Sitting clueless at Nagpur station waiting for the train to arrive, I was feeling edgy. I come to this station every week, that too twice, but today it seemed very unfamiliar. My train to Delhi was running late by 40 mins, and I was suspiciously looking around. Why, I wondered. I have always loved people and moreover have felt at peace with strangers too.
At that instance, my mind went back to the last conversation I had with my Dad before leaving for station. “I travel with a cause Dad, a cause for safety, so nothing can go wrong with me.” By that sentence, at that moment, I assured my dad that I will be safe, but within I realized I have taken up a big responsibility. I was visiting Delhi, solo for the very first time, for Travel Wizard Club (TWC) launch meet-up to meet some awesome like-minded travellers. Since the day I planned my visit there were concerns raised about my safety, but fortunately, thanks to some really good friends that I have made in the past, I surpassed them all. But yes at the same time, I was scared.
While in that nervousness, I finally boarded the train. My seat was in the first compartment itself and as I stepped in, I saw that I was the only female in the compartment. Not revealing a hint of nervousness, I arranged my bags and took my seat, bindaas as always. The train started and slowly our conversations too. An hour and half passed, and most of us were now sleepy. One of the passengers was watching a movie, rest of us were lost either looking outside the window, or resting. It was then that one of the oldest passenger with us, a sardarji, in his Punjabi Hindi accent asked guy watching movie for his laptop.
At first the guy got confused as to why was he asking for it, but then he handed it over to him. What followed made me laugh like crazy. The sardarji kept the laptop on the in the middle and played the ongoing movie from the beginning. Thus, we 8 of us, spent remaining 3 hours watching Bajrangi Bhaijaan. By the time movie ended, we people were touched by the movie and by the moment spent together. We no more were strangers, but were now discussing humanity. Things did alter between us all and now we were connected, talking beyond business and economy, discussing life. This made me calmer. My confidence got back and edginess vanished.
In the morning when I got down at Nizamuddin, the sardarji’s son guided me the way to my friend Pranita’s place. I booked an Ola and started my journey. It was a one and half hour drive and I was happily gazing out exploring the city, I read each and every signage, was observing the people but there was strangeness around me, I couldn’t connect with the city.
The strangeness followed me for quite a while, even at my friend’s place. We spoke a lot, despite of meeting for the first time, but that strangeness was nagging me. I guess it was the feeling of not belonging to the city that constantly took over my wanderer self. But gradually it went off. When finally it was time to depart, Pranita came along with me, she guided me to take the metro to Hauz Khas but I denied. I was still estranged and needed to wander and feel the city’s vibe. Thus, I booked an Ola again. This time, I sat inside with nothing in mind.
I was plainly observing the city, the wide roads, the greenery and the cars. Delhi was not Mumbai, but Delhi had its charm. The city started connecting to me as we approached Delhi from Haryana. I was lost engulfing the culture around and then I realized that I am late. I had some 20 more minutes of solitude and then reached Hauz Khas village.
The place had awesome vibe, for a moment I went back to the Leh. I walked and walked observing people around, asking for directions, and then I reached the Travel Wizard Conference (TWC) 2015, at Kunzum Travel Café . The room was full, and I could only figure out that one acquainted face standing in the font addressing all, the founder of StreetTrotter.com and the brain child behind TWC, Shraddha Gupta.
I was supposed to be the first speaker, sharing my gyaan about writing an engaging blog post that connects with your reader’s soul. Glad that I could make it just on time for it. Well, really don’t know how my talk was, but what I received back from other speakers at the meet-up was indeed very insightful.
Those story-telling wildlife pictures, by none other than Akash Das, the brand ambassador for Canon and a well-known photographer associated with Incredible India, made me think how important it is to be patient and attentive in order to get that right click. It also re-assured my belief that an image should always have a perspective for it to be self-expressive.
We leant and exchanged many things including the various types of readers for your blogs, importance of SEO, the mind-set of a travel blogger, monetizing your blog, etc.
When the meet-up ended we all were overwhelmed. That’s the power of collaboration, esp. with like-minded people. But, most of us are too busy analysing competition. This indeed was my biggest learning at TWC 2015.
Mr. Ravinder, founder of Kokikol, accompanied me and ensured I get a safe taxi ride back to my friend’s place. Moreover, when I got in the cab, he got me a bottle of water. I felt at home. All I could do is Thank him.
Suddenly, I loved the city and felt like exploring it more. But, I had prior commitments to fulfil. So I looked out of the window, and cool breeze touched my face. This sensation is so familiar, I thought. Irrespective of which place you are, this feeling of pleasant breeze touching your face feels so soothing.
I took my phone out as I now had a Facebook update to put –
How true it is that you fall in love with a place because of the people you meet…my first solo trip to Delhi, which started with a bit of fear within, made me fall in love with the city by the end of the day.