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September 2020

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Childhood is one of the good time in our life. Whatever you do as child that come direct from your heart. What does travel mean, I did not know that time. For official reasons, my father used to travel a lot. I used to listen his travel stories. My general questions were, what did you see, what were the items you eat. He used to laugh and say it was official not an outing. Hearing him made me believe that travel meant only serious works, no fun at all. Contradictory, when I used to hear others travel stories, it seemed like full of fun, adventure, excitement. Then I got to know those people were on vacation unlike my father. So I was clear in my head that vacation is fun and trip means office work.
One day one of my friend and his family were going for a vacation in Goa. And when my friend came back to school he told his fun travel stories. Where he been, where and what he ate, fun rides, sunrise to sunset, music and many more. He gifted me little bag tag written Goa. And immediately he became my best friend. That time I realised fun means travel. And my fun travel would start with Goa.

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My first travel planning

1997 at the age of 13 I planned to go Goa for my first fun travel. I was not courageous to tell my parents about my travel plan to Goa. So I broke my piggy bank and found some 550 rupees. But I needed 450 rupees more. At that age, thousand rupees was a big amount to me. It was enough to cover my vacation, in my head obviously. So I made my mission impossible plan. In coming few days I asked my father to give me some money for my new piggy bank and I did the same with my mother and elder sister as well without letting them know. I collected some 350 rupees more. And I needed 100 rupees more.
So now, the question was how to go to Goa from Kolkata. My friend told me that they travelled to Goa by train. He said from Howrah rail station to Goa by train it would take 50 hours. And my house to Howrah station I planned to go by a local minibus. So my goa vacation plan was ready. After 53-54 hours, I would reach Goa. I was feeling excited like never before. I was so excited.

My Travel packing

I had a grey colour school bag. I removed all my books and took out the pencil box and packed my Binocular, walkman, red sunglass. And my most favourite colourful t-shirts and shorts, pair of jeans, some chocolates and most importantly my school identity card. Because I heard that without an identity card, hotels do not accept booking. So my goa plan was so on.

The day

I did not fixed a date to go. I was ready to go but needed a perfect time. One fine morning my parents were out for work. My elder sister was in school. I did not go as I faked my illness. I thought this is my day. So I wrote a letter to my family, I am going to Goa for my first vacation. Don’t worry about me I will come back in a week.

My Way to Goa

I didn’t had any knowledge of the road. But I knew somehow the bus route to Howrah station. I took a local bus and reached Howrah rail station. My plan was very simple. I thought I would go and buy a Goa ticket from ticket counter and board my train. After 50 hour I will be at Goa beach. I was excited as I asked for a ticket in the counter. When my turn came, I asked for a Goa ticket.The man looked at me shockingly and told me that I was at wrong counter. I was ready to move and looked for the right counter. But the man called me and asked me to fill a form first. I learned a new information that I need a form. But from where that was still not clear. Somehow I managed a form and again joined a long queue. But I was hungry by the time. When finally my turn came I handed over the form to the man. He asked me my age. I told him 13. He smiled and told me to come again when I am 18. People started noticing me curiously. Someone asked me, where is your father? I did not reply and moved away. I felt bad for not executing my Goa trip.

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When Digha plan is on

I had decided, firstly finished my lunch and after that, I will think about what can I do. I found a clean restaurant beside the rail station. And Suddenly I heard the sound, a bus conductor’s call for new passenger Digha, within 30 minutes the bus will start. Immediately I changed my plan. Digha is one of the famous beaches in West Bengal. So instead Goa, Digha will be the same fun. And I surely believe Digha exactly feels like Goa. So at least my Digha plan was on.

