one of the many 'Dream Vacation' posts

I’d be lying if I said here that I don’t want the wine, but that is far from being the sole objective of this post. As you will see, I dont have one ‘dream vacation’ that I can talk about. Just that I am very inspired by the responses we’ve been getting to this week’s topic and I thought I might as well join the club. Moreover, right at this point in time, there are a little too many things going on in my head and there is no better way to clear my thoughts than writing something.
So, what makes a dream vacation? Good food, good company, loads of excitement and anticipation, maybe an interesting journey, lovely surroundings? Most vacations would have those. Out of those many vacations, there might be some that gave you a ‘This-is-one-of-the-best-times-of-my-life-and-I-wish-it-stays-this-way’ kind of a feeling. Maybe, if you think too hard, you wouldn’t even be able to explain why you had that feeling. Maybe you were just elated that you were getting away from drudgery, and you wanted to savor the 48 hours you had. Maybe, the feeling hit you when you set your foot on a familiar railway station and you wondered why that dusty seat at the end of the platform gave you a high. Maybe, the feeling sank in when you were actually on your return journey and you winced at the fact that it was over. Maybe, the feeling stemmed from the fact that you had been planning something for ages and it finally materialized.
If I were to mentally calculate the number of times I’ve had that feeling during one single vacation and then come up with a winner, I guess there would be a tie. This is not because I came up with some conclusive number for both and they happened to be the same. It is because, during both these vacations, there was never a single moment which was bereft of that inexplicable sentiment.
One vacation I had planned for two months in advance, the other was almost a surprise. One was a visit to the most familiar place on earth-home. The other was a quiet visit to the ‘unfamiliar’ Mcleodganj. If you are wondering why a trip back home is exceptional, try staying some 1500 kms away and you will know why. You will also know why that first trip back home is doubly special. There was so much to say, so much to catch-up with, so much pampering that I was left wondering why I had been staying at home for so long in the first place. Of course, this vacation had all those normal ingredients of a good vacation that I had talked about- food that I had been longing for, probably the best company ever, excitement over that squeal from the 12 year old sister when I gave her the book she always wanted ( and this courtesy the Pearson Book Sale), an interesting journey where I may have had to answer a 5 year old to ‘Achha, aap didi ho ya auntie ho?’( and when I had successfully established the fact that I was young enough to be a ‘didi’, pop came the next toughie ‘ Toh phir apke saath koi kyoun nahi hain?’), but this vacation had that something extra that reminded me of that line from Katrina and the Waves-‘I am walking on sunshine, and don’t it feel good’. Like I said, I can’t really explain why.
If the trip back home meant going back to the familiar and enjoying every moment of it, the trip to Mcleodganj was all excitement over new discoveries. The absolutely-finger-licking-ly delicious deserts at Nick’s Kitchen, the breathtaking view of the Dhauladhar range from the verandah of the guest house, the stunning 19th century architecture of the church of St John’s in the Wilderness, the beautiful trek to the not-so-beautiful Dal Lake ( yes , there is one in Himachal as well), the intricate paintings at the Namygyar Monastery and so on. Of course it helped that you had extremely knowledgeable company and you were constantly fed with little pieces of history of the place- that Mcleodganj was the summer capital of British India before it was shifted to Shimla ( Many may be aware of this , but I confess I wasn’t), that it was shifted after the great earthquake of 1905 , that some Francis Younghusband led the British invasion to Tibet and so on. Like they say, there is something about ‘Little Lhasa’ that captivates you, something in the air that makes you feel at home.
My ‘dream vacations’ ( as I will have to term it for the sake of this topic) were not something that I had dreamt about, most of it was actually an afterthought, or at the most an opinion that was formed during the course of a vacation. I probably place too much value on feelings and it shows.

-Gargi Banerjee


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