When couple of guys asked me “How was Scotland trip?” I was a little confused whether to say it was great or it was good or it was okay. So as in my normal style, without giving anything away, without saying it was great or worse, I told them it was good in a nonchalant way. It was great at times, dull and tiring at times, but overall it was a good trip. We went in real desi way of sightseeing overseas ie, caught a bus (the cheapest, hardest and longest way) to Edinburgh first. London Victoria station was swarming with Chinese looking people and desis. Travel was much better than what I expected. The highways were too good (better than US), so we had a smooth sail into Scotland.

The first thing I saw in the dim light of the morning from the bus was mountains; it was the last thing I saw before dozing off in the return journey after three days. That pretty much tells the whole story; it is a place which lies between mountains. We had a guide cum taxi driver who explained that glen means valley, ben means big and nevis means heaven. We visited Glen Nevis (valley between Nevis river and highest peak in UK, Ben Nevis), three to four castles, Edinburgh Fringe (a festival of performance artists – I always thought British are heavy inclined towards stage acting and art), Fort William (castles and mountains and rivers, a bridge which was filmed in Harry Potter which lies in a beautiful valley called Glenfinnan, another valley which was filmed in Braveheart) and Inverness (more castles, rivers and mountains). There were beautiful moments like the glimpse of Glenfinnan which was worth going that far, it was a dream like place – as my wife says combination of mountains and water (and some blue sky) is really beautiful.

I think I had different expectations; that the place will be like those we see in Hindi film music with bluest water and greenest mountains. But I realize now that all that is glitter. Nothing is same as it appears. As they say, nothing is very beautiful, very complex, very frightening or very much perfect. Learn to live with the imperfections. Or may be I am not capable of simply become awed by something anymore.

I liked the feeling of history around the place, the scots with their skirt like Kilt, their castles (they would have gone around these mountains and fought with different invaders for ages) and their accent. People were really nice to us, even the one we fought with for cab fare. On the return journey, I was overhearing the bus drivers talking about their life. One was two years away from retirement and he was discussing the policies of bus company. He was talking about some route in which he used to drive; the best thing about that was he could come home to his wife everyday; they could get up in the morning together, go for a walk and plan things for the day. Here I am whining about the lack of challenges, lack of opportunities to work in exciting technologies and the myriad things which would feel ridiculous to these guys. They are talking about 10 to 14 hours of continuous drive in buses where you can’t sleep and move from your seat. I always wondered what will make you work in a coffee shop or in a ticket counter; not that I am above it or anything. Just thinking how it will feel, now that you have something better. What will your life be like? Anyways, overhearing total strangers conversation is interesting; they were talking about retirement plans, getting settled for the rest of the life, going fishing, guys working like machines in Whiskey Distillery and getting paid for every finished bottle so they work faster and lots and lots of tales from a different world, till I got tired and slept.


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