I have a confession to make.Traveling by road is an ordeal for me.Unsettling thoughts originate in my mind, as I gaze at the passing scenery.Especially on oft-traveled roads, where the countryside is familiar, my attention turns to myself.
I don’t really know what it is about inter-city commutes that troubles me so.I suppose, while we are traveling between cities, we are transient;Neither here nor there.Betwixt our refuges.I don’t think it’s just the long hours of solitude or silence;At home, a whole day without any talk or company bothers me not in the least.Is it just something about the way the sprawling fields and empty landscapes go by?Am i struck by the realization that this is the way it usually is, that civilisation is an aberration?Naah, that’s probably pushing it a bit too far.
Travelling alone for a few hours feels like a capsule in which time stands still, time in the outside world that is, while time flows by as usual in my capsule.That really happens, you know? While you’re in between towns you feel as if nothing is happening in either of the towns.I guess that shows the inadequacy of individual human experience in expressing the truth.We only experience what we experience – everything else is just second-hand;It doesn’t even come close to the real thing.
I try reading a book or a magazine, and it works, for a while.But my attention wanders after about 30 minutes or so, especially in a bus.And music? Ah, music integrates itself with my thoughts so beautifully it’s impossible to determine whether the thoughts are precipitated by the music or if your mood inflects on the way you perceive the sounds coming out the earphones.For me, while travelling, music really affects my mood.It pulls me down or pushes me up, but not neither.
I’ve been side-stepping the issue of exactly what unsettling thoughts I have but I think that would probably bore you.Some of them might make you quite a bit uncomfortable, not to mention my discomfort in disclosing them to you.Suffice it to say I have my insecurities, obsessive thoughts, nagging doubts and anxieties et al.
I really don’t like travelling by road.If i have to, I somehow feel better with the shades on the windows closed, imagining that I am actually static.Pretty fucked-up eh?
Though I love getting down at small town bus stations and browsing though the shoddy book stall while drinking a cup of espresso( the Indian Espresso that is), and maybe pick up an issue of Maxim or a Jughead comic.Each town is so different, you know?It doesn’t take 2 minutes to get a sense of the intangible identity of the place – The faces, the dresses, the mannerisms, the style of buildings, the level of activity- ranging from a sleepy backwater town to a center of hustle and bustle – Wait, why am i trying to describe it?I said it was intangible, right?
I’d like to return to the topic of music, since I like talking about music.Some of the albums that I associate with listening to while traveling are The Queen is Dead, Louder than Bombs, Modern Life is Rubbish, CCR’s Chronicle Vol.1, The Masterplan, In the Aeroplane over the Sea, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, If You’re Feeling Sinister, Murmur, Life’s Rich Pageant, Ride the Lightning, And Justice for All and some others which I can’t think of right now.Actually many others.Travelling alone does offer a golden opportunity for ticking off albums from your ‘To listen’ list, does it not?