A train journey through the desert…

An unlikely journey through a desert of Arabia…by train…alone…got many of my loved ones really rattled! For me…it was an adventurous journey in a land where I find the need for personal definition at it’s peak…I struggle to find myself in a land, where contrary to perception and all expectations…and in spite of my apprehensions, I have never encountered any disrespect or lack  of courtesy…

Whilst realizing that this bias I carry, is one that is ingrained into my physche through various mediums…mediums through which there is no denying, the truth often gets royally mangled out of shape! I am also well aware, that my good experience is not always the norm…it has been my good fortune…or is that only my bias showing up again? I am a frequent visitor to this part of the world…I have no untoward “stories” to tell…hence, it was almost as if I was pushing the ante by this solo train journey…

Once again…I am blown away at the amazingly positive experience it turned out to be…in so many ways ! The train journey itself started with little to be desired in the speed…thoroughness…courtesy…ease…of the check-in procedure. The comfort and hospitality zone…service…attention to time schedules…were all exemplary! The impact of the terrain we travelled through…the desert…was dazzlingly powerful and starkly beautiful as it was severe in the raw intensity of it’s unending expanse…the fiery sunset lent multiple hues and speckled the sand dunes in a breathtaking picture….the total lack of life for a great part of the journey…interspersed with areas dotted with strange colored camels caught your breath…the Good Lord in keeping with the severe beauty of the landscape had these in…black and white too ! Incredible…quite awe-inspiring…

In parts of the journey, we often came close to the oil rich…ultra modern…signs of technology…in a state-of-the-art train…with other single Arab women also traveling alone like me ! A stark reminder of the dichotomy and reality that is the Arab world today…

 That is the dichotomy I struggle with, I realize! This concept of shadow worlds, so to speak, that run parallel…to the world I know…the world I take to be the real world…very egoistically…bringing personal convictions and ethics to the table of another’s culture and choices. The realization, that my personal sense of acknowledgement and confirmation has to take a back seat…irrespective of an almost strong sense of violation…comes home to me as powerfully as the impact of the terrain I travel through! A journey of learning…another learning curve…

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