We are in that time of the year when every conversation at parties and elsewhere, too, will eventually get down to the question: ‘Where are you going for this summer vacation?’ And don’t be a fool by replying that you have planned to visit your grandma in the village. Firstly, there are no more villages left. Secondly, your grandma passed away some 15 years ago.
Ha, ha, I was just joking. Anyway, if you are to be taken seriously by your friends and acquaintances then you have to certainly take a vacation trip to some fancy place. But these are not good times for the economy, by this I mean, our personal economy.
But if you are still intent on travelling, it’s better that you read this lexicon on travel. The whole idea is to help you fly —- the time, that is.
A — Arrival: This is the beginning of your troubles.
A— Airplane: The marvel of modern science that defies physics laws and flies in the face of the heavy pull of the gravity and the heavier force of airline sandwiches, lasagna and the matronly air-hostesses (in case of Air India).
B— Baggage: Things carried by you for airline companies to misplace or lose completely.
C— Columbus: Christopher Columbus, who set sail to India but eventually landed in America, represents the moral core of all travelling: Foolishness. It takes a special skill for imbecility to end up in a land that is on the exact opposite side (of the globe) to the intended destination. That Columbus pulled it off without the benefit of bungling airline staff or scheming travel agents is a true tribute to his sterling stupidity.
D— Dubai: With a never-ending stream of sprawling skyscrapers and expanses, Dubai verily presents an image of what a city will look like if people were stupid enough to found it in the middle of a dreary desert.
E— East Europe: East Europe is full of cities that have spellings thought by fully drunk persons. Take for instance, a country like Hungary. Szekesfehervar. Hodezovasarhel. Nyergesujfalu. These are names of some of the important towns in that country. Budapest was apparently chosen as the capital of Hungary solely on the basis that it was the only city whose name was possible for a human to pronounce. Then there was Czechoslovakia. Any country that had ‘Z’ following ‘C’ in its spelling always had difficulty in remaining as one entity.
F—- France: See Eiffel Tower. Eiffel Tower: The grand totem of tourism attractions. The biggest charm of this tower, which otherwise serves no practical purpose, is that it is visible from any part of France, including from the toilets in underground bunkers. For proof see any Indian movie shot in France.
G— G spot: The truly greatest and all-season tourist attraction in any galaxy or globe.
H— Hill Stations: As the name unequivocally reveals itself, hill stations are those places that have stations. Ooty, for example. It has a famed train service and station.
I— Ibn Battuta: The Moroccon visited India during Tuglaq regime. He became a famed voyager despite the fact that he never was able to follow the tourist dictum of travelling light. He was born with a huge baggage: His name: Which was: Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta. When you said his name travelled places, you were speaking the literal truth.
J— Jet lag: Something which you get afflicted with while waiting to claim your suitcase at the baggage carousel.
K— Kashmir: Bone of contention between India and Pakistan, and situated on the outskirts of Ooty in award-winning Mani Ratnam movies.
L— Lhasa: The capital of Tibet which is the spiritual capital of Buddhism which is the capital religion of China whose language has letters that are the same in both lower case and capitals.
M— Marco Polo: The Venetian traveller who explored Asia in the 13th century, but could not stand the heat of the area and ‘evaporated’ to the liquid state of a popular brand of lager.
N— New Delhi: Closed for security check.
O— Overseas: A travel that involves the use of passport, the highlight of which document usually is to mix your name and your dad’s and create a humongous confusion over surname and given name. It will eventually come to a point when you will realise that you really have no name that you can call yours.
P— Pilgrimage: The journey people undertake to places by paying large sums of money to visit Gods and Goddesses who symbolise that devotion is beyond large sums of money.
Q— Queen Elizabeth: The hallmark of British royalty is a succession of Queens and princess who, if they were slightly dark in complexion, will have a striking resemblance to actress Gandhimathi.
But Queen Elizabeth is the first name that comes to mind readily when you talk of royalty anywhere in the world. It is also the first face that comes to mind even more readily when you talk of help for de-addiction from sex.
R— Roman Ruins: The biggest example of what happens to an entire civilization when it follows a numbering system made solely of (letters of the) alphabets. When in Rome, do as Romans do: Which is to acquire a local passport.
S— Sea resorts: Places that are known for dubious quality ‘Bermudas shorts’, wearing which beer-bellied men magically feel that they have been transformed into a John-Abraham look-alike.
T— The Netherlands: See Dutch. See Holland. See a good doctor to cure yourself of triple vision.
U— Utopia: Generally defined as an imaginary place or a thing considered to be perfect or ideal. But it is not actually imaginary. It is all real: They were talking about the post of Vice-President.
V— Vacation: The tenure of every Vice-President.
W— Waterfalls: It’s a nature created bounty to help thousands of ordinary individuals like you and me to enjoy the scenery of a buxom heroine get wet under a white sari. (Cue: Think Namitha).
X— Xerox: Inventor of the photocopying machine, which has to work overtime for three full days to get all the documents required to acquire an Indian passport.
Y— Yo-Yo: Now you may wonder what is a yo-yo doing in a travel and tourist lexicon? Well, you may be at Niagara or on the foothills of the Himalayas or in the interiors of the Amazon forests with breathtaking beauty all around. But your children would develop an unquenchable urge to own a hideous balloon or soapy bubble-producing plastic contraption or a yo-yo. And there will be a seller for that nearby.
Z— ZZZ. The sound of blissful sleep that you are making now. And hell, you missed your flight.