Author: Aiswarya Shreeganga
My google account is flooded with memories from 4 or 5 years back! That made me think about my old photographs of time we went on road trips, summer vacation, train journeys, picnics , long drives and so on… Those memories have now become the pages of an Album which are locked in some shelves from the tenth day of their arrival at home and there’s always an excitement when you see the pages of those albums and it keeps on reminding us of our “OLD US”
These hard copies are the only proof that we had a life well enjoyed with minimal digital influence. Remembering about my trips days, made me realize that I took travelling granted for all these years, especially our family road trips. Road trips were always our favourite.
Putting an alarm to wake up earlier than your siblings, packing the bags, bidding goodbyes to your home pet and plants for a while , filling the water bottles, food, these are the experiences I cherish !! It was always chaotic before starting off on the trip. Each road trip gave us different experiences and we have had many beautiful memories attached to it. I remember, the best trips were the ones to Goa in our ice blue family car!! Five of us, me, my twin sister, my brother and my parents … all the way from Trivandrum to Goa! Amma used to be my father’s navigator. We three Kids had only one thing to do, to be the FM for the parents to keep them awake during the whole journey.
We never stopped at a restaurant on the first day of our trip, my mother would be carrying a pack of breakfast, lunch and dinner for each of one of us and big shady trees were always our stopping point. Our favourite meal of the day was lunch. Amma’s Special ‘pothichor‘ (Kerala style traditional lunch ) which has rice, pickle, fish fry, omelette, chapati and thoran, all neatly covered by a plantain leaf and double sealed by a newspaper. An amazing aroma of the leaf rice and curry would get you lit up through all your senses.
Even now, just thinking about it makes me feel like having one… Most of the time, road trips took a day and a half to reach the destination. When home cooked food got over, we would look out for restaurants. No google to check reviews, my dad always said ” the best restaurant is one with the big crowd ” and even now, we follow this adage religiously.
Our Road trips would get harsh sometimes, especially during summers. That scorching heat!! We found new ways to tackle the unbearable heat by using wet towels as a curtain. We learnt so many things through these memorable experiences. A specific thing I always remember was learning about mirage during our first road trip. My brother was in denial until he got convinced about the concept of mirage that there was no water on the road. He kept on warning my father that if he goes too fast he will splash water on someone else’s car.
My father always emphasised for us to be independent in life even when you were stranded so he made us ask directions to the destinations from the local people! I believe that this helped us learn to be more confident and we would always ask about the names of places, streets and learn the local lingua franca.
Crossing borders of state always meant exploring new food. I remember we were on one of our trips to Kodaikanal and we stopped at a place called Dindigul for lunch. I tried this beautiful combination of rice, parupu podi(powdered dal) and ghee (this combination is very famous in Tamil Nadu ) from Meenakshi Bhavan. I have never tasted anything like that before and it was like in a minute, everything melted in my mouth.
My mother loves buying fruits and chocolates from whichever places we go on vacation. After site seeing we always kept half an hour just for amma and her window shopping. There were times when there was no space in the car and the next safe place was on our laps. After window shopping, we would once again hit the road promising everyone we met there that we will meet everyone soon sometime.
This is what road trips do to you! We met so many people, made friends and life long memories! Road trips taught us a lot about being in the moment and to enjoy new things that passed by us every day.
I always wish there was a button in our brain that would take us back to our most beautiful memories of yesteryears. Today we siblings are settled in our different places but we reminisce and plan to take many more road trips together, with our growing family and our parents!