When I was born, my father said, "This is my dream girl." The best part about my childhood was in knowing that.
The second best part was that my dad used to travel a lot and always took us with him. While most people dream of visiting the top league touristy destinations, my dad looked for any place that caught his fancy. If there was any place where he couldn't take us to, he would ask what we wanted and even when he didn't have enough money, he'd get it for me and my sister. We looked forward to those trips more because it meant we got lots of stuff as gifts from him!!!
A doctor by profession, there was no real scope for him to travel but he used to save money to travel and within the limited means, he used to take us with him. He visited South Africa, Swaziland and Namibia even when those with Indian passports were not permitted to visit the country at the time due to apartheid.
Every year, we visited at least two countries on a shoe string budget and a constant favorite for us was Dubai, the shoppers paradise, and as kids, we loved buying our clothes, shoes and stuff from Dubai. As a teenager, I remember buying a lot of my awesome gals stuff from Dubai. We always stayed at the Palm Beach Hotel and had a great time there. I think I've inherited the same love for travel from my dad and I am really glad that I don't have the "I will visit only the UK/US" attitude. The world is much bigger than that, don't you think?
Almost every weekend while we were in Africa, my dad would take the car and drive us to some location and we would camp in tents, eat local food without fuss (that's how I learned not to be a fuss pot - seriously, there 's no fun in being so - it ruins a perfect day) and enjoy just being alive and kicking. No frills, that was the way we traveled and how I still love it!
When I reached Std 12, all of this traveling came to an end. Life became tough because studies took the limelight and we didn't really have any time for such travel, especially as my younger sister was to appear for the medical entrance exams. You know how life seems at that point, don't you?
After 15 years, for the first time, my dad is taking us again. It means everything to him not because he is desperate to see Dubai but because it takes him back and closer to his golden days of traveling with his kids in tow. Dad was never one of those fussy travelers. He made friends with people easily (like me) and no one could forget him once they met him. But I also know that without me, this trip wouldn't be as special for him.
This time, we are going on an all-frills trip. This is Dad's dream and I'm glad, no, I'm thrilled to be part of it. More than anything else, my dad is taking Adi on this trip and that just makes the dream reach a full circle.
More than this Dubai trip, more than anything else, what makes this travel special for me is - I am back with Dad and Mom, traveling with them to a golden past and this time, carrying Adi as my future and legacy with me. We will go beyond clouds to the realm of dreams because ultimately, it is those dreams that come true and make this life worth striving for.
Pray for our love, togetherness and happiness, please.
Dubai - get ready for my family!