Hopefully not a long break, I should be checking back in by next week.
By the way, talking of travelling, how do you spend your time during your travels??
I must admit I haven't travelled by train since the initial days of my career. Then train was the only viable option for the pocket. A few years down the line, the weighing of options began - Air travel won hands down - anyone who has worked in the media or as a journalist would know, how difficult it is to get leave. So travelling from Mumbai to Kochi by train would mean losing at least 50-52 hours of precious one- to at most- two weeks of leave. So then my air travels began.
I think I would have travelled more by bus and plane than by train. Having an NRI father meant, we were weaned on air travel. As a child, I remember being scared of planes crashing over the vast vast ocean my little eyes would see from the plane window. I think this was around the time of the Kanishka crash ( if my memory serves me right!) Imagine the plight of my mother, travelling from Kochi to Cameroon, when I was just one and later to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, with a precocious seven-year old, a fidgety, highly clingy two-year old old and loads of luggage. Amma still shudders at the thought of what trauma those flights would turn out to be. Keeping the ever-bored older brat and snivelling younger one in check. Amma had one rule - never to allow her kids to be a nuisance to fellow travellers.
Every time, I travel in flights filled with kids, I think back to those times. Parents these days are so indulgent. On my flight from Mumbai to Bangalore recently, there was a little rascal sitting behind me ( sorry about sounding completely non-maternal, but the kind of kid that makes you wonder why people are so dying to procreate!) The kid did not have a low register, everything needed to be said at the highest pitch. The parents were like character actors in his personal drama. The kid would not stop talking for thirty seconds at a stretch. I am usually the kind who loves kid banter and can engage them in conversation for hours on end. But give me a kid like this and I'd hunt out socks and stuff it nice and tight to keep them quiet. So well, the parents didn't believe in any form of censure. So there was the brat, shouting at the top of his lungs to just about everyone, talking about everything from the seat-belt to when they would be served, to his nursery rhymes. The father didn't have enough clout to get the child to be seated before the take-off and could be heard pleading with the steward asking him to use his toughest tone to convince the boy to sit down!! Need I say how the rest of the trip went?
But the best time to travelling is late night flights. I can rarely sleep on flights. On long international flights, I watch back-to-back films - in fact, it is my most favourite passtime. I look forward to long haul flights for the chance to catch up on several films. Though I usually have a book or two in hand, I find myself rarely reading on international flights. So much to do and there's always a steward or stewardess coming up, offering you a drink or a snack. However, on domestic flights - with mostly only those stewards turned vendors to turn to - I normally seek refuge in my book. Mine is often one of the few reading lights that remain on, much to the irritation of my fellow travellers. There is however one thing that can keep you entertained, if the book you are reading is not entertaining enough!
Some are gentle gurglers - you feel like going awwww, they must be really tired and want to get them a blanket to keep them snug and warm.
There are the robust hooters - you can't miss them, its a shrill hoot and travels across aisles and windows and pierces your ear drums at regular intervals.
Then I have identified the steam rollers - a bit imaginative of me to think that if they were to be a machine, there would be steam emanating from all that mechanical energy being generated..
And finally, my favourite - the sleep musicians - the hardened snorers, who have perfected a medley of tunes - a range of wind-tones that go from the gurgle of the stream to the wheezing of the car engine starting every morning in your neighbourhood.
The only kind I'm scared of is the one where the person appears to be choking in their sleep, as if someone has a couple of fingers pressed to their throat!
Do you have any favourite mode of entertaining yourself while travelling?? Tell me, tell me, I'm all ears...:D