We are doing a series where we are asking all our trip leaders’ mothers, how they feel about their daughters or sons leading trips and making travel their life! Presenting to you, second in this series, Trip Leader Niyati Saxena’s mom’s version now.
Mere ghar aaye ek aur nanhi pari! My second born was bit of Mumma chipkoo because she would not keep very good health. But her low physical stamina was inversely proportional to her mental fortitude! Growing up in various Air Force stations across the length and breath of the country made Niyati extremely adaptable to change. One thing that never changed was me convincing her to miss school after a late-night party at home or a squadron party. Life in services has its fair share of parties, e.g. welcoming a new bride, some officers completing flying syllabus, coming back to the squadron after a detachment and also the regular ones – house warming, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. During such parties, bachelors in our squadron would gather around little Niyatu and tell her, “kal chutti from school!” and her prompt reply would be “No uncle, it’s not good to miss school!!” Following all the rules always and preparing for the smallest details became part of Niyati’s nature. Another thing that was constant was her ability to make friends very easily. I am frequently chided by her for not being able to remember all her friends!
Anyways after graduating from law college and landing a job in a top-notch law firm in Mumbai, I thought my nerdy baccha has sort of settled in her career path. Both me and her Dad have always encouraged both our daughters to be happy in doing whatever they choose in life. HAPPY being the key word! During her Mumbai stint Niyati travelled with On His Own Trip for the first time. Frankly, I had no clue about solo travelling and indulged Niyati because I thought, “Itna ragda lag raha hai office mein toh let her hair down on weekend trips!” Niyati’s grand-dad was extremely fond of taking long holidays so her dad too ensured we took our fair share of holidays. But holidays were always with family or friends so what is this concept of traveling with strangers?? If I had a say, I would have personally vetted all the trippers travelling with her! After all she is my choti betia!
Somewhere during that time, we realized she is not happy in the corporate set up. By now she was back home with us in Noida and had started leading weekend trips for On His Own Trip. Even before Niyati confided to us about doing this full time my husband already had this inkling. So, on a houseboat in Srinagar always prepared wali Niyati gave us a speech on why she needs to do trip leading full time. Her dad said is his usual dad style, “Do what makes you happy and helps you to grow as an individual”. Whereas for me I said, “Ja Niyatu jee le apni zindagi!” Her elder sister Adrika came up with useful suggestions like physical training, brushing up geography, etc. Aur ek bar Niyati ne commitment dedi, toh phir woh Neeraj ki bhi nahi sunti hai! Lol!!
How after every trip she has such insightful things to share with us, how happy she is to spend time with nature, how that bulletin board in her room is getting filled with little notes from her trippers and lastly, but most importantly she is getting to pen her thoughts! Little flashback here – On way to school on a cold winter morning, Niyati who was in the third grade at that time told me to find a publisher by evening as she had finished her story. At present she is getting to do what she loves – writing and connecting with people. It’s like kabhi trip, kabhi post aur khoob sare dost!
Only concern Adrika and me have is that we will have to make an Excel sheet to remember all her friends – First Trithan trip ke top 3 friends, second Thailand trip ke all the time sea mein rehne wale friends, first Chandrataal trip ke bus ko dhakka dene wale friends, Auli ki second trip ke snow fight wale friends and so on! Thankful that she is a part of On His Own Trip gang. Loads of good wishes to each one of you. God bless you!