Nitin and Pune-based II interviewer Akshay met at a common friend’s house where Nitin was recounting his recently concluded trip to the Himalayas. His experience was quite intriguing, and therefore, he seemed like the perfect candidate to interview. Read this travel enthusiast’s interview whose life has been defined by his travel experiences.
Nitin Agarwal, 32, Real Estate Broker, Pune
Interviewed by Akshay Sachdev
Why did you decide to give us an interview on travel?
The way I see it, travel is the best way to find a balance in life. Being born and brought up in the city, your life is all about competing with so many people, your schedule is hectic and life gets quite monotonous on a day-to-day basis. To cope up with work and daily life one needs to travel. Every now and then you need to take a week or two off and become friends with yourself to travel and live the way you want.
Can you talk about any recent travel experience that has impacted you?
I last traveled to Rishikesh up in the mountains to an ashram called the Phoolchatti ashram. The ashram was on the banks of the river Ganges surrounded by mountains all around. We reached there to find out that there was absolutely no telephonic coverage, which was actually a boon. The time I spent at the ashram helped boost my morale, my energy and my way of thinking. It was something I really wanted to do for a while.
What kind of activities was part of your daily regime at the ashram?
At the ashram we met and interacted with fellow travelers from all across the world. My friend and I were actually the only two Indians there. Being at the ashram was like being part of a spiritual journey amidst nature. We used to get up at 5 in the morning, meditate, practice yoga and eat our meals on time. It was just a very simple but healthy lifestyle. I thought it would be difficult at first to adapt to life at the ashram, but the energy of the place and the positive vibes of everyone around were infectious.
What did you think of the simple living that was practiced at the ashram?
The problem is that we don’t realize what is the purpose of working every day; we try to make money to settle and have a simple and peaceful life, but the life I lived there was actually more peaceful. I think that instead of making money to get settled and be at peace, we all need to remove time from our busy schedule to travel, experience things and find peace.
While at the ashram did you ever feel that you want to leave behind the city life and settle down to lead a simpler life in the hills?
The thought did occur to me but I have a lot of responsibilities and commitments back here in the city. But definitely one can balance things by traveling to these places once in a while. If you just stay in the city working monotonously in the same routine every day it will lead to saturation. Making such trips gives you a balance and boosts your energy to keep you running.
What did you discover about yourself in the ashram?
I’m one of the most impatient people I know and my attention span is not any better, but somehow I managed to sit down and read three books while at the ashram. When I told my wife and friends that, they were shocked. So it’s safe to say that I became much more patient, calm and focused there.
What was your learning at the ashram?
I learnt very simple things that were common in city life but we probably didn’t pay attention to them. Simple things like keeping your environment clean and healthy, cleaning your own plates after using them, having a healthy atmosphere and a positive attitude. These things are all within us but we don’t realize that in daily life.
Did you make any lifestyle changes after your experience at the ashram?
Yes definitely. I have started exercising regularly and I’m quite committed to it. I try to spend more time with myself to help refresh myself, be it exercising at the gym, playing a sport or just doing things that make me happy.
To sum it up, what have you learnt through your travels and what has travel given to you?
Travel has given me unforgettable experiences and learning. It has taught me the meaning of life and how to balance life itself. We talk about having teachers throughout our life; for me travel, time and experiences have been my greatest teachers.
Where do you plan to go next?
I’m planning a trip to the char dhaam yatra next. Though I’m still in the planning stage I hope to make it happen soon.
The last question has nothing to do with your interview topic, but we ask everyone we interview – what does love mean to you?
Love is a happy feeling that makes you feel attached, dedicated and overall feel good.