The Digha day I never Forgot

When my bus started, I was very happy. I almost forgot I didn’t inform my parents. What would happen when they would found my letter,? I was enjoying my journey, beside a window seat. And enjoying Ricky martin song, “Maria” in my walkman. What a day! After 2 hours our bus stopped for 15 minutes that time I bought a coca-cola and enjoyed every sip.
When I reached Digha, I was excited to see the seashore. But first I needed a hotel. Some people at the bus stop were grabbing my bag and asked me to come to their hotel. I thought Wow what an entry, so much importance. Now I chose a man and went to his hotel. Hotel named New Sagarika. At the reception, the man asked me “where are you coming from? What is your age?”. I gave my school identity card and told him that I needed a room for 5 days. Hotel receptionist asked me to wait and called the hotel manager. The hotel manager asked me a lot of questions. Why are you here alone? Where are your parents? What is your plan in Digha? I told him that I am here for a vacation. I wanted to go Goa but my age did not allow me to go, that’s why I came here. Hotel Manager called the local police. And then I was a little nervous and hungry again.

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One Good Man

Within 10-minutes the police came and asked me the same questions as the hotel manager did. But this time one officer asked me a unique question “did you come to Digha to commit suicide? “. I told him, why would I spend money and come to come to Digha for suicide! I could have done this in Kolkata. Police searched my bag very rudely. I was disturbed. Outside of the hotel, many people gathered and were watching me. At that moment, one young gentleman came forward within the crowd and asked me very politely “Are you hungry”.
After a few minutes, one hotel boy came with egg roll and coca-cola. The man started talking separately with the police and the manager and kept an eye on me. Later that man introduced himself to me. He was Sanjay Sen, and he had a hotel too. He asked me if I want to stay in his hotel instead. I nodded yes. Then Mr Sen suggested me to call my Parent first to inform them about my safety. I was in dilemma. If I made that call my travel would have ended there. Mr Sen made me understand the intensity of the situation. If I did not call them, then Police would do whatever they feel right. I was scared of the police as they were treating me like a criminal.

The call ruined my travel plan

So I had to call home and informed my father that I am in Digha. They were already searching for me and filed a missing complaint at the local police station. Mr Sanjay Sen spoke to my father and told him not to worry about me. Next day, he will personally drop me home safely. Again My brain worked. I requested Mr Sen to call again my parents to inform them that tomorrow he won’t be able to come but the day after tomorrow he will. He was surprised until I gave him the logic. I came for a vacation which I did not want to destroy. It already got spoiled because of the fiasco. at least I could have 2 days to explore the place. He laughed and took me to his hotel.

End of the day

I realised tomorrow afternoon I would be at my home. So I had very little time to enjoy my vacation. I asked Mr Sen, would you like to come for an evening stroll or I shall continue. He agreed as he had no other option because I was his responsibility. That was my first and last visit to Digha. But that night I enjoyed a lot. We walked through the beach. Sat somewhere near the beach. I saw every people were happy and roaming around enjoying the beach. Mr Sen offered me a horse ride. I told him that I don’t like to ride animals. Then he bought me some fresh fish fry and coconut water. I bought a black hat and a new sunglass for me. After that, he took me to a nice restaurant for dinner. I was going to stay with him in his hotel for that night, next day he would take me back to Kolkata. So I requested him again to sit beside the beach for some more time post-dinner. That time he laughed again but agreed.

In this pandemic situation all over the world, travelling is one of the difficult tasks now. It’s a strange time to be a traveller or travel enthusiastic. Our world predicated on the belief that everywhere, anywhere, is just a drive, ride or flight away. These past few months of being strictly at home, even sometimes walking down the street not even possible. If there’s no travel, there’s no travel blogging. During this time I realise maybe travelling is not physically possible for certain time but there is many way to explore your travelling passion.

Please Note Cover Image source by Google.

When travelling in your hand

Virtual travel experiences that let you explore the world from your suitable place. This tours can take you pretty much anywhere, without your passport. Travelling is a learning process. Either you are in physically travel or either you travel virtual, you learning lots of unknowing things. In this pandemic situation, we don’t live our nomadic life that’s right but we watch travel documentaries, travel show and many more things. In the digital platform, there are a ton of travel vlogger publish their travel experiences. You want to know lots of new things, tips and idea about your travel destination, then there it is.

