Courtesy - Ydntn( for the above picture)
They say that in this journey of love, one has to travel through those deserted, mist covered roads, those paths that have never been taken by anyone, the paths that pave the way for a brighter future and an endearing life ahead. Sometimes, one has to travel those paths which inspire others to follow. Those mist covered roads look beautiful but they have an emotion to convey. One has to tread on such roads and make life worth living in the name of love.
“Pass me the helmet please,” Aditya said.
She didn’t listen to him of course and was busy admiring something in his bike.
Aditya called out again but she didn’t listen. He got down from his bike to see his girl bent down and admiring the rim of the wheel behind. He questioned in his mind, “What is she finding so interested about the wheel suddenly when it’s time to leave?”
He held the handle of his bike, bent close to her and tickled at the back of her neck and ruffling her hair with his leather glove covered hand.
She got up with start as she felt tickled. There was a gleam in her eyes as she turned towards Aditya. She looked as if something important had happened.
“What sweets?” Aditya asked her.
“Do you know how to change a bike’s tyre?” she asked innocently.
“I think I know but I haven’t done it practically. I never got a chance though.”
He paused and thought for a while whether he actually knew it or not but it was of course obvious that an adventure and bike freak like him would know.
“Why are you asking me this now? We are getting late. We need to travel a lot, you know that,” he said looking at her.
Aishwarya still seemed to be in her happy world. She didn’t react to what he said.
“It’s interesting,” she said.
“What’s interesting? Getting late?” he asked in a confused tone.
He was certainly not getting what she wanted to say.
She was back to her senses then. She hit on his arm and said, “ Stupid, I am telling about the changing- the tyre- thing.”
“I know it,” she said triumphantly.
“Oh, really!!”Aditya said.
“You must be kidding.”
“No my dear, I learnt this through a website and a demonstration to change a punctured bike’s tyre. It’s interesting but I haven’t tried it personally. Look I have this instruction panel also. I just took down some points,” she said handing over few sheets of paper where she had scribbled.
“Impressive,” Aditya said.
He thought, “I never knew my girl will read about all this too, apart from those fashion and gossip magazines.”
He smiled at her while she still seemed so excited about it.
He handed over the papers to her and said, “Keep this, at least when my bike gets punctured I won’t need a mechanic.”
Aishwarya felt a great responsibility on her shoulder. She was a little cautious and she said, “You have to help me. I can’t do it alone.”
Aditya came forward, cupped his hands around her cheeks and then nudged her head with his head.
“No, I am not going to help you; I’ll just watch you Miss Mechanic.”
She was smiling innocently but she had no clue what was going on in Aditya’s mind.
“Take the helmet. We have to reach there on time before others can,” she said.
Aditya thought, “Thank God she realized it soon.”
Off they went on narrow lanes, crowded roads, busy squares, honking the horn each time stopping at signals and ready to leave the city to unravel a photo adventure story which was the topic of this competition.
“Just note down the kilometer reading in your phone, we’ll need this for documentation,” Aditya said removing the front cover of his helmet.
“Okay”, Aishwarya shouted back.
She was busy behind, holding the camera which hung around her neck, adjusting the focus so as to capture all those important landmarks which they could document. Her mind was in full action. She let Aditya do his driving comfortably without talking to him much. She had to handle his tripod behind which kept moving from one side to the other at the same time manage the heavy bag on her shoulder, take care of her hair which was already flying in the air and had entangled badly. She managed to take out a pen from her pocket and jotted down the important details on her travel guide book. They certainly had to stick to the plan they had made or else they would lose track of their route. Their aim was to write about a travel experience they had while visiting a place not known to many and had to document it with pictures.
“Adi I am not able to take good pictures, my hands are not being steady. How to change to speed mode? I don’t know anything dear. I think I’ll spoil all the important pictures. Can you slow down a bit? Can you please tell me?” Aishwarya went on and on.
Adi was smiling to himself which was certainly not visible because of the front cover. He was enjoying the confusion she was going through. He did slow down and explained things to her and she did as told. She was feeling triumphant at those small instances where she could capture what she wanted to. She kept thinking and imagining about the story as she was going to write the story with Adi’s help of course. She had her job to do. Aditya kept talking to her and asked her about which route to take which not to. They got confused and she kept blinking thinking what to do. Nevertheless, there’s always an option to ask people. When one can communicate well, there’s no problem in finding out routes.
They had chosen to go to a place which was 20 km out of the city and they had chosen a small village which was near Kananbera. It was supposed to be famous for its paddy and miller crops as well as the scenic beauty.
Aishwarya had always wanted to look at a day in the life of a villager and had wanted to experience the joy of being so close to the essence of being an India. Aditya of course had his reason which was to go on a drive as well as take his girl along.
People kept staring at them as they entered into the rural areas where the roads were proper but narrow. The municipality had taken good care of the connectivity.
“What’s the plan of action now?” Aditya asked her.
“Let’s have breakfast somewhere here. I am very hungry.”
They got down from the bike and went to a small roadside tea shop that had only one wooden bench enough for 3 people to sit. They had no other option but stick to homemade ‘tava dosa’ with a white blob of butter on top. It was served with coconut chutney and to add on there was chilly bajji with it. Aditya was so lost in his food that he had no count of the number of dosas he had consumed. Aishwarya was enjoying her coffee sipping it from a small earthen cup and looking at the paddy fields that extended quite far.
