What would you say if I told you it was possible to meet someone three times, in three different countries almost completely by chance?
In December 2015 I took the brave step of travelling to India alone. At the time, people told me I was mad. They said it wasn’t a safe place for a woman and that I’d feel lonely spending Christmas away from my family. Still, I was determined to go on my little adventure. Having spent some time alone in Delhi, I joined a group tour, that would take me through the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
The tour guide for this trip was a man named Dushyant. For 15 days we travelled through parts of Northern and Central India and Dushyant made sure that we had the most authentic experience possible. From recommending good clean restaurants, to introducing us to local people he had designed an experience that we simply could not have found for ourselves. On Christmas day in Varanasi, he found the only Christian restaurant in the City and we enjoyed a night of festive gaiety, surrounded by tacky Christmas decorations and a make-shift crib, all while dressed in a traditional Indian Sari!
|Christmas Eve 2015|
On our last night of the tour, Dushyant gave a toast to our new found friendships and concluded that although we were all from diverse backgrounds, we should remember that this World is round and we never know where or when we could meet again.
Little did I know, that a year later we would in fact meet again while we were both far from home. In November, we both found ourselves in London for business reasons and thanks to the technology of Facebook, we managed to connect and meet for a brief coffee and a catch up. It was fantastic to see each other again and we both remembered the speech on the last night of our tour. The World is indeed round.
Not one month later, I got another message from Dushyant. “I am coming to Dublin” he said. Of course I couldn’t possibly have turned down the opportunity to give him the Céad Míle Fáilte and show him around my home town as he had his.
On a cold December day in Dublin, we embarked on a whistle-stop tour of some of the Cities landmarks, including a walk in St Stephen’s Green, a glance at the Christmas lights on Grafton Street and visits to Trinity College and Christchurch. We saw Molly Malone and the Ha’penny bridge and of course soaked in the atmosphere of a live music gig in the Temple Bar pub. The latter was essential, given that the Temple Bar was featured in the set of a Bollywood Movie (Who knew?). We finished our day with a meal in a vegan restaurant before saying good bye for the third time.
|The Temple Bar Pub, A Bollywood icon!|
I was so happy that I could repay Dushyant for the kindness of showing me a side to India I would not have seen on my own. As it turns out he was right. The World is round and the people that we meet on our travels are never as far away as we might think.
|Reunited in Dublin Dec 2016|