The most recurring question asked in many urban households.
What are your motivations for travel? from the top of my head, its either to take a break from the existing monotony of life or it is to find some joy, some resonance with yourself. For me it is the latter. Before I start on some preaching sermon, which I promise, I shall refrain from, let me take you back to my stint with life, it’s challenges, honesty and beauty.
Not so long back, I was privy to our annual office retreat to Sattal, somewhere near Nainital. Its name itself immediately scorned me with apprehensions, as I was expecting a fun’ worthy retreat. Company retreat would mean, casual wear as opposed to formal wear and one is expected to be comfortable in their own skin. The idea of exposing my fit body with the fitness averse team, was a little daunting to me at first.
The seniors who were in an essential need to take a break from their families or work pressures, the idea of lounging in their rooms and to comment on who got drunk last night and made a spectacle of themselves, was invitation worthy.
I must mention something to gloat about myself, I used to be half marathon runner (you may understand my worry now), who was forced to participate willingly’ in the corporate grind, where in the comforting nature of my office chair I would think of putting on my tracks and go for a sprint.
The only act’ of fitness I had maintained was, the habit of power walking; something I picked up to channel my strong emotions from a business meeting, on to my walking shoes demonstrating equal fervor, I would have liked to snap at my boss.
At 7:00 am with a screeching halt of our bus, I woke up to mighty hills fortifying the a beautiful crystal clean lake called Subhash Dhara with clouds as its only friends. This sight was a refreshing change from the things I usually wake up to in Delhi, which is mostly the cacophony of the vegetable vendors and the annoying neighbor’s and their parking lot tussles. This beautiful marvel of white clouds, with a glimpse of cascading waters, was a sight, I seldom had never been to. Then I knew, it’s the morning coffee and my walking shoes and I would be off to explore the trails of Sattal, small scenic town of seven lakes.
Despite the biting cold or the unfamiliarity of the place, its untouched wonder of the surroundings was more than welcoming. I was charged with energy during the walk and then it began, a sudden urge to increase my pace, and try something i hadn’t in so many years. There it was, I was running towards an unsaid path, with wet grass on the sides of the road, sans any fear of slipping or hurting my back, I was galloping, the only thing missing in my head was the background score of Chariots of Fire.
It couldn’t have been more perfectly timed, The three day retreat turned out to be the best break I had in the longest time. The afternoon, was packed with some leg cricket, something I used to ace as I was the youngest champ in my neighbourhood. The thought of this voluntary initiative of organizing activities, made my seniors at ease. At night what followed was the game of musical chairs, around the bonfire, the idea of quietly lounging within the confines of the rooms was out the window.
In the morning, I found out my team has some closet runners as well, on the advice of the resort staff; we were recommended a beautiful trail of wild flowers for the morning run, followed by sumptuous breakfast and the visit to the Butterfly Museum. For many the room full of bugs could be tricky, for the most of us, the aura of the nature left us astounded.
So coming back to the motivations of travel, my love for running was reignited, as the blowing wind in my hair was a sweet reminder of the little joys of life, I had forgotten amidst the life’s grind and the milestones I had set for myself.
As they say, you never know what might be in store for you during your travels. For some it could be adventure, love or friendship and for me, I revisited myself.