Highlight of this year were trips to Bihar and North East. I revisited Rishikesh, Mathura and Hampi this year and observed the pace at which these places are changing. A few observations that stand out from traveling across the country are:
Whole of country is under construction. Though the locals will tell this is a never ending process, this road has been under construction for last so many years, but you wonder how this can be true for almost all corners of the country. National highways, state highways, flyovers, underpasses, railway tracks and sometimes airports, everything is under construction. People go through the inconvenience of construction for years in a hope that someday their journeys will be easier.
Gol Gappe, known by various names across the country are available in the remotest part of the country and may be the only as-is survivor in the food category that is under threat from standardization. This is closely followed by beauty parlors that can also be seen almost in all places.
As you travel through the remote areas of the country you observe the difference that is popularly called India Vs Bharat. Though mobile connectivity is available throughout the country, you have no roaming facility in Arunachal if you are a subscriber of private telecom companies and the coverage of BSNL in urban India is not comparable to that of private players. You see the impact of Government run organizations and schemes in rural India that we almost write off in urban India. Unfortunately, plastic has entered the entire fabric of our country. I am pained to see all the roadside chaiwallahs using the cheap disposable plastic glasses and almost sitting of the pile of these glasses. The same goes for paper cups used by juicewallahs. Will it be possible to reverse this – I only hope it is.
I taught travel writing at National Institute of Travel and Hospitality Management and loved doing it. Interacting with young minds is such an invigorating experience. I managed to read 50 books this year too and have created a dedicated website for my book reviews: AnuReviews. I hope to bring in a little more focus to the two pursuits of mine: Books & Travel. A little bit of recognition came my way through this Television Interview.
Though the plans of next travel are always playing in the mind or being explored on the Internet, I hope to reflect a little more on the travels that I have done and the ones that I will undertake this year. I got to interact with lot of you, my readers. You gave me suggestions on new places to see, you shared your thoughts, you gave me additional information about the places on this blog and most importantly you kept me encouraged to travel more and inspired to write more. I hope that many more channels will open up this year.
Wish you all an insightful journey through 2012!