The year was 2011 and Delhi was just gearing up for the winters.
After weeks of procrastination, I had finally decided on a Sunday to replace the summer clothes in my closet with some season-appropriate winter wear. And that's when I got a call from a friend who was basically OD-ing on excitement.
"I'm going to Spain", she blurted.
Since I was happier talking to her instead of arranging my cupboard, I asked, "Why Spain?" and she said exactly what you're expecting.
"Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara!"
This was just the beginning of a train of such instances that would hit me pretty much every holiday season.
I refuse to believe that you did not encounter at least one human being who planned a trip to Spain after ZNMD's release. FYI, Indians contributed a 32% boost in Spain's tourism in 2011 alone.
The same happened with Prague after Rockstar, Corsica after Tamasha and Switzerland after every Yash Chopra movie, ever.
'But, what's the harm in that?' you might ask. Nothing, actually.
Except for the fact that I could never understand why did it take an entire film for you to figure out your next holiday destination?
I understand why my parents are obsessed with Switzerland.
Because Yash Chopra opened up a whole new world of beauty for a generation that lived without the wonders of the internet. Beyond their surroundings, everything that they saw was through films or Doordarshan. For them, Switzerland still remains the go-to holiday destination because that's all they saw.
For a generation like ours, that has simultaneously grown up with the world wide web and endless possibilities, it is only obscure to have fallen into such a trap.
However, even if I decide to keep my disappointment aside for a second, it is only frustrating to see pictures of these so called 'travelers' pop up in my newsfeed, with the caption stating, 'wanderlust.'
No, my friend, this is not wander-fuckin'-lust.
This is your need to live a life that Hrithik in ZNMD, Ranbir in Tamasha and Rockstar and SRK in DDLJ lived. It is not your desire to travel (which, BTW is the actual meaning of wanderlust) that has motivated you to visit these places but your lust to look 'cool' and come across as a free-willed 'traveler'.
This reminds me, 'Knock Knock!'
'Just plain, old delusion. The same one that's telling you that you're a traveler.'
You guessed it, how could I leave Goa out of this!
Apart from change, an unsuccessful Goa plan is the only constant. And to quite an extent, every Goa plan roots from our fondness towards Dil Chahta Hai.
I don't blame you. It's kinda cool to have a picture like this, after all.
But you know what? The Goa you see today is not the Goa I saw 10 years ago. It was untouched, clean and not everyone went there to pass out on the beach.
The Goa I saw a decade ago was not famous because of a particular night club on Baga beach. People were not visiting Goa because they wanted to buy beer that was cheaper than water. Goa was not the place that guaranteed a random hook-up. And Goa was definitely not a place where I would run into someone who I'd not want to meet even in my own city.
Goa is still not that place except that we've made it like that.
We also know of people who have an odd fascination for undertaking a trip to Ladakh on a Royal Enfield.
Like Goa, Ladakh met with the same fate after 3 Idiots.
While my problems with a more commercialized Goa are personal, the problems that came with the commercialization of Ladakh extend to serious environmental imbalances.
According to a report by Business Insider, "Nature conservationists warn, some rare floras couldn’t be traced since 2 years in Ladakh. If the situation persists, they might need to bring some strict rules in the land like Lakshadweep, where permits are required to visit."
The region also battles a scarcity of water and with increasing tourists, the problem has only risen.
My point here is that it's high time we learnt the difference between a tourist and a traveler.
Maybe this can explain it :
ZNMD dekh ke Spain gaye ho
Toh Tourist ho tum...
Spain jaake Tomatina nahin gaye
Toh Traveler ho tum...