We as Canadians are extremely lucky to have the sixth best passport in the world. I say this because as a dual national, I went from having access into 29 countries to 172. Simply put, it lets dreamers like me live out our traveling fantasies.
Even as a Canadian, getting an Indian visa is next to impossible due to my place of birth. And the visa I did get with my Pakistani passport was region oriented which meant no Taj Mehal for Zahra. I don’t understand how something we have no control over, like the land we’re born in, depicts the places we go to.
Over simplified history time!
My grandparents migrated across the border after the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. Families separated, people died, and a deeper divide was created between Hindus and Muslims who once lived in harmony prior to British colonization. Now, almost 69 years later, the aftertaste of war has translated into bitter relations between the two countries.
Going to India was kind of like going to a home I’d never known. We touched on small towns in Gujrat that my family originated from and it felt unreal to think my roots reached such ancient and beautiful cultures. We got a chance to visit my great grandfather’s grave too, whom my mother told us unending tales about on the 4-hour trip there.
I’ve done my fair share of traveling but come to think of it, never as a road trip. I don’t want to be cheesy and repeat that “the journey is more important than the destination” but it’s true. After spending sometimes 12 hours straight in an SUV in 47 degrees across the hottest regions in the hottest months the Earth has to offer, I learned a thing or two about my family.
I have better memories of being couped up in the car than I do of spending each night in a different town. Stopping for chai in cups the size of shot glasses at random dhabas, fighting for the seat closest to the AC, and looking out of the window pretending to be in a Bollywood music video all made it that much more memorable.
We traveled the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujrat, and explored 24 cities in the span of 19 days. Each place differing in language, fashion, and food.
I really liked India but I’m glad to no longer fear falling in the toilet aka a hole in the ground.
I also made a video to get you familiarized with what actually went down in India, check it out!