Bharat Darshan through my eyes – Ayushi
I had been waiting for Bharat Darshan since the start of FC. And the day finally arrived when we left LBSNAA on the morning of 26th December, 2022.
While travelling down from Mussoorie to Dehradun in bus, I was continuously thinking about the upcoming challenges as well as thrills that would come my way in the next 42 odd days. When I say challenges, I mean things like the fear of going on such a long tour for the first time in my life. No family member was accompanying me this time. And when my friends asked me whether my attendant was coming with me or not (she was not), then the fear and apprehensions increased. But I somehow managed to control them and I kept looking forward to having a great time. I kept reminding myself of the words my mother always believed in, which was that her daughter is and always will be brave. Also, the words of encouragement from my brother kept ringing in my ears.
When I stepped down from the bus at Dehradun airport, the first concern that came to me was whom should I approach for help with my luggage. But then, some of my friends were there to help me out as they figured out my confusion. This situation I was faced with at almost every airport and travel transit. But I always tried to be mindful of not bothering my friends too much as all this would be an extra hassle for them.
Srinagar, where we had our army attachment, was a unique experience for me. It was my first time there. What I liked most about it was the hospitality we received. They tried to give us the best possible comfort, whether it was clothing or food or even the accommodations. The COs of the bases were always very mindful whether I was comfortable or not. Their care meant a lot to me. I was trying to absorb more and more by listening to their interactions among themselves and with my batchmates. My Bharat Darshan was based mainly on imagining things based on the description of others around me, be it the guide or my batchmates. I was trying to understand the changing landscape and climatic divisions of our country as we travelled the length and breadth of India in about 42 days.
Everywhere, I tried to gather information about every new place based on my never-ending questions to my friends and the local people. I wanted to know everything – how the place looked like, the buildings, houses, markets, clothing, culture – everything. Sometimes I did hesitate to ask when I felt I was asking too many questions and I felt my friends would also want to have time to enjoy themselves.
I enjoyed in different ways in different places. Sitting on the banks of the river, I played with water and felt the water flowing across my feet. The sound of the waves at the beach as well the soft yet cold breeze mesmerised me. At Mysore palace, I dressed up in “Princess cut” outfit and enjoyed turning around the pillars and in the yards. In the gardens of Ooty, I enjoyed the melody of chirping of birds and tried to feel the shape of different flowers and plants. And I loved the cheerful voices of small children playing and running around the garden. Their laughter made me smile without any reason.
Other than these, the thing which made me happy was the moment of ferry going up and down along with the waves of the ocean. In Kolkata’s Hoogly river cruise, I remember merrily dancing with my friends. I have stood on the Tejas aircraft and felt its shape with my hands. I have also loved every take-off and landing of our air journeys. Boating and elephant safari too, I thoroughly enjoyed. And how can I forget the experience of snowfall during our army attachment!
I would also like to share how blessed I felt during the trip. Every morning, my husband used to call me and describe in advance the places we would be visiting that day, so that I can take in the place better. I may have missed out on some visual experiences, but I have enjoyed Bharat Darshan no lesser than anyone else. In fact, this journey of 42 days instilled in me a greater sense of responsibility that I now feel towards my country. I could feel a lot of hope and expectations from everyone we met in this trip in the form of their respect, love and care towards us and the service we have entered.