On checking in, did I rush out to take in all this greenery and marvel which is why I had come here in the first place? the monsoons are not quite over in this place and the greenery is enhanced by the occasional spell of rain which swishes over you to gently envelope you but not quite drench you in that uncomfortable way that makes you walk around soaked and dripping. Unfortunately, no. I didn’t do all this. The first thing I did was to check out the strength of the mobile signal. The signal had disappeared on the drive to the hotel and as the bars of the signal strength dropped, in equal proportion, my heart beat increased? Had I reached the ultimate destination of doom – a place with no mobile connectivity? Once I had identified that one place in the hotel where there was some mobile signal, the next search was for Wi-Fi connectivity. I badgered the hotel reception till they gave me the password to the complimentary Wi-Fi. Other searches included the nearest ATM – half an hour away by walk, a convenience store – none in the vicinity, restaurants and cafes – none except those in the hotel itself.
It was after doing all this as I was walking along the forest trails, surrounded by flowers of all shades and colours, birds I can’t identity or remember seeing accompanied by no one except a scraggy, stray, village dog that I laughed at the irony of it. Had I come all the way from Delhi to Devasthali to tweet and update Facebook statuses or to soak in the sounds, sights and flavours of the place- something I would never experience in Delhi? Why did I need an ATM for when I had some spare cash in my pocket and beyond that there were no shops to buy anything anyway? It is a kind of cultural addiction that creeps in on you without you even knowing it.
It is great to take vacations and escape from the monotony of daily living, even if it is for a weekend and that is a habit that one should cultivate. But it is equally important, as I learnt during my recent attempt, that one should know how to enjoy a vacation and leave the city and its vice like grip over our life, and enjoy the nature that God created with all our five senses.