I chanced upon this and found it really inspiring. I’m just always awed by it when people successfully execute such elaborate plans and manage to do what is otherwise termed as “impossible”. It also got me thinking how many of us Indians have seen all of India. I haven’t and I know I want to. Infact, it is a by-product of my mom’s clever reply to my incessant “When will we go to XYZ country?”, as a kid. Pat came the reply: “Jab saara India dekh lenge.”
And how much ground have I covered on that? Well, quite a little bit for sure. I decided to mark out how many states I have seen in India. Of those that I have seen, which cities have I seen and at least 3 things (personal or abstract) I remember most about them. The touch-and-go while travelling in a train does not count, because that way I believe I’d have seen a little more, but it does not give me a feel of the place and so they need to be actually visited.
Here it is, countrymen:
Note: The format is State (Capital). The ones I have visited are in bold.
1. Jammu & Kashmir (Srinagar): Jammu. The storms (the two times I have been there, I have seen scary storms), the smell of spices and lovely shawls. My only experience of having missed a train, ever.
2. Punjab (Chandigarh): Amritsar, Patiala, Jalandhar, Ludhiana. The sarson ka saag apart, Punjab means summer vacations spent running around with cousins, big fat loud Punjabi weddings and boisterous auntyjis. Also, my birthplace.
3. Haryana (Chandigarh): Karnal, Ambala, Gurgaon. Stop-overs at Karnal Lake on the way to Punjab, my first job and the painful commute back then (Gurgaon may be NCR, but what the heck!) and buffaloes on roads everywhere!
4. Rajasthan (Jaipur): Jaipur, Udaipur, Mt. Abu. Color, hospitality, the most genuine smiles and royalty. Not to forget, daal baati.
5. Himachal Pradesh (Shimla): Shimla, Kasauli, Dalhousie, Dharamsala. The winding roads, the hills, the sloping roof wooden houses – it was my first experience of a hill station and I loved the slow pace – I soooo wanted to move there. Oh, the other thing I fell in love with was the beautiful language Dogri.
6. Uttaranchal (Dehradun): Dehradun, Nainital. The lovely lakes, a rather eventful car journey and the English charm around Nainital. Next on my list is Jim Corbett – I’m damned if I don’t go in the next year.
7. Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow): Lucknow, Kanpur, Haridwar, Mathura, Agra. Kebabs, the “aap”s and “miyaan”s, eve-teasing, jalebis for breakfast and Holi are things that are so UP-like. I find people from UP especially witty, with an innovative way to string sentences.
8. Bihar (Patna)
9. Jharkhand (Ranchi)
10. West Bengal (Kolkata): Kolkata. A crazy sports meet, lots of good fattening food, sarees, Pujo and my wedding J I love the sound of Bangla, and the time-warped beauty of Calcutta.
11. Orissa (Bhubaneswar)
12. Sikkim (Gangtok)
13. Arunachal Pradesh (Itanagar)
14. Assam (Dispur)
15. Tripura (Agartala)
16. Nagaland (Kohima)
17. Mizoram (Aizawl)
18. Manipur (Imphal)
19. Meghalaya (Shillong)
*That trip to the North East has been on the cards so long I’m almost losing hope.
20. Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal)
21. Chattisgarh (Raipur)
22. Gujarat (Gandhinagar)
23. Maharashtra (Mumbai): Mumbai, Pune. The pace, the nonchalance and the worker bee attitude. Mumbai’s not changed since I first visited it, and I hope it stays the same.
24. Goa (Panjim): The sun, the sand, the sea food, the beer, the friends and the sea. The perfect getaway.
25. Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad): Hyderabad. Biryani, Char Minar and a crazy wedding.
26. Tamil Nadu (Chennai)
27. Karnataka (Bengaluru): Bangalore, Mysore, Ooty, Dandeli. The two best years of my life. Love. Dreams. Friends. Alma Mater. Vacations. Plans. Fights. Nightouts. Second home.
28. Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram)
29. Delhi – Home. Street side food. Childhood. Teenage. School. Winter mornings. Rickshaws. College bunks. History. Where my heart is.
That’s 13 on 29. Not too bad, but not even halfway there. Working on it.
Now that I am at the end of the list, I can remember so many other things like the yummy fish fry in Calcutta. But I think I’ll leave this like it is.
For those who feel we often write about what our country is NOT, would you like this tag to write about how incredible India IS? If yes, go ahead and leave me a link in the comments.