had urgently picked up a kurta in the morning too..talking about coincidences, I say ...
This diary is just a record of the places we stopped by as the trip was about the journey and the unplanned part of it. A lack of agenda gave me a sense of liberation, an excitement for the unknown and the flexibility to take things as they come and an ability to adapt and accept whatever comes your way. Next time, we plan to do away with the car and take a bus .My experiment would be to go to the busstand and decide on the destination on the spur of the moment or take the first bus that comes my way...And yes, the journey will be my destination
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