Why I traveled with my daughter to another India.
Sometimes till last year, I had a hectic work schedule. I was shuttling daily between Delhi and Gurgaon, which took four hours of my day. Did it for six days a week and on Sundays, I occasionally checked my emails for anything urgent? In between I became a dad and during this time I hardly met my daughter. When I came home or left home she was mostly sleeping. And while I was doing this intracity trip ,my urge to travel outside Delhi only grew more. So travelling with my daughter was only inevitable and we decided to do a road trip to Rajasthan.
The idea was simple
• Take Meher ( daughter) and Jas (wife) along with me.
• Plan the road trip in a certain direction, but keep it fluid. For example while we were in Jaipur ,we also went to Kinseriya Mataji temple which we had not planned .
• I wanted to take at least one good picture everyday and hence the aim of trip was two fold – travel with Meher and Jas , and extend my long term photo project on Rajasthan.
We ended up travelling a couple of thousand kms, stayed at a haveli and so on as shared previously. Though one might think ,Meher might be too young to remember these experiences we felt otherwise.
There were a lot of learning’s during the trip.
This is what I learnt.
• The young ones are smart – Meher for example over came her anxiety of seeing a new face by third day and was open to strangers.
• Most fears were unfounded. Check with Jasraman and my parents !! When I first mentioned this trip , the first common questions (and assumptions) I got were, ‘How will she get her food’ , ‘ You have n’t booked for places to stay. How will we manage’, and so on. I suppose these are valid reasons, but we do over protect our children (we might be doing it for our own sake rather than those of children)
• Less digital is more. Jasraman made it a point to stay away for the un necessary. Remember we used to play in open and with wooden toys when we were young. And had time enough. Time to relive that age .
• It is an incredible experience for the father. And a great way to increase your patience level. Man, I remember in Siyana when the light was golden and I was itching to step out and photograph!! Of course I was babysitting and had to stay with Meher for another forty odd minutes.
• And when you are carrying a lot while travelling, your memory improves.
Some, learning’s as a photographer while travelling with my daughter during the trip.
• We could n’t step out before noon to explore a particular place.Hence to not miss the early morning light ,it is best to leave around 6 am,do your early morning shoot and be back by 8 30 am to help in baby chores.
• Carry a couple of teethers in your pocket, should your baby become cranky and mom wants to head back to the hotel/ homestay.
• Build better arm and shoulder muscles, especially if your baby is in your arms and you still have your camera hanging on your neck for the next possible shot.
• Babies can help you break the ice with stranger and give you more respectability (that will specially help you if you are photographing people or a community)
• Be prepared to miss out on a few shots and shooting occasions especially if you are travelling with your daughter who is quite young and needs your constant attention.
Trying to save a peacock, Siyana
In a nutshell though, I think it was one of the best trips I had in my life, and definitely one to remember with my daughter.
Meher next to a statue of Lord Hanuman