Travel – The Best Education !
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
I love travelling!
Probably, travel is one of the best things which I have inherited from my father, apart from the wealth of values and sense of pride which is priceless. I am ever-ready to travel, I used to be ready to travel at a short notice of just 30 minutes, to any place in India. Now, I am married and have two small kids, I need to organise things for the family before I set my `travel-itching foot’ on any voyage, so my wife doesn’t have to run around paying bills and shopping grocery, while managing two kids, etc. Before our daughter Sukhmani started going to school, we always travelled as family together. I am trying to device some way out to go against the conventional education method and start travelling once again as family, on-board our Kingcobra, again as a family.
My father has been my best teacher and trainer, before I set out on `solo flight’ in life. In fact, he taught me more than what the Indian army could about how to live with self-esteem and honour. He grilled plenty of civic sense first and ensured I am made a good human being. He has been my trainer for developing my personality through various ways. I am amazed how he learnt all that, as he has been only a school teacher of a government primary school, where there is no scope of any exposure to an atmosphere which could instill this kind of character or personality in a teacher.
Its my father who initiated me into travel and active outdoor life. His perception about life has been far beyond average Indian parents. Its with this outlook that he trained me to be prepared to take on life on my own without any kind of external support, where as on the contrary most of Indian kids always depend on their parents for every small thing. Unlike Indian parents, he had set a deadline for me to become self-reliant to earn my living. I still hear echo of those words often – Suresh, do not think this will go on forever, as fun while living on father’s money. He further said very firmly that he will not support me beyond 20 years of my age and he made it very clear to me in just few words. Often, Indian parents keep supporting their children all their life, keep interfering in their personal life often. They keep their kids under their own `protection umbrella’ all the time, so much that they never grow out of this `parental cocoon’. Now, I realized that how lucky I am to have father who groomed me well to be self-reliant. He made me bold to make my own decisions. My father supported me for whatever best education, diet, basic amenities he could afford. But he never asked me about which subjects I have opted for in college and he let me have freedom to set my own course in life. When I had just stepped into my college (S.D. College, Ambala Cantt.) for graduation in arts stream, at the same time I was also contemplating for professional colleges which could guarantee me a job after I complete my education. In those days, there weren’t much wider options for jobs and professional courses as are nowadays. My father told me that he is not going to impose any of his choice of profession or any professional education on me, I was free to make my own decisions. All this training took place so smoothly and quietly that I never realised, it made a me a man.
Since, crime was less in those days, life was much safer for a 15 years old boy, I travelled alone for long distances in overnight trains. Soon after I passed my tenth class, I travelled alone to other cities to seek admission in professional courses; travelled by overnight trains alone, explored life and liked it, made my own arrangements for travel and stay. It was unheard of an Indian family, extending freedom to explore life to a raw lad of just 15. This phase changed my life and was a silent turning point in my life and attitude, changed perception to a great extent towards every aspect of life. Basics of cooking were taught to me at home, respect for elders drilled, respect for the system and the society was a must, teachers were the most respected, etc. Also, my father always encouraged me to buy good books other than text books, which was not a common practice around me. After exams, I was given money to fund my small projects i.e. I made my own guitar, a small television which was fitted with a slide projector (projector was made by me with local lenses), etc.
I remember, eversince I started walking, my father used to take me along for morning walks, exploring old buildings, temples, grave-yards, mosques, culture, jungle, etc. We used to walk long distances, go on bicycle trips, made me self-reliant, inculcated self-confidence in me, as a routine. He also motivated me a lot about the value of good health; its my father who could convince me so well against smoking that it had everlasting impact on my mind. In fact, my father encouraged me for anything good in life, never discouraged even if it had cost him extra money.
All these had prepared me to become a good traveller and fired quest for wanderlust, adventure and to enjoy the wonders of nature from close. I was enticed by the Indian army with the opportunities it offers to travel and pursue adventure, partly the influence of army cantonment in my town. My father never forced me to join the Indian army, but he had won my impressionable young mind with the library books about `war heroes’ of India. All things put together, these developed a very strong desire in me to join the Indian Army, not for a job but it was to be a soldier and had no second option in my mind.
I strongly believe that travel shapes one’s character and personality, inculcates a great amount of self-confidence, one starts respecting all cultures and religions, becomes more civic, makes you humble, realise the value of every small thing, one starts to respect even the smallest denomination of currency, fuss about anything is defused, respect for life and all the living things – making you a good human being above all.
I have been lucky to have got married to my `lady love’ Dr Rajbir Kaur, who is a Sikh by religion, but we both respect humanity and life more than religion. I never imposed anything on my wife, she took to traveling like `fish to water’ and that was a great asset to both of us towards a happy married life and towards our family. I have met some men who love traveling but their wives hate it; I think they have no idea how much of great fun of real life they deny to themselves and this makes life very drab and dull for both.
Its very easy to enjoy life – just be a good human being. And travel does that !
Blessed are those who love travelling !!!