Chandni Mehta has never been afraid to explore the world of travel and music all by herself. As independent and outgoing she may seem, there’s something more than what meets the eye. On her trip to the Magnetic Fields festival in Rajasthan last year, Chandni made some unforgettable memories and made friends for life. Music until dawn, kite-flying parties at sunrise and a disco in the desert made Magnetic Fields unforgettable. A three day camping festival captivated and spellbound everyone involved, attracted an audience of adventurous, young and open minded urbanites; Chandni being one of them.
“It was completely random finding Muzenly. I actually goofed up while making my travel and accommodation arrangements for the festival.” Chandni laughs. “I thought the festival was in Jaipur. I later realized that it was a 5 hour drive from Jaipur. I had already booked my tickets by the time I realized. I started searching for ways to get to the festival. I came across a lot of cab companies who made travel arrangements to and from the city for the festival. It was expensive! It was 4200 rupees ($65 approximately) for one way only!”
Since Chandni was travelling alone to the festival, she decided not to splurge so much on travel itself. It wasn’t economical for a backpacker like her. She was just googling around other options and found Muzenly. She noticed that Magnetic Fields was also listed on it.
“I came across Muzenly and saw how it connected all the festival goers. I posted an ad and about 2-3 days later, I got a reply from Ashutosh. He was a local from Jaipur going to the festival on the same days. He asked me if I wanted to hitch a ride with him. We got in touch and I decided to share the ride with him and just share the fuel price. A few days later, I got a reply to the same ad, from Nakul. Turns out, he and his girlfriend were going to the festival on the same days from Jaipur itself. I spoke to Ashutosh about having room for two more people. The four of us finally got in touch and decided to hitch a ride together.”
That surely saved her all the trouble of travelling alone and it being expensive. “And you wouldn’t believe the amount of money I saved!”, she says.
Being a people’s person, it wasn’t difficult for Chandni to bond with new people. She instantly connected with Ashutosh and Nakul when they met.
“Ashutosh and I got along from the minute we met but Nakul and his girlfriend were really tired, which is why they slept in the car. We spoke a little but they fell asleep later. On the other hand, Ashutosh and I were chatting all throughout. I was learning about his family who was from Mathura and lots of other religious history. It was quite interesting!”
When asked about her festival experience, Chandni had an unforgettable time. “The experience was amazing! The festival was purely about music. I keep telling people to go there before it gets too commercialized.”
Chandni is still in touch with Ashutosh and the other friends she made at Magnetic Fields.
While she comes across as extroverted and someone who would make friends easily, she was of course concerned about sharing the journey with a stranger. However, sticking to her cultural roots, she clarifies, “I made sure I gave my Dad all information of where I was and contact information of the people I was travelling with”. But somehow, “it seemed safer to travel with someone on this platform than going by cab”, she says.
“Returning from Magnetic Fields would’ve been more of an issue since I had an early morning flight and I would’ve had to leave in the middle of the night. But then Ashutosh was returning with me, so I was again sorted.”
Her backpacking tours do not only include Magnetic Fields but also other music festivals across the country.
Chandni also mentions, “I live only to travel. I work only to save money for travel!” she laughs. Though she has not been to a lot of countries abroad, she has been travelling within India since she was a child.
“I don’t agree when people say that they can’t afford to travel. You can give up all the luxuries, make-do with basic stuff and you’re good to go! At the end, if you really want to do something, you can definitely find a way to do it!” she smiles.
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