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Are We There Yet?

I've always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with travel. I love the idea of going to new places, meeting new people, seeing new cultures and all that fun stuff. What I don't like about travelling is the actual getting-from-place-to-place part of it. The countless hours spent sitting in trains and buses and planes and cars, the mindless tedium of endless highway zipping by, that's the part of travelling I don't like.

I had this driven home to me last week when we were coming back from Chennai. We had spent a couple of days there and Mom had booked us on a train at half past five in the evening. The ride from Chennai to Bangalore takes around five hours by train. Let me repeat that: five long, boring hours of sitting on a train.

Normally, I'd be completely OK with this - I'd have my phone and my headphones with me. I'd plug my ears as soon as we were on board the train and ignore the existence of everyone else for most of the trip. This time, though, I hadn't charged my headphones in three days, and to my misfortune, my headphones don't come with a battery readout.

About a half hour into the train ride, my headphones began to make that beeping noise that signify that your headphones are about to die and that in a short while, you will be required to make actual conversation with your fellow passengers. I had nothing else I could do, after all - I hadn't remembered to pack a book or a charger for my phone.

I turned my headphones off and stared out the window for a couple of hours, and then actually had conversations with my Mom and with some of the other passengers, something I haven't done in ages. I also gained an appreciation of just how long a time period five hours is.

I guess on balance, it isn't so bad. I got to visit a new city, meet people and, above all, eat until I couldn't move. I even got out of doing all my chores for a few days. Travel's not so bad, then, just so long as I never have to endure the trauma of spending five hours without my headphones again.

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