Life Experiences

Travel Phobia

Most people have different kinds of phobia: Height Phobia, motion sickness, claustrophobia, etc. The worst kind of phobia I have ever experienced is travel phobia. It is not restricted to just flights, I am scared of trains and bikes too.

I have learned how to ride a bicycle when I was kid. Somehow while growing up I have unlearned it. During my teen years I wanted to re-learn how to do it, and so I have practiced, learned a fair bit and gained confidence that I can do it. Usually I used to go to my after school tutorials by walk. But I wanted to take my bicycle one day. So I called up my dad, who was in office and told him I was going to my tutorials by my bicycle. It took some convincing on my part and somehow he agreed. By the time I went to my class, my father called up the tutorials’ in-charge and told him to check on me if I have reached safely.

Now I can totally understand my father’s concern, but the in-charge barges into the class and made a huge deal out of it. He addressed the class at large: ” Who is Saudhamini? Your father called up and asked us to check in on you if you have reached safely to the class on your bicycle!” Imagine my embarrassment! And I was the subject of jokes for quite sometime after that.

Coming back to my father’s concern and how it is understandable: That same day, while going back home, my bicycle was getting attracted to all kinds of vehicles and people who where coming into its vicinity rather than going in the direction I want it to go! And I almost hit a vendor on the footpath!! That’s when I realized, we are not meant to do certain things, they are better left alone. To this day I feel, if I see a bicycle again, it is too soon!

With trains I have a love- hate relationship. Love: because I use MMTS on daily basis and enjoy those rides, when it is not too crowded (not taking into consideration the present situation). And the long distance trains too, while I was kid, who would play card games through the evening and be out cold soon after dinner and only wake up in the morning to realize we have already reached our destination. During my teen years, however, I have developed a terrible phobia towards trains, after watching too many train accidents on news. I could no longer sleep through the nights in trains. Being the youngest, I would always end up with the upper berth. And the thoughts my mind would manifest through those nights!

I would feel suffocated sleeping in the upper berth of first class A/C two tier. To top it off, it would feel like the roof the train would come down and crush me any minute and dear god, what would happen if we fall of a bridge?!

I remember sitting through the whole night from Bangalore to Hyderabad. And that happened to be the most crowded train I have ever been in. The two-tier A/C compartment was converted into a three tier. The most unpleasant train journey of my life! Luckily, my family’s travel plans have reduced over the years and stopped using the trains altogether.

Planes: I remember being super excited for my first ride and it was shocking to realize that I don’t like planes as well, they makes me feel nauseous and claustrophobic. On our return flight from Dubai, my family and I were placed towards to the tail end of the plane. And we have noticed two of the window seats to our side were lowered and made as a temporary bed of sorts. By the time we were buckling in, there was one road accident patient who was put in induced coma was lying on the make shift bed. And there were two doctors who were attending him, had two huge bags full of god knows what! (Of course they were carrying medicines and other medical equipment, which my mind only accepted after we have landed).

But my restless mind was cooking up stories about how they could be boogie men and how we all will end of dead because they had things in their bag which they could use to kill us!! It was one hell of torturous four hour flight I had to ever endure! To top it of, there was one sixty something man drinking through the flight and half hour to touchdown he puked all over the aisle making the confined space all the more unbearable. I have never felt such relief on being on ground after that episode.

You might be thinking I now go to places on foot. Good thing is I love my car and love it even more when I drive it. The only reason why I am comfortable with cars is, its a four wheeler, its already grounded and will not get attracted to gravity every chance it gets, unlike a Bike!

By Saudhamini Mylaram

HR by profession. Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do apart from gardening, cooking and driving.

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