Traveling is a dangerous thing.
It shakes the very foundation of stability that the world has so carefully conditioned us to believe in and aspire for. It melts the strong chords that bind us to the motivations which keep us going for the race everyday. It opens windows, the views from which were never meant to be savored. Finally, it makes us question if indeed the beliefs we hold about the ideal life hold any element of truth in them at all.
Every time I am back from travel, the life I am leading seems more purposeless than ever.
The family went for a trip to Trichy last week. We don't have our relatives there. It was a place I was visiting after almost 12 years. Dad wanted to go on a 'temple-sightseeing' marathon of sorts. I didn't mind. I like temples; the ambiance in them.
There was that initial resistance, of course. The possibility of a quiet weekend at home, lying on the bed, dreaming, reading fiction, watching movies, and browsing random sites, was indeed tempting. Interestingly, activities of the like are what I have been doing over all weekends since work life began and yet, till date, I have never felt completely refreshed. So, it was worth giving something different a shot.
It was a spectacular trip - to say the least. Nothing mind-blowing in particular if I had to point it out but on the whole, I have never felt so rejuvenated in a long time. That is the beauty of travel. It got me wondering - How often do I go to places that I have absolutely never been to before? How often do I get out of Chennai? I decided then that no matter what, I would strive to leave the city and go elsewhere - anywhere - at least once a month.
During the trip, there was a feeling of homecoming, as though man truly belonged only to the road; He wasn't meant to be caged in giant concrete structures, chasing deadlines and sales targets. After the trip, there was this stir within - a restlessness that I am going back to an artificial pointless system, a rat race of constant hurrying for no reason that was going to make the world a better place i.e., either add beauty, add knowledge or help another human being. It made me ask myself "What the heck am I doing with my life?". Is this what I would do if I had just a month to live? I think if most of us had just a month to live, we will surely quit our jobs.
Work is meditation. True. We were not built to lie down sleeping the whole day but somehow the system of career today seems so unnatural and stifling to the human spirit. By nature, we are all nomads within. What we find ourselves in today, truly goes against our innate nature. Is there a system possible where we do not have to go for a nine to five job? Or is it too late to revert back to that kind of a living? Yet, I am sure - if every person were granted the freedom to develop in a conducive manner without any restrictions and rules, there would be a flourishing of inventions, art, literature and beauty.
There is a gross murder of creativity in the pattern we are following today, where we move like a herd of cows. It has made us all prisoners of mass thinking, prisoners of routine - incapable of free thought, incapable of rising beyond mediocrity and carving a unique niche for ourselves. Unfortunately, our system rewards lavishly those who follow this pattern most devoutly and sincerely - the punctual ones, the conscientious ones and hardworking ones. Our system has its own way of punishing those who deviate by pushing them down all the orders - financial, social and legal.
Success then, is a measure of your ability to not get distracted in this race and have single-minded focus on results, productivity and target without pausing to think of the relevance of it all. The dreamers fare poorly. The ability to dream or hold ambiguous thoughts is a huge liability and survival makes it necessary not to develop those skills.
The good news - it is possible to be completely oblivious to any of these disturbing thoughts for a long time. There many safeguards in place to keep us in check. The key then is to avoid those triggers which get us thinking otherwise, of seeing the big picture - triggers like TRAVEL.
This is why travel is bad. It makes me think of all these things. It makes me want to escape and never come back to the order. It reminds me of all the possibilities in another world. Travel not just makes all the problems and stress of the usual life seem small, travel also makes the gratifications and joys of this life seem insignificant.
Sometimes, I kid myself into believing that someday, I will surely find a way to get out of it.