When I was just 19, a freaky turn of events and some really good luck brought a free ticket to and back from Europe, my way. The conditions included baby sitting a very easy-to-manage, adorable, supremely-intelligent 6 year old back from Greece, but as long as I was going to Europe, I didnt really mind.
That the French consulate screwed me over and gave me a 15 day visa (that I forgot to check before I entered the EU and proceeded to stay on for 6 weeks), causing me to cut my visit short and rush back, hasnt changed the fact that Europe made a serious impression on me. An impression so long lasting, that it has since been on my must-go-back-again list ever since. That my passport bears a mark of having overstayed in Europe and being liable to pay a fine of 600+ Euros when I next enter, isnt the only reason I havent gone back.
Anyhoo, several times over in life, mostly set-off by watching movies set in Europe, these pangs of wanting to travel abroad — specifically to Europe — return with gusto. Often making me melancholic and contemplative, taking me off on a trail of memories of my last visit. I was 19. I was naive. I was alone. So while I did have a blast, what I mostly did was buy myself a metro pass, a map, and walk around seeing places, stopping by at roadside cafes to eat/drink, soaking up as much as my overloaded senses could take it all. I didnt really do everything I wanted to do. I didnt roam around past 10 pm. I didnt go out to fancy places. I didnt do anything adventurous. I basically didnt do anything that demanded a higher level of adventure and bravado. Because at 19, alone in a land where nobody speaks your language or willingly helps you (unless you’re lucky), I just didnt feel very brave enough. Let’s face it, there are some things in life that you need to have company to really enjoy. Europe is one of them.
Also, I only visited Paris (the only place where I felt it was just wrong to go alone), Brussels (too pretty for just my eyes to take), Bruge (its like the Venice of the North), Antwerp, Amsterdam and Greece (I just didnt get enough of it). There is still so much left to see. Featuring high on my current wishlist are Turkey, Italy and Spain. Also, I want to go back to eat the gelato, the desserts, the spanish omlettes, the croissants, the waffles, the roast duck, the cheese, the wine. So yes, a second trip is in order.
And last week when I watched that godawful movie: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, I couldnt help but think that the only good thing that came out of the movie was my craving to travel in Europe. And this has happened many times before. Remember Eat, Pray, Love; Julie and Julia; The Bourne Identity; and Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona (which incidentally, I watched to quickly appease my sudden and overwhelming need for Spain, and to correct my ZNMD experience) ?
So the dream to go back lingers on. This song has a dreamy, take-me-away-(to-Spain-please) feeling about it. While Hrithik Roshan managed to fully annoy the crap out of me, and Katrina Kaif made me want to gag her with a pair of socks just so I wouldnt have to hear her speak in Hindi, and while I listened in complete awe as Farhan Akhtar recited Javed Akhtar’s poetry, and while I wondered why people waste so much time and money making such flat, uninteresting, predictable movies, this song stuck in my head. The movie absolutely did no justice to the beauty that is Spain, but it sure as hell made me want to travel. To Europe.
When the sister was here recently, I began reminiscing about my trip to Paris. And about how, as an artist, she must visit the city. And soon. So very spontaneously, we made a pact. If by the time I’m 30 she and I havent had a chance/opportunity to visit Europe separately, we must make a trip together.
I dont know how seriously she took it, but Im dead serious. Iv realised that this is the time to live the dreams and make them happen. My travel wishlist is only growing and Im only getting older. Its about time I started knocking off a few places, one holiday at a time. Expensive, seemingly unnecessary or frivolous — I dont buy that logic. I have loved to travel for all my life, and I have just not had enough of it in the last 3-4 years of my life. Travel invigorates me. It adds to my personality. It makes me who I am.
So while I carve out a perfect European trip dream in my head, here’s another one from another must-see movie set in Spain. And if you haven’t seen this movie as yet, for the love of god, please do. If Spain is not your thing, at least watch it for all the hot people it has. In the mean time, let me interest you with some more bait to my Spanish dream this perfect Sunday morning.
Since this is just the kind of song one must listen to on a cloudy Sunday morning, still in PJs, while making eggs on toast for breakfast, Im going to do just that. And you can go on and send some positive luck and vibes my way. Because I really want to fly away sometime soon. And when I do. Spain it will be.