personal diary

The curse of a solo traveller

A lot of us have been on solo trips. They are refreshing because such trips are all about you, having left everything else behind. They are exciting due to the unknown element. You see, interact and absorb new experiences. But, I am now left pondering about a curse that afflicts the single traveller.  The curse, according to me, is that we don’t always get a good photographer to click our photo.

Few days back, I looked at the photographs taken during my visit of Belur, Halebidu, Shravanabelagola and Chikmagalur last December. There were only three personal photographs taken by another person that could be described as decent. I uploaded one recently on social media but before I did that, I edited out few tourists standing behind me at the doorway of the magnificent Halebidu temple. The person who took that photo, a Non Resident Indian, could have told, “Sirs, can you please move away from the frame. Thank you.”

Evidently, he did not. When it was my turn to return the favour, I ensured there was no need for the edit. While I am no ace photographer, I at least ensured no one was photo-bombing and that the angle was good.

It was during the same trip that I made it to the top of Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka (6300 feet). My third act after reaching there, the first was finding a place to sit and taking deep breaths after a steep climb, the second was taking in the sights from that height, was to find a willing person to take my photo. I picked a guy, presumably a student. He took the photo and heard me utter ‘thank you’, and then off he went with his friends without turning back.

The photo was not particularly good. The backdrop of the plains below me, as stunning it was, was not captured well. The dissection of this photo was done after several weeks, by when a small regret seeped in. Maybe, I should have guided him better at that moment. Or, he could have asked me, “Have a look. Is it alright? Do you want me to retake the shot?” Admittedly, I have nearly always turned down that offer until now. The rationale for doing so is this; he/she has already been put to trouble and hence, should be spared of the extra effort. The other alternative is selfies. They are okay, but don’t quite capture the background as rich as they are and your face seems more prominent, that at times you tend to reflect more on the lines and spots.

I remember a close friend saying, “Why can’t you stop clicking and just admire?” The fact is I cannot. I need to capture and look back at them as cherished memories after I have got few more silver hairs. It is with hope, thus, I want the next Good Samaritan to be different.

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