"I love my work so much that I am always on vacation" is what one often hears. If you reflect on this, work is work. A creative person's mind is always ticking, brimming with ideas. And the mind as well as body needs time to rewind, reflect and rejuvenate.

Had been carrying a worrying chest illness for many months. As an asthmatic this was nothing new, however, this time around I had developed drug resistance. My Doctor finally put his foot down, "Off you go this Diwali for a break." Yes Diwali spells horror time for me and many others who have breathing issues, what with ceaseless bursting of firecrackers.

So, off we went for a four day mini vacation to a small hotel in the middle of nowhere (discovered by me online). A comfortable, simple place without the trappings sought after nowadays such as a pool, discotheque or spa.
What it had going for it though, at least for people like our family, was its sheer simplicity. Set amid farms and vast open expanses, it felt like being in a world without walls around it. My pre-dawn morning walk was blissful. This was the real India and did I love it!

The villagers were so friendly and despite their obviously challenging lives, they all seemed happy! I was inspired by the story of the hotel's caretaker, Manek. A local of the nearby village, what he shared with me with great pride left me astonished. His daughter had studied at the UWC Mahindra College and her sterling record had won her a Scholarship for advanced studies in the U.S.! His other children were also well educated and headed towards success in their lives.

How easily do we underestimate people! That aside, what did I do? Walk, listen, look around for the sounds of nature. And people who merged with it rather than destroying it. I could now breathe easy. Breathe in air untouched by pollution.While I was having the time of my life, my camera rarely rested!
On a trek to the Mulshi river (1.5 kms from our hotel) another pleasant surprise awaited us. A farmer not only dropped the work he was doing but took the effort to guide us across fields because we seemed lost. On our way back, with all the narrow dirt tracks appearing similar, we veered slightly off the track and were stopped by a fence in our way. He gallantly offered to escort us to the right path once again.

And those kids! A couple of small huts housed largish families with children playing by the roadside. When I asked their parents if I could click their picture, after hesitating, I got the nod. What a memorable capture that was.
Meanwhile my daughter asked me, "Papa, what's the big deal about coming here?" I smiled and said to her, "While Mumbai is a chemical factory, this place is a gigantic Air Purifier."

Surprise, surprise. My health improved drastically the day we landed there and on return my meds have been halved. Of greater importance is how my mind has calmed down, giving birth to a burst of ideas. The joys of merging with life, once in a while..

Raring to go.

Vijay Nallawala is an Author, Personal Branding Coach, Storyteller
and is actively propagating the Cause of Mental Health Support in India.
Let's Walk Together