Life is a highway, it is often said. I couldn't agree more. You drive ahead hoping for something better than what's behind, the road may be smooth and empty, or there may be an unexpected obstacle forcing you to take a longer route. In either scenarios, there are hidden lessons for life.
|NH-275, between Kushalnagar and Madikeri|
There are many many reasons why we like going on road-trips, and here are a few.
1. Minimum planning: Many of us will relate to this. You don't know when you can manage to get off from work. And then you have an unexpected long weekend ahead of you. You can start when you like.
2. No hassles of booking tickets: An extension of the above. You're not sure whether you can go on that trip you've painstakingly planned. Or you might have to cancel it after all and you stare at the possibility of losing quite a bit of money in the process, not to mention the disappointment, which you simply cannot express in terms of money! For a road-trip, all you need is a well serviced vehicle and you're game.
|A narrow stretch of NH 17 in South Goa|
3. Unlimited luggage: Want to carry that favorite book to read on your holiday or the new pair of shoes that you aren't really sure of wearing, but you're scared you'll exceed that 15 kg mark? Not an issue, just stuff everything into the boot!
4. Practical geography lessons: This is my favorite bit. You get to visit and learn the names of little villages which you otherwise wouldn't visit. There can be unexpected stops as well, when you come across a spot not mentioned on the list of 'must see places'.
|Just north of the Kali bridge outside Karwar|
5. Awesome signboards: Speed thrills but kills, Jhopla tho sampla, Horn OK Please, Oo Mallige Nee ellige Na Jallige, Putturda Muthu, etc. etc. - you get the drift. Where else will you get such pearls of wisdom.
6. Beautiful vistas: Another favorite bit. There is a curve ahead and the next thing you see, the beautiful afternoon sea glittering in the sun. Or passing through some winding ghat sections. Or that straight unending road stretching out in front of you.
Driving through fruit orchards, or coconut-tree lined roads or through coffee plantations is refreshing. My favourite stretch is one near Karmal Ghat in Goa, lined by eucalytpus trees. And the best part is you'll always find someone selling chai at such locations.
|Driving with windows open and the scent of eucalyptus wafting through is wonderful|
|A tiny village in Ratnagiri|
|Areca (adike) plantations|
|Alphonso mango farms|
|Pepper and coffee|
|Why does chai taste so good in such tumblers?|
|Women selling local produce fresh from their backyard|
Not to forget beautiful sunrises and the morning light.
|The countryside bathed in the golden morning light|
|Spooky blue on another occasion|
And during the monsoons or soon after, nature decides to paint everything green.
|A tiny village (Panjinadka) near Mulki, Karnataka|
7. Local cuisine: You're hungry, just stop by the highway. Some places are nice, some of them are not. But you get a chance to savor those rustic tastes. The tuppa (ghee) dosa and beaten rice with curd at Bhat's Hotel at Gunavante is recommended.
|Steaming hot Moode, idli batter steamed in wound leaves of the Kedige plant (Screw pine)|
9. Bonding: This needs no explanation. You cannot go on a roadtrip and not form a close bond with whoever you're travelling with, whether it's your friends or family.
10. Lessons on profanities!: There is a car on the wrong side approaching with headlights on, or the bus driver who continuously honks from behind. The kind of stuff they get called, whew! ;)
|That feeling you get when you drive home after a trip; after all home is where the heart is.|
Sharing here are a few more shots which I couldn't resist putting up.
I hope I've inspired you enough to go on a road-trip soon!