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  • Dhiraj D Sharma

Travel with Your Parents!!

Roadway to Himavad Gopalaswamy Hills

As we grow up and start living our adult life and living the life we want, I see most of us leaving our parents to carry on with our adventure. Many times we all feel our parents aren't cool enough to party along or stay overnight laughing but do you remember how we all started our little adventure? On my previous trip, I accompanied my parents to celebrate my father's birthday by traveling to a place they had not seen before. I realized a lot as I share this little tale of adventure with you here:

My father's birthday was around the corner, so I did not feel like just celebrating it the normal way, the new trend of cake cutting and blasters at 12: AM. I had done this before, but I wanted to try something new this time. I proposed the idea of traveling together to places they have not seen and the journey I've not taken so far with my parents. They were thrilled as they waited for the day. I could see my mother pack just everything from snacks to eat, (she had made coconut burfi), and clothes to wear not just for her but also for my wife which we found later. She surprised me when I saw her with the pair of glasses that she wore on the hilltop for a photograph. She wanted this to be her best trip. I saw her not complain about the music player not being functional but playing music from her phone. We took turns in playing our own choice of music.

On top of Himavad Gopalaswamy Hills

My father kept an eye on my driving skills and pocket as he wanted the family to be safe and sound. They did not want luxury, did not find joy in the destination but joy in the journey, and sometimes made me realize it was the company that mattered the most. My mother wanted photos of our lovely family to show to her friends, and my father just nodded to one request of my mother. There was no dull moment in the trip. I took them to the place I had enjoyed the most, the small eatery to try a great Dosa for Breakfast at Mysore as we started early in the morning and reached Mysore by 7 AM. I saw my father and mother so happy and ready in time and taking turns to make sure everything was in order before we left home. I would be wrong if I don't tell you now about all the efforts that Raj, my wife, I would love to introduce her as my best friend took to make it with us for the day. She could not avail leave, and traveled solo after college to join us in the evening while we visited Nanjangudu. Nanjangudu was where my father had shown me one of his skills as a kid to swim like a pro and carried me on his back while I was reminiscing about that moment from my childhood.

My Father trying to sport some wildlife.

I now wanted to take them to a place in the core of Bandipur where I had volunteered once as a fire watcher, they just wanted to have an idea, a picture of the story that I'd been telling them about. That's where I was lucky to see the tiger for the first time. We reached there in no time and learned that the place was now restricted to visitors on the weekend. I tried reaching too few of the people that I knew to only learn that I had created a fantasy around and none could help take my parents inside for a quick visit. My parents waited patiently and said let's move on after a while with little disappointment to one more popular place in the core area of Bandipur and this place requires no introduction, now we reached HimavadGopal Swami Hills abode in the clouds most of the day and crowd on the weekend mostly else this is just a secluded place to be at and sight some of the most beautiful creatures on earth. The rule of the forest department here was not the same, many buses deployed on the weekend, unlike the other core areas where entry was restricted on weekends.

Well, that tells you a fair story on protecting our forest or a little story of politics played. I would tell my parents all of this and cry while they rejoiced at the moment. The moment we were on top of the hill, the cool breeze and the sun welcomed us; the place was overcrowded as it was supposed to be. A quick Darshana was possible because our family influenced the temple. The Garuda made from Silver was gifted to the temple by our forefathers long ago, now we rip the interest of contribution. I love to spend time here on the hillock, and so were my parents enjoying the views, where my father would be quick to spot any movement in the wild landscape. I was just amazed at his ability always of sighting a thing with just the naked eye since childhood, I was aw stuck here again this time so were the people around us I reconfirmed what he showed us through my camera, it was the Sambar deer herd which rested far away from people but not far from my father's vision. We waited for Raj to join us back to drive past the Bandipur forest, but before that, I took them to one more eatery where I would have hot Idly served in the evening, my parents loved it too and the moment of joy was driving inside the forest area to sight the beautiful gentle giants with the younger once.

