This is me.
I’m an optimist.
I’ve always tried to achieve the impossible by attempting the absurd.
And the best thing is that most of the stories that my life has got irretrievably inter-woven with, are those where optimism fuels the tone and character. No, optimism isn’t necessarily the material that the genetic structure of my life is made up of. Optimism simply appears, gets accepted, and graduates to become a family member. And it helps me reach impossible places, reach out for impossible targets.
Like the time last year when I convinced my parents who are both in their eighties, to fly to Hyderabad on their own and enjoy the first real vacation of their life together. When I suggested this, their first impulse was to reject the idea outright. My father said, ‘We cannot do this on our own. Hyderabad is a strange city and moreover, we have never flown. I know we’ll get lost in the airport itself. This will be a hazardous and expensive experiment.’
I insisted, ‘No, you will not get lost anywhere.’
Specky, my wife, and I made all the necessary bookings and then we asked my parents to travel to Delhi to us a couple of days before this ‘hazardous’ experiment was to begin. I was quite optimistic about the entire trip and knew they could do it… and would do it! So I assured him and said, ‘Pluck worry out and throw it in the bin. We’re here and we have a training scheduled for you.’
And then the unexpected happened… I got selected for the NDTV-Volvo Adventure Challenge and was scheduled to leave on the day my parents arrived. This was the first thing I told him as they entered our home in Delhi. My father went pale and asked in a low voice, ‘Can the bookings be cancelled?’ Even my mother, who is the braver of the two, wasn’t sure if they could manage it on their own.
But I had all the necessary tips for travel, places to see in Hyderabad, airport instructions, and other FAQs prepared. So I just handed him all the print-outs and said, ‘Don’t worry. Specky is here and she will see you through a session of drill for this trip. You are going to love the vacation.’
Specky knew she had a tough task and she later told me that the most difficult was the step by step instructions of what to do once inside IGIA. Their flight was booked from T3 in Delhi and we knew this can be quite intimidating for first timers. However, I still asked them not to opt for the wheelchair or help from the attendant unless they really wanted to and were completely lost for directions.
‘The airport rehearsals were quite entertaining,’ Specky narrated later, ‘and despite all the instructions, papa forgot what to do or where to go the moment he stepped in the airport.’ But then my mother was more optimistically confident and as Specky observed from where she stood outside, they seemed to go to all the right places for the check-in. Well, to cut the story, my parents loved their stroll after the security check and in the duty-free zone. As my father put it, ‘We refused all help thought the airline executives insisted that they accompany us. And it is easy inside the airport. Not difficult at all.’
Well, they loved their stay in Hyderabad and I was surprised how much they managed to see in the three days they had… certainly much more than I thought they could or would.
That trip to Hyderabad is still sharply etched in my parent’s memory and he now says, ‘We really must go for another such short holiday soon.’ It is optimism that gets things done… and then I told him, ‘If you don’t attempt what seems absurd, you’ll never achieve the impossible.’
05 March 2015