Sunday, November 15, 2015

On "Misery and Beauty of Travel"

Due to various reasons, few times it has happened that I got stuck in unknown and undesired places during my travels. Though very frustrating, in retrospective, I value those times. As I had no option but to regurgitate my feelings, I sat back, examined my life and tried to judge it as a third person from far.

Once stuck in a tiny small town of upstate New York due to massive snow, I had the most peaceful dinner (steak cooked by an old man) under very dim light at a small eatery adjacent to motel. It was nothing but serenity in my heart - steak was tender, silence was priceless and moonlight after snow was magical. Next day, I had to walk to a small store in foot deep snow to buy food. Store was run by a mother and her small girls. Happiness on their faces to find a customer was telling me how important it is for people to pay bills on time. It was a very humbling experience.

 Driving through Alabama, my car broke down and I had to wait three days in a very small town. I had no choice but to sit in balcony all day and read a book - and watch people going on with their life. It dawned to me that we all are just characters on a TV screen. Script is indeed written somewhere else. I became less judgemental of people since then.

 When I had a two months gap between my residency and board exam, I took a road trip and drove I-90 across the continent from West to East Coast. On first night as I entered Idaho, I was very tired. I stopped by at a small gas station. I saw a sign of "psychic" . He gave me graphic details of my life for next 20 years. Many of them turned out to be very true and in same manner!

 Not very long ago, two old hostesses of not a very fancy 'Bed and Breakfast' in a small town in France fought with a taxi driver as I missed my train as he didn't arrive on time. They forced him to drive me to train station for free.

 I encountered good as well as bad people but in general I found humans helping and of good heart. Family has opened doors on me in pitch darkness of massive wilderness of Indiana. In Ottowa, a bartender has cooked fresh cut fries for me knowing I am hungry. In Kentucky, a Denny's waitress had let go of half my bill as I was short on money and credit card didn't work. It was in Turkey that I was served free breakfast only because I was from Pakistan! I have people buying subway ticket for me as I struggled with machine due to language barrier in Quebec. I had best samosas of my life in far land of Tanzania. Forget humans, I had bears on highway staring at me but let me pass without harm.

 I have no regrets of unkind hosts, fierce weather, getting mugged (once), missed flights, broken car, long lines, dirty motels, sleeping in rest areas etc. - as these all made me witness beauty of humanity from very near.


Aly said...


I have been reading your posts for the past five years. I have mentioned it before, but i will do so again. Many a posts have made me cry, many have struck a cord, and many others have made me reflect and think.

I have always wanted to be a story teller, if I ever can. But you are one of the best I have met.

I was born and brought up in Pakistan, but as fate would have it I am in the US for one year. I am in Boston if you ever happen to come around any time till October - November 2016. It would be my humble pleasure to host you.

Beyond said...

It all sounds very exotic. Wish I could travel as much as you have.

Mystic said...


Why don't you email me at zindagikidiary at yahoo
We can go from there. Nov. 2016 is far but you never know!

Beyond: Before coming to USA, I absolutely hated myself for not have opportunity to travel in Pakistan (still have a bucket list to travel to Northern Pakistan). Even going from Karachi to Hyderabad was a travel to me. Life take all kinds of turns. Now, I travel almost every month or sometime twice a month for one or other reason.

Rida Shahmeer said...

O my God, your words and expressions........ always takes me to faisryland :)

Rida Shahmeer said...
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Mystic said...


BarsoN baad nazar aayi ho....

Rida Shahmeer said...

Abb to bars bhi pal bher mai guzar jata hay..... mojood hone k liye nazar ana zaroori b nai..... :) i am your silent reader :)

Rida Shahmeer said...
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bsc said...

No doubt you are a story teller par excellence
I learn from you as well as get inspired

Mystic said...

Rida! you selection of poetry is very good. Please stay around and don't delete

Uncle: We all live in the ocean of stories. Every other human is a story.