I was now remembering how my father would sight a grey mass from the mountains and say it was an elephant and be so happy that sighting them in the wild had not changed in time. The best part was to sight the elephants as we drove past the forest and see the elephants with younger ones. Now we were on to the mountains by a tough choice of road passing through Masinagudi: Kalhattyghat considered one of the dangerous Ghats. I explained my adventures here of walking up the Ghats and cycling here when I was volunteering for a cycle expedition. They were quick to respond and asked me ‘why would you punish yourself here where the car itself is taking a toll on them and looked at me with serious faces. Finally, we made it to the queen of hills Ooty, which was flooded with tourists from the neighboring states; all the hotels had placed the placard with “ROOMS FULL” at the entrances. We decided to travel to a place that was far away from the crowd where Raj managed to ring up her contacts and finalize the deal before we went around searching for more hotel rooms. The next day was my father's birthday. I woke up to wish him and celebrate the adventure.

Our first stop was the Dolphin Nose Viewpoint. We reached here even before the guards. We had the place just for ourselves, the view was promising with nice little waterfalls that descended far across the distance and the tea estates surrounding them, and my father was quick to see wildlife again. It was the Indian Gaur this time, enjoying the early morning Breakfast. As we left the dolphin nose point, the tourist vehicles started arriving and the flock of Indian Gaur disappeared.

India Runs on Chai!!

On the way to one more place, my mother stopped to get a few pictures clicked and make memories that were so cheerful to start the day. I saw them and learned from them to be happy around everything, every little thing around the corner. My mother was happy and now wanted to share the joy with her friends everywhere possible. The next place we arrived was Lamb's Rock.

It had a short walk inside the park making us admire the viewpoints of Coonoor. It was a blissful morning. We set out to venture onto more places of fun and excitement heading back to Ooty and then to the Doddabetta peak. It was so good, just the right Ooty feels. It started drizzling here and people appeared as the mist cleared. I saw my father wondering about something as I looked at him; he was trying to locate the meeting spot of the Eastern Ghats with the Western Ghats. Doddabetta in Ooty is a place where the Eastern Ghats meet the Western Ghats. As we saw the place and left we saw only people floating on the hill, just people and cars all over the place and that's when we decided to head back to Bengaluru and not worry about seeing more places with so many people around. The parking space was running short to host as many swarmed the place and we left deciding to explore the less explored needle rock viewpoint.

A short hike to a beautiful view just beside the main road. The initial route was hard and now I remembered what my father would have done when I was young, carrying me on his shoulder as I complained about walking. Well, I could not carry my father now but he would just do it all by himself spotting elephant dung here and there. We looked closely at one of them and were disappointed to see the dung filled with plastic in it. Our journey continued back on the roads of Bandipur spotting the elephants with the younger ones, delighting us all. Away from the forest as we continued our journey, my father insisted on stopping at my favorite idly place - a small eatery beside the road. It brought me much joy because he too liked the place. My mother also wanted to stop again to eat Masala Puri as we were nearing Bengaluru. This trip would undoubtedly remain one of my favorites throughout my existence. The Journey made me realize that the passion of friendship is sweet and steady, but family is by nature that will last throughout with unconditional love and support to our crazy ideas.

The movie is made to portray that friends are fun but so should be family. Traveling with friends is a good idea but traveling with them is much to be relished. We run behind our celebrities to seek motivation and support but why not our parents for it? It all started with them; the little adventures and why not give them what they deserve….! Our love and attention as we grow up - the greatest gift they would ask for. In my opinion, the idea of friends being everything is a bit overrated. Haven’t we observed how our parents struggle to be friends with us? In fact, they want to be best friends as we grow up. They do everything beyond their capacity to do that. It may be learning to use FB or send the best quote on a family WhatsApp group, or learning to dance along to a reel on the trending audio, to help us smile and tell we would progress, to a new hope. As I write this to you all, I want to break the fantasy of friends being everything and family being a little more than anything. I don't have gray hair to all of these but don't let your friends take out the part of the family.


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