Living in a country, where most of the times, the headlines
unanimously cover the images of jammed wheels and widely opened mouths that
depict the slogans of demands and grievances, traveling can never be an
optional choice. However, does that cease the spirit of an explorer, seeking to
measure the depth of the circumstances and true aspirations of people that
together construct the existence of life in a preferred destination? Well,
there may be evaluated choices and shriveled decisions, where the travelers
seldom confirm the bookings and reservations. 

The exaggerated common notions or
perceptions revealing the bitter caught in the strike travel experiences then turn
into one of the pre-cautions for the travelers planning to spend their
hard-earned vacation in such destinations. Despite of all such conclusions,
variations in the common perspectives to view things more optimistically always
do exist in few travelers.

It was raining heavily, when a couple, swollen with their
heavy rucksacks and wet clothes, stopped near the barricade and waved their
hands to the activists, who had found their shelter under a shed, beside the
road. The activists answered them with a sign to walk to their shelter. Their
wide smiles wore enchanting impressions that somehow convinced the activists to
praise their guts after knowing that the strike was confirmed a month back. In
their pure British accent they said, “We were in Delhi,
we knew there would be strikes in the hills of North
Bengal.” The activists had no reason to stop them as the strike
can never barricade the hearts and the exploring eyes of the wanderers, who
love nature along with everything in nature. They know no boundaries of
political and social conflicts that can never stop the blossoming of
Rhododendron, the revelation of golden brightness of Kanchanjenga peak, the
flashy glimpse of sailor and sergeant butterflies or the fluffy tail of Krishna
peacock, the tempting aroma of steamed Momos and soupy thukpas flying out
through the ventilators of kitchen, and above all the dreamy image of
Darjeeling in North Bengal, India.
I was quiet enthusiastic to peep in their conscience
that  wore so many concealed perceptions
about the word, “ Traveler”, so I took an excuse to escort them to a nearby
hotel. I had an hour’s time in my hand to spill the beans of their traveling
experience that perhaps had some unknown definition of the word “Traveler”.
“Aren’t you afraid of some unforeseen circumstances that may get you caught in
a trap while there is strike on hills?” 
The beautiful couple shared their glances and replied, “It’s an
adventure for us, where we enjoy negotiating with people, strolling freely on
curved roads without any traffic, and enjoy the silence of hills while there is
strike”.  “Do you always reach your
destination?” I asked, feeling the mercury of my curiosity rising. “Yeah! most
of the times, Changing cabs, people, paths, meeting the leaders for permission,
knowing the reasons of strikes and different perceptions of different people,
their reasons of happiness and annoyance, the things they want us to share with
the whole world. We are lucky; we always get heralding people showing their
warm hospitality perhaps because this their idol time to truly reveal themselves.
There was an incident, where a cab driver was charging us excessively. It was
easier to complain, as people act faster than your cops. The cab driver was
nearly blown out, when the group of youths complained. We have seen places
where we could have never reached otherwise, Stayed in warm and cozy family
homes, traveled in flagged vehicles, sat with activists and heard their dreams
of economic and social development. So altogether we have experienced both the
brighter and the darker sides of your place. We have learned how to convince
people, what to say that makes them happy and many things. What do you expect a
traveler to explore more than these about the nature, culture and tradition of
a place? It is more than an adventure tour. It is an experience that can be
written as a story in a book. We have not come to find luxury, but to
understand the true way of life, in a different place, with a different
experience, where the days are not planned and every day is a non-planned
experience”
It was still raining. I left the hotel room and went back to
the place, where the barricade still blocked the way. I wondered if the strike
was only for machines, political wind, complains and grievances, unfulfilled
demands and not for the true heart of wanderers or travelers. However, I should
have mentioned it before, that I am talking about Strikes of North Bengal specifically if the article happens to be
inspirational for few travelers. 

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