Quite recently I’ve developed a new hobby – taking new routes while commuting! It can be so much fun, discovering roads you never knew existed! In the process I’ve got to know my city better, found shortcuts between various places and absolutely fallen in love with travelling! Oh, and my Honda Activa-i has become one of my closest friends!

It started with a surprise visit to a friend. I had the evening free that day. It had been ages since I met her so I decided to seize this delightful opportunity that had come my way! I hadn’t been to her college before but I knew the route roughly. To be on the safer side, I checked out the route on Google Maps once before leaving. It was early evening, and happened to be a sunny day with a clear sky; an additional incentive! She was supposed to be free in an hour’s time so I had plenty of time to reach her college and stroll through the campus. Or so I supposed! Before I realized I was lost! I must have taken one or two wrong turns (there are a few side streets on that route, where there is a chance of taking wrong turns, especially when you’re daydreaming about the pleasant evening you’re about to spend, and not paying attention to where you’re going!).

“Bugger!” I thought. “Where on earth am I?”

DHANKAWADI

I looked around. But I was still unsure of where I was. The logical solution was to take out my mobile phone, turn on the GPS and track my current location, and then find directions to my intended destination. For some strange reason though, I felt rather reluctant to do so! Maybe it was the fact that I still had time and the day was a pleasant one, or maybe it was the fact that I’d been reading a Sidney Sheldon the day before, but I felt adventurous and wanting to explore my hometown! So I set off on my ‘expedition’, turning left, turning right, and taking U-turns when I reached dead-ends. Till then, I’d never done anything as spontaneous or unpredictable as this. This novel experience thrilled me to bits! Somehow I found myself on the right path eventually, and reached my friend’s college just in time!

That day onwards I’ve been taking different routes whenever I have lots of spare time. At first I chose destinations and routes I’d been on before, with my parents or friends. Sometimes I recollected all the turns correctly from memory. Sometimes I found myself taking one or two wrong turns and ‘discovering’ areas I hadn’t been to before. Sometimes I found myself to have wandered slightly away from my intended destination, at other times I was way off course! No matter whether or not I got the route right first time, no matter how many blunders I made, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience every single time! Now I’ve started going to places I’ve never been to before but I’ve heard of. I try to find out the route on my own and only turn to Google Maps if I’m seriously lost!

Taljai

There’s a certain kind of peace in travelling without any constraints on time or distance. You are free to drive happily, at a faster speed than usual, the wind blowing into your hair, your eyes watering with its impact, in no hurry to reach anywhere, with no one expecting you to be somewhere at any particular time! For that particular duration of time, you are the king or queen of your own life, free to do exactly as you please! You remain unfazed by uncertainties! In fact you actually begin to like them because they make the experience even more enjoyable! There’s no pressure to prove yourself, no one to prove yourself to, no stress, no competition, nothing but yourself and your own thoughts, free to run along their own track!

This hobby has changed me in many ways. I’ve become more confident. I’ve started enjoying my life a lot more! I’ve really started enjoying my own company! Most importantly, I’ve started trying to live in the moment. No matter whether or not I manage to keep pursuing my other hobbies in the future, this is one hobby I won’t let go of, ever!

Panshet

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