[Updated on 30 November 2021]
My mother passed away on 19 July this year from old age. She was 84. It is now almost four months since she’s been gone, yet the pain is still raw. She went too fast. I knew she was going to go to the other side one day. One day. Just that one day was some distant occurrence which I naively believed was not going to happen in my lifetime. We all believe our parents will live forever.
If you are a follower of my blog, you would have noticed the change in the title. I have added ‘Toshi’ as my middle name. Toshi was my mother’s maiden pet name. By adding it to my online spaces it keeps her alive for me.
We were chalk and cheese. Fought and hugged. She was the most loving human being I had ever come across. And through all of life’s trials and tribulations, she was my constant best friend.
More than anyone else, she also knew my need to travel. To wander. To explore. She understood travel was my one source of inspiration, as well as escape. A source of pragmatic knowledge and elusive wisdom.
It is no surprise then that as I struggled, and still struggle, to cope with my loss, my sister, as if in serendipity, suggested I turn to travel.
Rajasthan seemed the most natural choice. Its Covid-19 numbers were minuscule. As a state focussed on tourism for its economy, its infrastructure, even in current times, was well-structured and reliable. Last, but not least, when it came to history, heritage, pristine nature, hospitality topped with an endless list of attractions … oh well, India’s desert state generously peppered with tales of royalty and valour stood head and shoulders above the rest.
I left for a 35-day solo road trip through Rajasthan’s vast expanse on Sunday, 17 October. The research and design of my itinerary helped me face life in the immediate weeks after Mummy left. The following five weeks helped me reconnect with life once again. To still remember and love her, but with slightly less tears in my eyes and a teeny meeny bit smaller lump in my throat.
The google map above is the route I took. From Rajasthan’s familiar iconic towns such as Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur to the remote, hidden gems of the Shekhawati and Jhalawar. From the call of the wild in Ranthambore and Sariska to the call of the spiritual in Pushkar and Ajmer. From the golden sands of Khuri in the Thar to the verdant Aravali hills of Alwar. From living inside the forts in Jaisalmer and Chittorgarh, to a palace in Bikaner and a simple homestay in Jodhpur. It was all there.
Now back home I will be embarking on my blog posts. I plan to write 24 all in all starting next week, including a couple of travel guides. Do join me as I share my journey right here. Till then, stay safe, stay healthy, and most importantly, treasure your loved ones. Life is fragile. Keep your loved ones super close to your heart. ❤