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Reading an alternative to travel

I always prefer to read some book, about my travel destination. Because its help me making a sudden decision during my trip. Reading is mind travel. Reading a book is clear your thought and it gives you imagination power. Last few months we all are stuck at our houses for the pandemic situation. No travel at all. Maybe coming few months are also a little difficult for the travel lover. So do that mind travel choose your next travel destination and pick the book about your destination. And I am sure your mind reached your destination. In India, there is a famous Bengali author named Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay he never been African jungle, but he wrote a famous novel called Chander Pahar (The Mountain of the moon). This Novel is published in 1937 and believe me that era not even know the power of Google or the internet. The mind is the most powerful thing we have.

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Photograph is another journey

Travel without photographs means an ocean without water. A photograph is the first thing to encourage your travel. When you are home during this pandemic situation watch travel photographs. Watching travel photograph is eye-soothing and cheerful. In my childhood, I saw some African safari photos these photos till then encourage me to go to Africa. I am sure you have some travel photograph in your mind when you want to go someday.

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People have a lot Travel Stories

In my childhood, I used to listen to my father’s travel stories. I used to cherish those. Every detail, every incident used to take me to that place. Not only that, but I also got to know about so many places that hardly mentioned in any travel destination list. Now when I am an adult, I still use the same old trick. In my neighbourhood, there are people who travelled to many places. From them, I get to know about Visa procedure, places to visit, their best travel experience. These tips always help me to plan my travel and bookings.

Travelling is in your mind. Nothing in this world can stop that travel. It’s only you who can set a limit. Decide your own limit and travel as far as you can.

Also read The Galwan Valley

Please Note – Cover Image source by Google.

The Galwan valley recently is in news. Here today I am not going to tell you about the war or the reason for any confrontation. Today I Will introduce to you a great fearless traveller. The name was Gulam Rasoul Galwan. He was a Ladakhi adventurer and explorer who had assisted many explorers at the turn of the 19th century. This valley named after him.The 80-meter long Galwan river flows through the valley.

Galwan reached Leh in 1895. He is also written a book titled “Servant of Sahibs: A Book To Be Read Aloud”. He has narrated his life which, full of adventures and journeys as he assisted Francis Younghusband to scout the regiment. At that time British ruled India, worried about Russian expansion towards Tibet. Galwan assisted British expeditions in the region as a guide. As troops tried to gather information about Russian intrusions in the valley which could pose a threat to British Interest in India.

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The Aksakal

Galwan for almost 35 years assisted the expeditions led by British, Italian and American explorer. And he eventually rose to the rank of “aksakal” or chief assistant of the British Joint Commissioner of Leh in 1917, as reported in Economic Times. This Valley was then the famous route for silk traders. At that time it’s believed to be swarming with robbers. No knowledge about the route caused people to lives. Besides robbers, cold, high peaks and lack of oxygen also caused much death. Some say the beautiful sight is breathtaking. And it’s beauty has a high price.

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How the valley named the Galwan Valley:

In 1892, Sir Charles Moore the 7th came to India. He came here in a secret mission. Moore has given a nice description about his travel in his travel diary ‘The Pamirs: Being A Narrative Of A Years Expeditions On Horseback and Foot Through Kashmir, Western Tibet, Chinese Territory And Russian Central Asia”. He had commenced many such trips for his secret jobs. But that time he fell into serious trouble.
Near Ladakh, he developed a sudden breathing problem due to heights. By the time, he also reached a place surrounded by peaks. The troop was unable to return with their horses. They got stuck badly there. On their way, they found animals and humans bones too. They all were scared to death. But the troop had a 14 years old cook, Gulam Rasoul Galwan. He made the troop wait there and he went to find the path. That fearless boy risked his life to find the correct path and brought everyone down safely. Moore so moved and indebted to this boy that he named the valley after him.

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The Forgotten Hero

We all recall and embrace Vasco-Da-Gama, christopher Columbus. They made a difference and explored the unexplored. They opened a new horizon to the world. But according to world history has so many travellers, so many explorers who hardly remembered. What Gulam Rasoul Galwan, 14 years old, had done is just commendable.

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