Despite India being a land of varied cultures and communities, the top three, which make up for the most travelers, are Maharashtrians, Bengalis and the ever-colourful Gujaratis.
India has no dearth of tourist places, and that is why when Bengalis, Gujaratis and Maharashtrians get enough of their respective states, they head to the state of monuments or to the scenes of snow, and yes the extra layers of clothing, which is as normal as a housefly buzzing in our ears, are as hilarious to these travelers that they spend half of their dressing up time in cracking jokes on the boots and the thermals.
There are twenty five “Kolhapuri Sandal” wearers with “Gandhi Caps” on their heads. It is easy to imagine them sitting under the shade of a lone tree at a roadside. Call them a pack of amiable gentlemen and ladies, who mostly prefer to travel in groups, lest the North Indians play any duping game for their next sightseeing location.
This is the Maharashtrian way of ‘travel.’ The travelers from this zone of India, neither ‘too west’ nor ‘deep south, just somewhere in between, they carry with them the culture of Maharashtra, with a north-like twist. A traditional saree with a hat on top, safari suit with Ray Ban aviators, of course the same purchased at SN, Janpath-like sprees, where they’ve indeed been duped off a couple of extra bucks.
The Maharashtrian culture of travel adheres to the strict ‘only peanut oil preparation,’ but they crave for the mustard oil chole bhature. Call it the magic of traveling or the sheer inability to carry their own kitchen stock, the hapless individuals savor even those cuisines and preparations, which otherwise appear Frankensteinish to them.
Bengalis, you can spot the women with their uber red and ultra big vermillion mark on their foreheads while the sugar-factory loving Gujjus could be heard miles away when they laugh or even call out someone.
Try telling Gujaratis how wonderful the Taj is, the history behind it, the glory of the monument, the reason it is being considered one of the wonders of the world, they would nod, listen and tell you in turn about how amazing their very own Gujarat is.
However, tell a Bong about the same, they would be interested in knowing more, would probably even counter question to flaunt their knowledge about the place, born intellects that they are!
Marathi, Bengali or Gujarati, travellers are defined not by which state they belong to or which language they speak, they are defined as individuals who have the heart to head on a journey, to explore the unexplored, and to continue carrying the curiosity about the world, even if their own world is somewhere locked up in the pursuit.
Guest Blog/Edited by Rajesh Baruah