Dipping toes in the Tungabadra
This is a collaborative piece
TLJ X Apoorva Katikaneni
Have you ever been on a coracle? Sitting in one makes you feel like you’re a satisfied little frog on a lotus leaf, swirling in water as you go along.
The searing heat of summer has seeped into our skins. At TLJ, we had welcomed it, for all the nostalgia of freedom that it brought along (see previous issue here) but soon, the cold of the cold drinks had started to condense and drip, and the popsicles started melting sticky onto our toes. We couldn't help but think of dipping them into a cool river.
As if right on time, one of the first submissions for this travel issue let us do just that— dip into a cool water-well of memory of the Tungabadra. They were pictures from Hampi.
It was 12 years ago. One of us at TLJ had taken a family-trip, with close to 20 people—the parents, a sibling, three pairs of aunts and uncles, four cousins, and the grandparents—to the temple town of Hampi. That the place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the last thing that comes to mind, looking back. It was just a simpler time, the best time. But most of it lay almost-forgotten, tucked away in between the webs of daily, unceasing things-to-remember and stuff-to-do.
One look at these pictures from Apoorva though, and it suddenly felt like the Tungabadra was right here, for us to lean over and touch. For one of us, it was the first time ever, and for the other it was the first time after that trip over a decade ago— since leaning over from the calm, swirling coracle that transported the motley family group to Hampi from a resort nearby.
Remnant memories were glowing back— from cupping a caterpillar in the dusty clutches of travel-weary palms all the way to the top of Anegondi, a hill that's believed to be the birthplace of Hanuman (can you imagine what a high-speed journey that would’ve been for the little one?) to barbecues and family pictures with pretty monuments in the background.
Recollecting a journey started to feel like a journey in itself. As one of us spoke of time spent lazing away by the Narmada, the thought of a river made the other, despite sitting in 44°C heat, almost feel the biting cold draft by the stony banks of Bagha river in deserted little Jispa, a village along the Manali-Leh highway. The Leh journey was no family trip, but one uncertain traveller had found a family of five somewhere in Delhi, and along the Manali-Leh highway this found-family kept growing, as scruffy Himalayan dogs added themselves into the pack. No one was left friendless.
Sure, not every travel story is a consumable, magazine-friendly one.
But if you’ve ever travelled, regardless of distances and destinations (even if within your own compound, as you'll see in this issue), you’d know that you’ve felt or created an ever-relevant story for you to reach into, within yourself, wherever you are, and whenever you need it.
Travel. Tell yourself stories.
And if you can, find a way to tell it to someone else too, no matter its lack of social-media-friendly evidence.
This traveller-storyteller issue of TLJ, our fifth, tries to do just that.
~A & V
Pictures from Apoorva's time in Hampi. July, 2014
Apoorva Katikaneni is a healthcare consultant.When she's away from home for weeks, on the field, it's her camera that's her constant companion. She gives her dad the credit of inspiring her to see the world in frames.