Let me enlighten you before I share my story with you that I had zero travel experience with friends. Yes, my family was liberal enough to plan family outings with my friends but sadly never allowed me to travel with friends alone. And know that, I’m a 25-year-old. Yes, that’s exactly how sad you should feel for me.
So this India tour was a special one for me. It meant so much for me on so many levels. It was not just about enjoying my independence, but more about if I’m even capable of being on my own for once. Though I had my guardian cum friend with me. My mother even told me to give all my travel money to Shatyi(I can feel your dilemma. Pronounce it as ‘Shotti’) as I have a bad track record of losing them. Long story short, the tour turned out to be a life-altering experience for me. Below are scattered bits and pieces of my 40 days tour in India; scattered but beautiful.
The Jaisalmer Diary
We were all sleeping when the bus reached Jaisalmer. I woke up tired. I know what I just said is
contradictory. Nobody feels tired when they wake up after a long sleep. Or maybe they do when they are travelling for 12 hours straight? If you ever embark upon a journey like this, always keep yourself hydrated as this would certainly involve a lot of walking around and juggling transportations.
And with our history of travelling for the past 20 days it’s natural we’d be tired of anything and everything right now; don’t know about the others, but I was. Sorry for being irrelevant. So let me get back to where I started. I was searching for my neck pillow when Rahul, a co-traveller told me to look through the window. We were outside ‘Sonar Kella’. ( Yes, the Sonar Kella we all have heard of). Pardon me for saying this, but it was just a yellow looking fort and nothing that Yash Raj Films made it look like. I’m really sorry for the mean comment. But after such a long journey a fort wasn’t enough to wow me. Because all I’ve seen for the past couple of days are forts.
Being Borderline Bored
Anybody who’s travelled to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, jodhpur and then reached Jaisalmer will feel the same, believe me. Things after that were all regular. Checking in the hotel, freshening up, having brunch and then looking for where to go and what to visit. I didn’t want to visit Sonar Kella but then said yes when Suzan and Shatyi agreed that I’d be allowed to wait outside the gates and won’t need to go in if I didn’t like it.
What a Fort!
Of course, I went in. They knew I was never going to wait alone. And I knew they were not going to come back till it’s dark. But to my surprise, Sonar Kella wasn’t like any other forts I’ve seen. It was so full of life which I never believed any historical place could be. There were shops all over with dupattas, bedsheets, t-shirts, antiques and what not! Oh wait, there were people living inside the fort! There were houses where I could see them busy with their daily chores. Castle walls on both sides made the roads narrow. But to my surprise, those narrow roads felt so warm and full of life that I was awestruck for some time.
We were at one of the corners of the fort. There were stairs in front of us which reached the top of the walls and guess what? There was a beautiful tree with branches and leaves looking like they were raining. The tree leaned towards the end to make you feel like it could fall down if you want it to, but it won’t; I wish I could make you feel what I felt at the sight of it. We went up and sat under the tree. We could see the whole city of Jaisalmer from there. It was so peaceful that it gave me chills. I was at one of the best places I’ve ever seen in my life with the best people that I could be with- Shatyi, Tanmoy and Suzan who’ve been there for me through thick and thin.
I wanted to sit there till sunset and it was just 3 pm. We were there till 4 pm and after that, we moved back. But that’s a place that I’ll remember my whole life. The silence speaks to you there. From up there I could see the whole city rushing. And somewhere inside, I felt so insignificant that it made me happy.
Sometimes this is what we want, we try to be out there so much all the time that we wish if we could be invisible; if we could see time moving forward while us standing still. That was the place that changed my view towards Sonar Kella. It had life, peace and it breathed. It taught me that places never become history. They breathe within us. I still remember everything that happened that day. I remember yelling at Shatyi for such a tremendous taste of music.
I remember going through all the shops wanting to buy everything that I could. ( Well I didn’t buy anything as I was so confused) I remember the breeze, all the flags and the clothes displayed outside the stores move so beautifully as if they were singing to me. I remember the milk with extra malaai that I couldn’t finish because it was too sweet for me apparently.
This is what Jaisalmer is for me. It’s not about a fort that people go gaga about. It’s not about the Sonar Kella that Satyajit Ray has written about. It’s far more beautiful and personal than any of these. This is about the Sonar Kella that I could love for eternity!