i think it was at 11. can’t remember anything before that. and this was the BIG trip! for 10 or 15 days we were out of our city. that was huge. i think we did go to nearby places, and every summer to chennai to stay with grandparents… but in those days middle class indians didn’t waste money on ‘site-seeing’ at non-native places. we plonked ourselves at our grandmothers, as all our other cousins did and it was this huge melee of people. of course that’s another story, for anything time and another place… and, middle class tams, definitely did not ‘travel’ and importantly, stay at a hotel!! there were other more ‘educational’ things to be done! right?
it was a marriage. some distant relatives i had never met. and heard about them only now. but my dad revered their father. and he had to go, so we all went too! and it was a wedding at varanasi, couldn’t make it more holy for us. so it was decided – a north indian yatra it would be. delhi, agra, manali, fago and some places there i don’t remember, and. all booked, all ready. itching to leave! and the wedding is shifted to bhopal, as the patriarch of the family falls ill. so, varanasi is ditched, but the other tickets are booked, we continue to do our north thing and then travel to the middle of india!
my memories are sporadic, possibly as any 11 year olds would be.
i have one vivid one of sitting on the steps of fatehpur sikri and cribbing about the heat, the sun, my heartless parents, relentless parents.. in my head it was this huge place, fatehpur sikri. and too much walking to do, and i couldn’t! so, refusing to walk any further in the hot summer sun, i had demanded a gold spot – today it doesn’t exist in india anymore! my brother and me were left grunting on the steps and my parents went off to immerse themselves in all those buildings. we did go in, eventually, for i remember shahjahan’s bed, in the middle of an empty space, that the guide explained would be filled with water and rose petals to cool down the entire place…
i remember kulu manali, standing on this hill, huddled in sweaters and shawls and looking out to the intense, rising mist in front of us, refusing to let us see anything beyond our own noses… we were in a cloud… for people in the valley we were the cloud!
i remember this lovely dal that the chef at the guesthouse made for us… it was just so, so good, felt like i have never eaten anything that tasty before, and never eaten a better dal after that. i even vaguely remember the cook’s grinning face.
and i remember the parathas topped with butter, with curd and pickle by the side that we had on our way to agra.
but apart from that, i don’t remember much else of my first ‘travel’ experience! i don’t think we have too many photographs, it was the age of rolls and we took fewer pictures and many of them were out of focus or black… so our entire 10 days could be summarised by 50 pictures. and today i take 300 pictures on a day out! 🙂
what is your first travel memory?