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Travel Diaries

Dear Diary,

I’m again reminded of Kabir’s doha – “Bura jo dekhan main chala, bura na miliya koye. Jo main dekha aahpno, mujhse bura na koye”

This is a quote which has stayed with me all through my life. Maybe more so, after I reached adulthood. There are phases when I reach a certain high-point in life, perhaps, that I’m reminded of this by life. The quote means ‘As I go around the world looking for bad in people, I find none. The moment I look at myself, there’s no one worst than me.’

Now, this translation of the quote may sound pretty depressing and self-derogatory, but the actual meaning is that when you try to understand any person, whom you consider ‘bad person’, you’ll find they are not really that bad. And, we often forget our own mis-doings. The moment you take a look at your own self, your actions, your thoughts, you realize there’s lot of cleaning you need to do within yourself. So, it’s pretty humbling a thought.

Coming to my life events, I recently went to USA for 2 weeks. Solo trip. No family. This trip should check-mark one of my ‘List of 30’ –  Of doing a solo trip to a foreign place without family. Completely alone.

I’m not sure if I can consider this trip as that. This was a office visit. Anyways, highlights of the trip

  1. I got a lot of opposite-gender-attention, which was quite uplifting! More ways than one. I can’t explain how much good that unexpected, stranger-attention can do to a woman’s self-esteem. Haha!
  2. I had lot of plans of doing solo trips to unknown places. Of maybe trying a cigarette or getting drunk – things which T doesn’t approve of. I did none of those. I realized that doing these things behind his back were no fun. They were part of my to-do only because I wanted to feel independence. When I actually got the freedom, none of these things held their charm. You know what I mean, right.
  3. I wanted to go to new places but it rained all 2 weeks, so I was restrained. They say that California has been in a condition of drought since past 6-7 yrs. As I look back, I visited CA last in 2009, so I guess the rains were pretty much waiting for me. Somehow, that’s a funny and a positive thought to me 🙂 I really like the notion that I’m important to Mother Nature.
  4. My time in office was stretched beyond limits. I was dependent on colleagues (who were traveling with me) for my ride to-from hotel to work. And because they were senior people, the only thing they had to do in their day was work + eat. So, their idea was to spend as much time as possible in office and go to hotel only once it’s evening, and you’re done with dinner. Now, when I’m done with the trip and I think about their perspective, I get the point, but frankly, I’m not a big fan of spending whole day at work. No matter where I am. So, I totally detested spending my whole day at work. I was hoping to catch my old friends during week-days and keep my weekends free for touristy stuff. All this schedule screwed up all my plans.
  5. Three days into the trip and I knew my trip is not going to be any way like what I had imagined. So, what did I do? I stopped sulking and decided to make lemonade! (If life throws lemons at you, make lemonade ;)) Hence, I learned my first lesson of the trip :  It’s okay if things are not working as per your plan. Start enjoying God’s plan. I started enjoying my work. There were lot of things for me to learn, to observe, to understand at this new place of work. How people worked in this different country. I always enjoyed “cultural tourism”. I feel like I visited a new place only when I get to experience the life, the culture, the way of living of the place. I decided to do just that in America.
  6. I met different people. 3 were my friends from different walks of life who’re now living in US. Then I met my colleagues from US. It was also the time when I got to spent some off-work time with my colleagues from India (with whom I was traveling). I tried to experience life from their eyes. I stayed overnight at two of my friends’ place. They had completely different experience of life in US. Both had shifted to US ~1.5 yrs ago. Totally unrelated to each other. One is a best friend from college. Another is Tarun’s best friend from college but a good family friend now. Will detail the pros and cons of living in US for today’s Indians in another post.
  7. I realized I no longer am interested in moving to US. If it happens, I would deal with it. But, I no longer dream of it or wish for it. There were lot of dreamy ideas and notions I had about US . They all got cleared in this trip of mine. It’s a wonderful place to live in, just because of the clean air it provides. But, there’s lot of bad underneath. Just under the surface. It’s so mechanized and robotic that I felt there’s nothing human left in there.
  8. This trip got me into a very happy place of being. I’m left grateful for the wonderful life I have (in India). For the job I love, for the choices I made in life that have brought me to this place. For the family I was actually excited to get back to. I can’t explain the feeling, that sense of belonging, that sense of being wanted. That feeling of wanting to be back home to my loved ones, that I felt in my last 2 hr flight journey. I was so excited I was just checking the flight status every 15 minutes. Every minute spent was a minute closer to my son, to my husband. To the two people who had tough time living without me. They were well-fed, they were well-tended, nothing was missing in their routine life. The only thing missing was me. And, they missed me terribly. And, so did I. 🙂 I’m so grateful to God for this feeling. Inexplicable. 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Life indeed, is beautiful!

-Hope

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