When I was told that I will be going to Rajasthan, the first picture that came to my mind was that of a desert with camels walking around, an oasis in the middle of the desert surrounded by date palm trees, shifting sand dunes, people with turbans and ghaghra cholis. This pretty much fit the general perception of people who hadn’t been to Rajasthan before.
Even when it was said to be Udaipur (the ‘City of Lakes’), I wasn’t prepared for the greenery that greeted me when I entered into the city. I didn’t realize then that the sight would only get better further into the rural areas.
As a part of the field immersion, we were told that we would stay in a village for 2 days and experience the whole process. During the entire trip, the surrounding environment was a feast for the eyes but the most defining image that stayed frozen in my mind was seen from the top of a hill in Upla Thuria village in Kherwara mandal.
We had trekked for about 20 minutes to reach the top of the hill from the village but when we reached the top, we were speechless. The lush green all around hills interlocking with each other, the mist covered mountain tops, the river flowing below through a lake, the indentations on the hills as a reminder of the times gone by. The image was so reminiscent of my trek through the Western Ghats that for a moment I had to check that we were still in Rajasthan.
Standing on top of the hill, I felt like I was on top of the world but was also able to feel a sense of great peace. This was a place where nothing could exist outside of it, a haven tucked away deep in the lap of nature where man was just an occasional visitor, a tiny smudge in the larger picture. The beauty of this place was not just in its physicality but also in the possibilities it offered to everyone – a place to dream or to self introspect or maybe even an escape from the harsh realities of the outside world. It reminded me of something I had read in passing –
“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why”
Sometimes we get too caught up in the journey of life, stuck in the past or planning our future that we forget to take some time to enjoy it along the way. Trapped in the endless pursuit of money or power, we don’t realise the need to stop and introspect. Places like these give us the opportunity to take a step away from the everyday realities and provides the space to reflect on our journey so far and the goals we aim to attain. I found such a location by accident in the last place I would have expected. As they say, “The best things in life happen unexpectedly”, that moment on top of the hill was one of the defining moments of my life. It gave me a sense of validation that I was on the right path in life – literally and figuratively. Though I am uncertain about my destination in life, the one certainty I knew was that this was an image I wouldn’t forget for a very long time and this was a place I certainly hope to visit again.