When I think of wanderlust, I think of Rapunzel. Not of the Disney version, that rosy cheeked blonde princess. I think of a girl, alone with a woman she trusts, but knows she shouldn’t. I think of the ache in the pit of her stomach when she looks at the birds flying by her beautiful prison.

I think of students, sitting in a class, bored out of their minds. We’re locked into a system we’re given no choice but to trust. We’re kept in check in our educational prisons. We’re constantly doubting our self- worth and the sad thing is, we can’t completely blame the system.

The ache in the pit of our stomachs returns. One more test and I swear my chest will cave in. As a child, during the grueling heat of a Delhi summer, my mother would whisk me away to my grandparent’s villa in Dalhousie. The villa always made me feel like I was in the forest scene of a movie that promised to be good. The thousands of old books that I could be fully immersed in, I’d pretend I was the heroine of a Jane Austen novel. The sound of rain on a tin roof, a harsh lullaby that was trying its best. The train berth became my cradle, gently lulling me to sleep.

Trekking on unknown hills, I’d feel a wild surge of joy, knowing that if I got lost, no cell service would usher me back to my concrete “real world”. My summers were full of the crisp cold, moss-covered boulders and the sound of the wind blowing through the trees. It sounds like gentle waves. No one had ever told me that. The first time I heard the wind through the trees I ached again, for the sea and the brine.

As a child who grew up in a concrete jungle, I remember longing for the sea. The smell of fish and salt and sweat made my heart thrum. I yearned the sting of salt water in my eyes, of the kind of laughter that occurs only near the sea.


I recall a camping trip to Wales, were the cave walls still illuminate my dreams. To my young mind they looked like the inside of a gorgeous seashell.

Wanderlust is painful, the kind of pain that makes you wish you were born in a different place and led a different life.

The sad truth of humanity is that we love to conquer. The beauty of wanderlust is that finally, I can feel nature’s need to conquer me.

~Diya Philippa Varkey, Somerville school, Noida

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