Don’t live at home….

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Living the Asian Dream

As I type these words, I sit on a comfortable red couch overlooking the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean. I am sitting on the 16th floor of Cinnamon Red in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, a newly built hotel from the stable of Cinnamon Group that promises  elegance, intelligence and responsible luxury with style. Usually, I wouldn’t stay at the ‘so-called luxury hotel.’ If you have been following my blog for some time now- you’d know that I am more into authentic, offbeat and experiential stays. However, some how, I was determined to break this travel mode this time around and indulge in luxury.

As a dark carpet of clouds engulfs the Ocean, I wonder what made me do what I did. Why did I make a choice that is a detour from my usual repertoire. I realize, my hidden passions, secret dreams come to the fore. Sri Lanka is a truly affordable island destinations for a majority of the population in Asia- starting with the Indians. The currency valuation, definitely at work, ensures that an Indian, like me,  can indulge in a bit of luxury, that we otherwise, usually see only on Instagram or Facebook.

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Oh, the places you’ll go!

Suddenly, a realization strikes me. Money. Money is so precious. Money is so important. Yes, someone said- Money can’t buy you happiness. But look at me. I am happy to indulge in a bit of luxury and there’s a smile on my face. Yes- probably, I am sitting alone on the couch, traveling away from family while they celebrate Diwali. I won’t like, but it does break a string of my heart, to feel may be, what a tiny little place I occupy in the Universe. May be my family doesn’t miss me and they can still celebrate Diwali.  But I am still happy, sipping my morning Coffee against a foreground on one of the greatest and beautiful Oceans of the world.

Money cannot buy happiness. But money can help you buy experiences.

And that to me, this moment, seems just fine. When I look at stories by my Instagram friends across the world, I feel left out. “Why can’t I have such a life?” , my head cries out. My heart says- money is not everything. Probably. If you haven’t struggled much in life, may be money doesn’t buy happiness.

But if you have struggled in life, then money can buy experiences and that is pretty much equal to happiness. Being able to do, what you want, being able to go where you want, is happiness. And that definitely lacks on the Indian passport. I for one, have never really understood the hulahoo around weak passports. Never understood, what it meant. Till I came to Sri Lanka.

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Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy experiences. And that is pretty much the same

On my way back to Colombo from Ella, I was scanned by two railway officials at two different times. They couldn’t fathom the fact that I held a ticket to a first class compartment in the train, standing toe to toe, shoulder to shoulder with some of the foreign backpackers. I exactly knew what happened, but I dismissed the incident with my smile. That my friend, was my first brush with racism. That moment, I realized- money does buy entitlement. And that is next to happiness.

I come from a middle class family in India. I must acknowledge the fact, that my parents always tended to my demands. Never, have I been refused anything by my parents. But as much as my parents tended to my every demand, they couldn’t keep me away from the reality that the world is.

Now that I travel, I know the world for what it is. Today, I can acknowledge the world and myself for what we are. We are just human beings caught in a struggle of finite and infinite universes, wanting to rule, wanting to love, wanting to indulge. There is no point, brushing things as negativity or  pessimism. The world is what it is. And we are what we are. I am a struggler, a fighter.

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When I get older, I will be stronger, just like a waving flag.

I didn’t live the American dream. I lived the Asian struggles.  Travel taught me that. Travel taught me to accept the way I am. Travel taught me to accept the way world is. And that my friend, is the beauty of travel.

Despite everything, travel teaches you… “Don’t live at home.”

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6 thoughts on “Don’t live at home….

  1. What a beautiful a thought provoking post… still processing. Loved hearing your thoughts and what travel has taught you. I’m an American, and by it’s own standards, just lower-middle class. When I took my first out of country trip to Guatemala, I realized I was, in fact, wealthy. Travel has taught me to look outside myself, it has taught me to be empathetic and to desire to help others. Although we can not decide where we were born or what the world throws our way, we can choose how we let it effect us! I hope to choose positivity and gratitude. So nice to meet you, Deepika! Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

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    • Thank you so much Andele for your kind words. The thing about travel, is that it is not always hunky dory. But it is crucial to acknowledge the not so good parts about it as well.While that happens, travel has also taught me to be full of gratitude. I feel our feelings are similar 🙂

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  2. How said it is that we discriminate each other, amongst almost the same people… amongst neighbours! We are quick to say “oh white countries” always discriminate us, but God knows we also discriminate each other! What a pitty, I have experienced this myself, but I have learnt to feel bad for them and keep my head high 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much @Zeebalife.. While it can be daunting to undergo such experiences, travel also gives me an opportunity to meet like minded people like you.. I am so full of gratitude now… it has been nice connecting with you 🙂

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  3. Deepika, I was once told by a French restaurant owner to get out of his restaurant because I told him that his pesto pasta was not made with pesto sauce. He couldn’t take the fact that I even understood what pesto is. And this happened in Goa, in my own country but a place where there are more foreigners than Indians. That was an eye opening experience on racism for me.

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