As a child in India, I would read anything I could lay my hands on. And everywhere I could find a few minutes of unoccupied time. I’ve read shampoo instructions, scraps of Hindi newspapers, old magazines, my father’s very adult stash behind the briefcase in the steel almirah, recipes painstakingly transcribed by my youngest mausi in her Home Science lab journal. But what I loved most were fictionalized accounts of history set in far away places because they combined the thrill of fantasy with the logic of possibility. There was a chance that I could visit mysterious Nazca lines or the tragic castle in Holyrood, the ridiculous oriental palace in Brighton and the dark caves in Lascaux.

And so I would pick up these books from the library or footpaths of Connaught place or Saturday market on GB road and compulsively devour them, dreaming in between of when I could walk the paths mentioned in the books. I have been lucky enough to follow through on several such journeys but it has always been a little difficult to explain to my companion why it wasn’t the top ten tourist must dos I had on my lists. Or that I absolutely needed a good guide who would give me the real lecture not the best spots from where to Instagram the moment. Where did the prisoners enter for their execution (the moat entrance of course), why are their dancing buddhas carved in the walls (the Buddhists converted the Hindu dancing girls into Buddhas), why the steps of the pyramid were stained darkly and where was the false passage where enemies were trapped.

After more than two decades of dragging along husband and kids to nerdy adventures, it was with a sense of freedom and exploration that I realized I love traveling alone. I could wander through the days, letting my 3 am mood dictate my schedule. I didn’t have to worry about details, knowing exactly what my priorities were (can compromise on food but not bathrooms) and when bedtime should be (so yes, 9.30 pm is late).

So yeah, I’m totally valentining myself again this yearβ€οΈπŸ’•πŸ’ž. For being a fabulous travel buddy. Here’s to many more adventures to come with you. You are my true valentine.

(Unless of course πŸ’žβœ¨πŸ’•πŸ’• He βœ¨πŸ’•πŸ’“πŸ’ž deigns to glance my way cos you know that would totally change the shpiel. For a bit. So call me. I’ll totally drift on the Dal Lake with πŸ’žβœ¨πŸ’žπŸ’•youπŸ’“πŸ’“).

My Valentine
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