“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
This quotation by Greg Anderson is just one amongst the many floating around that glorify journey over the destination. Symbolically speaking, these quotations probably constitute great wisdom but, literally, I take them with a pinch of salt. While I am fond of travelling, it is the lure of greener pastures that makes me get up and go. The journey, except if travelling by train, is a grueling experience, by the end of which my hair is disheveled, my legs are stiff, and my tummy feels weird. I am not, by any measure, a glamorous traveler. If travelling with friends and family, there are many ways to entertain. But if travelling alone, there’s also a teeny chance that the journey can be boring especially if you are travelling by road at night.
I have four issues that spoil the fun for me: I can’t sit still for too long, I can’t read in a moving vehicle, I can’t sleep while travelling, and I have motion sickness. But for people like me, there is one way to beat the pain of the journey. And that is music. I am so thankful to the thoughtful person who first divined the idea of pocket transistors. Even though, you can hardly see any transistors around today, their descendents, the mp3 players and the iPod, are essential travel accessories for many. And I am eternally grateful to Bollywood for giving us songs that not only inspire you to travel but also give your journey a rhythm. Remember the tick-tock tick-tock of the horses’ hooves (even when the hero is driving a car), paired with the romantic nonk-jhonk of the smug heroine and a mischievous hero? Well, who doesn’t!
But my favorite childhood travel song was one from the movie Son of India, released years before I was born. It used to play on every 15th August and 26th January and featured a rather handsome little Sajid Khan (not to be confused with the Sajid Khan we see on the TV today) and his cute dog, off to participate in the Republic Day parade, I think.
We’ll talk about more songs but before I get carried away, let me annouce the much-awaited awards.
Manu Prakash Tyagi is the featured author for the month of August 2012. Manu has been one of the most regular authors ever since he joined Ghumakkar in February 2012 and since then has already written 39 stories. He is famous not only for his exciting stories, but also for his honest yet pleasant presence in the community. We will find out more about him on the 15th of August. Stay tuned. In the meanwhile, click here to visit his profile.
Ritesh Gupta’s एक सुहाना सफ़र मनाली का is the Featured Story for the month of July 2012. This six-part story skillfully takes you from Agra to Manali. The story is fluid and well-spun and is supported by good, practical photographs that give a good idea about the routes as well as about the people on the trip. Click here to read the story if you haven’t read it already!
Congratulations both! You will both soon receive a small token of appreciation from us. Hope to read many more great stories from you.
Coming back to the music. Those were the days when patriotism rode high with the pride of a successful freedom struggle still fresh and a series of wars with the neighbouring countries. Aao bachchon tumhein dikhayein jhanki Hindustan ki was another travel song with generous sprinkling of patriotism or should I say the other way round. The song has impeccable rhyme and rhythm and the pace ensures that you cannot stop yourself from tapping your feet.
And then is this song that is very close to my heart because of the beautiful pictures it paints with its powerful imagery. Soulful playback singing with just-enough background music virtually transports you to a completely different world – one where “colourful birds bring a message of hope”. This legendary song was Aa chal ke tujhe main le ke chaloo. I wanted to embed it here but wasn’t able to locate its official video. But do listen to it if you want to feel the magic.
Suhana safar aur yeh mausam haseen is another splendid number that is capable of filling any traveller’s heart with the longing for the hills. A sauve Dilip Kumar, intrigued and overwhelmed by the playful natural beauty of the mountains is a sight so endearing that no travel post that claims to talk about Bollywood’s contribution to travel is complete without a mention of this song. There were several other gems around this time such as Hum hain rahi pyaar ke featuring a vagabond Dev Anand, driving his dilapidated truck, making light of his miseries.
Travel so far was mostly with a purpose, related to work, in search for employment, religious, or more popularly, symbolic. So we see a host of songs that compare life with travel, such as Zindagi ka safar hai yeh kaisa safar, zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hain jo makam, Zindagi ek safar hai suhana and so on.
Travel for the sake of travel wasn’t introduced into Bollywood till comparatively recently. The first instance that I remember was when a desperate Simran, driven by her destiny, bargains with her father to let her travel across Europe before they left for India. The result was the record-breaking and all-time favorite movie of a majority of Indians, Dilwale Dulhaniya le jayenge (DDLJ).
During this time, a tribute to travel came from the Singer Shaan. The song, though not a part of a movie, is still as popular and talks of travel through its lyrics, music, and cinematography.
Some years later, Dil Chahta hai sealed the fate of Travel in Bollywood. Travel had now transformed into a therapeutic, rejuvenating, guilt-free activity, instrumental in carrying the plot especially in the coming-of-age films.
The recent movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara glorifies travel as a means of overcoming your fears, getting to know yourself better, and irking your girlfriend to no end.
However, my all-time favorite travel song is one from the movie Rock On! that brings forth the exploratory spirit of travel, the courage to set out without a shore in sight, and the determination to carry on despite your misfortunes. Sindbad the Sailor is perhaps the best song to leave you with.
All of us, I’m sure, have our own set of favorite travel songs. What are yours? Do you believe that music is a good companion for travel? Do share your thoughts. In the meanwhile, I hope you have enjoyed this editorial as much as I have enjoyed writing it.