I was always a dreamy child… Nature? Nurture? Or, as is usually the case, a bit of both? From our 3rd floor balcony in a mad suburb of west Delhi I used to love looking up at the sky, watching the clouds – it was probably about the time I got to know the meaning of my name (Kshitiz) – and felt, well of course there’s a connection! By Kshitiz Dhall
As a kid when you looked up, probably the most fascinating sights were the celestial bodies and their movements across the sky, the amazing cloud formations and.. aeroplanes! Unlike the first two, aeroplanes were few and far between at the time (it is the other way around now) and that just added to their mystery. What was it like to fly, what must those people in there feel like, when would I, I wondered.
I wondered about pretty much everything under the sun, and beyond, as a kid. It was a preferred interlude of escapism from the otherwise never-ending goulash of studies and homework. One would think I would grow up to love fiction, and to date I have no interest – all my books, podcasts, even favourite TV shows are non-fiction, perhaps my mind has enough fiction of its own, always had. I don’t need escapism – I find enough of it in reality. If I had to choose a label, it would probably be a ‘seeker’, always moving, not necessarily in space, but definitely in our heads, constantly attracted to new experiences, dread the ever sinking realisation of how short life is and want to experience EVERYTHING while we can.
For me that transpires into an obvious love for travel and a love for learning. As a travel enthusiast you are probably nodding in agreement, but you could easily fall down the rabbit hole and follow those classic instructions…’Eat me’…‘Drink me’ that you see posted all over social media; but I have found a slightly different path with one very important rule – never repeat an experience.
Let’s say I am flying from London to Delhi to visit my family, there are usually at least a dozen airlines to choose from on that route. As much as I would like to stick to a budget, not repeating an airline I have already flown is as high on the agenda – and it’s not that hard. Of the 12 occasions where I have made that journey so far, I have never had to. Truth be told, some of those routes were agonising -from long transit times for connecting flights at dilapidated airports (and NO WIFI!), to poor meals or service, I have had my fair share and it was worth it. For I not only take away some unforgettable experiences but gained a better understanding of what I really want. You may love chicken curry but you would never know whether you love mutton curry more unless you tried it, right?
Speaking of which, and let’s pick London again, it has 18,137 restaurants listed on TripAdvisor alone – even if you only ever wanted to eat chicken curry, there are a thousand places to try the ‘best chicken curry ever’ that London has to offer… You get my drift?
There will always be exceptions to the ‘no-repeat’ rule, when you cannot or should not use it, but trust me, it can bring a child-like wonder to almost any aspect of your life.
In a world where people are quick to judge an entire race, or a country of a few million, or sell you the best restaurant in town or the best airline in the world in a whiff, I don’t. It has never made sense to me how so many of us proclaim to ‘know for sure’ about anything with usually just a fraction of the information. The more we know, the more we find out how little we know. In my experience, open minded learning teaches humility.
At some level, we are all seeking what we can’t have, a level of perfection & order in our lives that goes against the very core fundamentals of the world we live in (remember second law of thermodynamics). I would suppose the trick is to seek what we can achieve – but it’s never that simple is it? If the human race learnt to be ‘content’, we might not have been as successful a species, hell, we might even have been extinct. Turns out, we are good at not being content.