It’s funny how your perspective changes once you become a parent. All your life you think like a student. But now, suddenly you find yourself seated in the teacher’s chair. My little one looks at me, sometimes baffled, sometimes puzzled, wondering what her father is up to. Why is he cringing with every bite of the pizza that he eats? Why does he jump around like a chimp every day for exactly three minutes and then flattens himself out on the sofa with his, oh sorry, my iphone?
Oh it scares me! I wonder what will happen once she starts speaking. For once she starts speaking, she will have questions. And most of them might be directed at me. And then what if I’m unable to answer her questions? How many planets are there in the Milky Way? Or why is it called the Milky Way in the first place? Oh my god, it is like the worst interview you have ever given times ten. I see her looking at me and waiting for the words to come out of her mouth.
So is all hope lost? Am I the worst father ever? I hope not.
“I am a product of conventional thinking and the mundane educational system that can blunt out the sharpest of minds. I cannot subject my daughter to the usual. In fact, none of our children deserve the usual. They are all special in their own special ways. I plan to hand over my daughter to the one teacher who has taught me so much about life. That teacher is none other than travel.”
I was thirty two when for the very first time I saw corn grow on a cob. It was during my trip to the village of Akluj in Maharashtra. My wife and I were visiting the Fratelli winery and on one of our morning expeditions we happened to come across the wondrous sight in the adjoining farms. Apart from learning about wines and wine making, we spent quality time paying attention to little wonders of nature. Something we so comfortably ignore in our daily lives. I also appreciated the power of conversations with like-minded strangers on this trip. I may not have met Alessio Secci, one of the co-owners of Fratelli, again. But I remember how our effortless, long chat made me appreciate the surrounding even more.
I tasted Japanese cuisine for the very first time on a beautiful remote island in Maldives, surrounded by the magnanimous blue ocean and the soothing sound track of the crashing waves. It was a spectacular sight, so captivating that we forgot to click pictures. But the memories remain in our heart and we revisit them often. That’s the thing about travel. It gives you memories that become tickets to travel back to those places anytime you want to.
Travel makes you learn. You gain knowledge about the world outside and within.
I learnt about a different variety of coconuts in the beautiful fruit markets of Mauritius. This coconut, which looked yellow and stale on the outside had the most delicious flavour one could ever imagine.The trip also opened my eyes to an eternal truth: that true luxury is not about being in a swanky resort or travelling business class. It all means nothing when you are not peaceful inside. Facing the beach on that peninsula at One&Only Le Saint Geran, I understood what luxury truly means.
I learnt a huge load about myself and our relationship on our trip to Hong Kong and Macau. I saw how well I overcame the language barrier, managed my time and itinerary, money and of course had a gala time. The trip also tested our relationship, which was fairly new back then. So many things could have wrong between us on that holiday but it turned out to be one of our best tips.
I learnt to meditate and heal myself on the beautiful hill slopes on Nainital. The beautiful pine trees and the mesmerizingly fragrant and chilly air felt therapeutic to say the least.
I wasn’t much of a traveller earlier. But have travelled enough to know that each trip you take makes you wiser.
If I can so much from my travels, I am sure my daughter is much more intelligent than me. So Prisha, all I can tell you is this; travel. Travel your heart out. Your feet might give up but your soul should never give in. Forget deadlines and timelines. Just remember that you are a student and travelling is your school. You might not learn too much about the Pythagoras theorem, but whatever you will learn will be with you for life. You will learn enough to live a life full of love and happiness. I wish the very best for you, my child. After all you are our little blue sky dreamer.