The route I planned for my route within India, from Mumbai to Imphal would pass through places of historical and religious importance, national parks and sanctuaries, entertainment centers and caves, toy trains and ropeways etc. These are the places which would be of special interest to children. We would also be embracing through some of the most beautiful places in the world. Any one passing through these would develop a special relation with nature.
Generally the inbuilt dangers of adventure travel are hyped. They are projected as much more dangerous than they actually are. This discourages youngsters to take such trips.
One of my grandchildren Nishi was with us in the 9-day Iceland driving trip. Inspite of
all the known fears, Nishi joined us for Iceland. During problematic situations there, Nishi proved to be the calmest and bravest amongst the three of us. Any problem we had, whether it was on top of a lava or an ice mountain, mobiling on glacier, running around huge waterfalls, she smilingly enjoyed facing them, as if she was playing a new game. I realised during that trip that kids are in fact, more mature in handling problems! I was wondering if I could create some interest in such travels in the youngsters of our family.
I have four grandchildren. One is just 3 years old and the other three are in the 9-14 age range. I thought it would be great if the children joined the journey. It would be a life-time experience for them at such a young age.
I sent a message to my children, inviting any one grandchild to join us.
Yes, “any one” was for a good reason. The travel is scheduled at exam season. Naturally they hesitated. We got “no” as an answer from all of them. Never mind!
After a week or so, Nishi and her parents, Nilesh and Seema, probably re-thought about the opportunity. They asked if it was too late to for Nishi to join us, subject to her permissions from her school.
Nishi lives in Chelmsford, Essex, UK. Her school authorities were extremely excited about the experience she would get in this trip! They were thrilled in an instant and granted her special permission. The Head of Academics wrote, “What a fantastic experience (it would be)! Nishi’s teachers are aware that she will be absent and nearer the time I will liaise with them in order to ensure work is provided for Nishi whilst she is away…..We very much look forward to hearing all about Nishi’s travels when she returns!”. Fantastic! What a positive approach and support from the school! Nishi confirmed to take the journey with us.
Once I had the confirmation from Nishi, I added a few places en-route which would be of special interest to her. But I did not extend beyond 21 days. I deleted some of the places of lesser importance. I revised my itinerary. Probably, by now it has had 10+ revisions. I back-calculated and provisionally fixed 26th March 2017 as the day for departure from Mumbai.
Thereafter my other grand daughter Ruhi, settled in Pune, also expressed her interest to
join us. We reconsidered, if we could accommodate her too. But, then we had to be practical. It was a long journey. We weren’t comfortable with the idea of more than three persons + luggage to survive for that duration, in one car! Pushpa and I are in our 60s and 70s. Managing ourselves and our health itself is a good enough challenge! We could manage one child. Managing two children and their health could potentially become difficult on a long journey. Against our own wishes, we had to restrict to one child only.
A week after, I sought the blessings of our Guruji, Jagathguru Sri Sridharacharyaji of Ayodhya. I explained our plans. He called back to say that I should change the date of departure. I could not have shortened the number of days as it was already hectic. Nor did I want to miss any of the selected places. Undoubtedly, leaving a day or two earlier would provide a slight relief to the itinerary. Guruji therefore, fixed the flag off time as 10 am on Friday, 24th March 2017 as auspicious!
So it is now 23 days of travel from West to East of India, before we cross Indian borders.
That is not all,,,,,, abhi picture baaki hai!