They were near their destination but there was so much to do before that. Aditya got recharged after that amazing breakfast and took a few snapshots of the scenic beauty around.
The golden sunlight and the blue sky seemed to be a description that had come alive out of those travel guide books. This was worth their visit.
The smell of the soil which was drying slowly in the sun was something which one could experience just once in such trips. The dried soil had already covered their shoes by then.
Aishwarya tried to climb on some trees which were easy to reach and half the time was spent posing for pictures that Adi took.
They didn’t talk much but they seemed to enjoy each other’s company. They had learnt to enjoy with each other’s happiness.
Aishwarya was really interested in what Aditya liked. The path ahead was not as smooth as expected. Taking note of all the places they crossed and the lanes they were entering into, Aishwarya could figure out they were just nearing that village. Aditya kept driving and they went inside. The rural part of India was unleashed. The same description that was there in books was still alive. That was the exciting part. They kept moving ahead slowly and finally found out a place where they could keep the bike, lock it and then explore the village. There happened to be a helpful fellow in whose shop that massive bike stood.
Aishwarya had already worn her cap as it was getting hotter and hotter. Aditya kept wiping the perspiration on his head and adjusted his camera to do his job. Aishwarya was relieved that finally she didn’t have to adjust the setting so much. She was happily roaming around looking at everyone. There were kids playing near a hand pump. Splashes of water were flying in the air. She could see that innocence and sense of freedom in the eyes of those kids.
She looked at Aditya clicking some candid pictures and said putting her hand on his shoulders, “I wish I could just forget the world and enter into that pool of water. Girls have to be so conscious about things. Huh!”
Aditya took his eyes from the camera and look at her. He said with a big grin rolling his eyes and copying Aishwarya’s gesture, “Here comes your next dialogue: You lucky guys.”
He said this and started laughing. She glared at him and put her hands around her waist.
“We lucky guys- The losers,” he continued.
She heard this and frowned as he was still laughing. She made a face and turned around and walked off throwing the bag on the ground.
Aditya was still smiling at her. He dusted the bag and called her out in a very sweet tone. In his hearts of hearts he knew she’ll smile.
His camera was ready and as she turned there was that same smile that he always got flattered with.
There went the camera. Aishwarya could just see the wide smile as his face was covered by the camera.
She said, “Enough of photography. Let’s go to some of the houses here and ask them where we can get a nice staple diet of the villagers.
The shady place, the hot sun, the itchy grass didn’t seem to irritate her then. She took out her diary and started jotting down some points which she could mention in that coverage story.
Aishwarya thought, “I don’t feel poetic but I feel like a writer today.”
“I am enjoying this, “she said with a contented look on her face.
“So am I,” Aditya said.
They found some helpful villagers who showed the way to the paddy fields and they managed to go half way but Aishwarya was scared of insects biting her so she walked back.
Some of the helpful women were kind enough to let her into their houses and let her have a look at the lifestyle. She explained to them in the local language that she was taking all the information for a cover story. She boasted a lot just to get enough matter to write an amazing story.
Aditya said, “This is not done. Cheating!”
Sticking out her tongue at him she said, “Everything is fair.”
They continued this session for a while and had a typical lunch what the villagers had.
Boiled rice, dal, vegetables, cool water from a mud pot, few chapati’s and to end with, there was butter milk. Nothing could beat the homely food and the cool place. The best thing to do was to sit on the floor and eat in those huge round steel thalis. It seemed so much like a travel and living episode.
When Aishwarya’s mind worked more she spoke less and Aditya was spared this time with her non- stop talks.
They went back to the place where the bike was kept. The seat wasn’t hot, thanks to that shopkeeper, it received enough shade.
They moved a bit ahead. Aditya was a little slow this time while driving as the roads were not laid down properly. There were huge stones jutting out so every now and then he was losing balance. They managed to move ahead. It was time for rest. They found a huge banyan tree where they could sit under the shade.
It was certainly the time to relax and talk. Aishwarya was fully equipped with a small blanket to sit on and a packet of jiggery coated groundnut. They spoke for some time, closed their eyes and dosed off resting their head on each other’s shoulders and the back on the tree trunk.
Aishwarya was woken up because an ant bit her on her hand.
“Ouch!” she screeched.
They woke up with a start and there was a red eruption on her hand.
They had no idea that it was half an hour that they were still sitting there.
It was time to head back because their idea was to reach home before it was dark.
There was nothing much to explore while going back and they had no energy left to stop and look around. Aishwarya was doing her job well and while returning she held Aditya tightly as he rode and fell asleep while he was driving.
It happened so that Aditya spoke about his bike and the mileage for 5 minutes and this girl was already taking her nap resting on his back and holding him tight.
He realized that and said, “Girl, you are sleeping? Open your eyes and look around.”
“Dude, I am bored. Let’s just go back home,” she said in a desperate tone.
“I can’t sit on this bike anymore.”
She giggled and giggled saying this and in another 1 hour they were back home. Aditya could feel the tiredness once he got fresh and fell flat on the bed.
Aishwarya was full charged up after a hot water shower.
She sat down with her hair tied in a neat knot. Wore her glasses, took out the notepad, opened a new page on Microsoft Word and wrote: The Road Trip.