20 November 2011

The Motorcyle Diaries

About an year ago, I watched The Motorcyle Diaries. The movie was well made, showing the true story of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and Alberto Granado's journey through Latin America on a spluttering motorcycle. I watched it, appreciated it, and forgot about it.

Today, I visited the wiki page of The Motorcycle Diaries, and felt spellbound. Ernesto Guevara and his friend covered more than 8,000 miles in the span of nine months. They covered almost the whole of South America, passing through Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela, Panama and Miami.

The sights that Che Guevara saw during those travels, is what shaped his future. It revealed to him the inequalities in society, the rampant poverty, the stifling oppression present. From a middle class medical student, he became the champion of the people.

But I did not feel spell bound by Guevara's transformation. That is a completely different story. What surprised me was my own transformation.

Within my family circles, I'm the 14 year old idiot who, when asked to accompany the whole family on a trip to visit Taj Mahal, declared, "I can see it on my wall paper! Why should I travel so much to see it!"

I ended up having to go. And it still shames me that I cannot remember much of the journey.

People have told me that in order to be a better writer, I must travel. I always scoffed at them. Traveling, until today, was an uneasy experience. A claustrophobic journey, spent cramped in a car. I resented it, all the while yearning for the soft cushions and warm blankets available back at home.

But something's changed. I cannot exactly place my finger on it, but somehow, over the past few months, I've thought about setting out. I've thought about reaching places. Different places. Places where the sweat drops on the back of my neck would cease to exist. Places where my lungs would feel giddy as fresh air flowed into them.

The bread omlet and lime juice that has long overstayed its welcome has to be replaced : with tasty kebabs that reportedly melts in your mouth, with biryani that was made the way biryani was supposed to be made.

Perhaps this is a rite of passage for every guy. Once in college, you set out to see the world around you. I'll start small, perhaps. But hopefully, with friends by my side, music roaring and head lights blaring, I'll pass by as it rains, snows and shines. Hopefully, each journey will shape me, like a hammer chisling a sculpture. I'm not sure how exactly travelling is going to help; that's part of the beauty of it all. Only time, perhaps, can tell me exactly how.

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