Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Oddroad Story


Born to a doctor in the Indian Army and his wife, an astute home-maker, I had a wonderful childhood and the enviable opportunity to see India as even the most ardent travelers seldom get to see. From the snow covered heights of Nathula in Sikkim to the forts & palaces of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, from the Buddhist chants of Leh in Ladakh to the ornate history of Hampi in Karnataka, I was blessed to feel the pulse of a land of incredible wealth - its cultures, cuisines, arts, architectures, traditions, religions, festival. And above all… its diverse landscape. No single country in the world can boast of some of the mightiest mountains, mystical deserts, pristine beaches, ancient rain forests, meandering backwaters, romantic islands and every other imaginable terrain… all blended seamlessly into the experience called "India".

When my dad got transferred from Kalimpong (West Bengal) to Gurdaspur (Punjab), I was in my fourth standard at the St Augustine School. On the last day, the Principal, Father Thomas asked me to stay back and live in the hostel. I, like most kids, held on to my parents and left Kalimpong. Twenty years later, as I stood near the window of that very classroom, my eyes were moist. Looking out of the window at the mighty Kanchenjunga (3rd highest mountain in the world), with the rippling of Teesta river flowing inexorably somewhere below, I realized that I had unwittingly denied myself schooling at one of the finest holiday spots in India!

Life had moved on. From one school to another. Then to college. By the time I walked out of the classrooms, bio labs, canteens, late night group studies… into the "real world", I had really seen a lot of India. And being a Bong by birth, the travel bug had bitten me incurably by then!

From serving the hospitality industry to my entry into the corporate world as a soft skills trainer, and finally heading global HR in an MNC, I got to travel a lot across the country. For both work and pleasure. In the recent years I have also been travelling parts of England, Scotland, Spain and Germany. This has given me a delightful exposure to a whole new world of people - their likes & dislikes, their tastes, their desires. And above all, their universal longing to explore India!


It was during one of these holidays at Tabo in the Spiti Valley of North Himachal Pradesh that an event left a deep impression in my mind. I was visiting the Tabo Monastry, built in 996 AD (
... to be continued.

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