Ask yourself and you’d probably say that you made some great choices in life. Most of us do. When we consider these as forks in the road, we almost always know which one to take. But do we notice the little side roads that are unpaved and present themselves as small opportunities?
Even among our so called choices, many of us tend to just follow the path either shown by others to us, be it parents, teachers, friends or relatives or follow the road which we see others traverse. As humans we all tend to follow examples for decisions or choices like studies, career, relationships or even the smallest things in life, like buying a dress or which restaurant do we go to tonight? Somewhere deep within we all know what we want or what is good for us but often, we tend to ignore it or it is subdued because of societal or peer pressure or just the little niggle that you don’t really know anyone else who has gone there before. So the question really is – How many of us have actually listened to this voice inside us and chosen our paths for “living” and not just “life”?
I know of a few who have listened to themselves and either made small choices or big ones which have changed their lives forever. My husband and I made one such choice 9 years ago. We have been married for close to 17 years now and as individuals as well as a couple, our biggest passion has been to travel. This passion opened our eyes to a possibility.
Back in 2004, we visited the US of A! From the East Coast to the West, we visited most places that we heard of or had read about, including the big cities like New York, San Francisco, California and Las Vegas. When people began asking us what we liked the most in the US, our common answer was the country side. People were surprised that we found New York to be just another big city or Las Vegas as being more lights than anything else.
When we returned from our holiday, we discussed the places we visited and that when we both realized that nature is something that we enjoy to the fullest. All that we dreamt of and that we wanted to turn it into reality was just to have a walk in misty surroundings, within reach of the clouds, a leisurely meal all three times of the day, an afternoon nap with nature singing a lullaby, watching birds build nests and feeding little ones, grow our own vegetables, soiled hands tilling the earth, a few dogs by our side and watching every minute detail of life going by us at a pace that was set by us. A country living is what we ultimately wanted to do. By ultimately, I do not mean when we retire. We wanted to do this now, when we had age, time and energy on our side. Yes!!! We took a leap in life, which most people around us think is a step back in life.
Within a few months, we began the ordeal of accomplishing this dream and passion. I call it an ordeal because, like finding a suitable life partner, finding a suitable spot too is a Herculean task. After a lot of discussions, we finally decided on Coorg, a highland region in the western ghats known for its coffee plantations, hilly surrounding and meandering rivers. For over a year and a half, every single weekend was spent looking at plantations in Coorg. All the places we saw either didn’t fit our budget or our mindset and if both these fell into place then the land owners changed their minds overnight. On one such disappointing weekend, we decided to take the route via Kushalnagar – Somwarpet – Sakleshpur – Hasan to Bangalore instead of the regular Mysore road. As we were passing Sakleshpur, we began observing the change in topography. While Coorg is filled with coffee and pepper plantations and is beautiful in its own way, Sakleshpur has charm. Apart from pepper and coffee plantations, Sakleshpur also has Cardamom plantations, plain grasslands, paddy fields, umpteen water bodies and lush carpeted hills. Our hearts were probably set in that one drive and so we decided to take a day’s break in Sakleshpur with the hope of finding our dream land.
In the morning, we accompanied a local to see a plantation that was for sale. What we hadn’t found in Coorg for close to two years, we immediately found in Sakleshpur. Its difficult to describe the feeling or to quantify exactly what we were looking for but the overwhelming belief that “this is it” is unmistakeable. We just knew and it took less than a look at each other to confirm that we had found what we were looking for.
In less than a week, we had closed the deal and we knew that the easy part was done. It had taken us 29 unrelenting months to just find what we had seen in a dream, but find it we did. Even then, our friends and family didn’t think we would take this all the way. After all, we did have what is conventionally considered as successful career plans. Although we knew it would take time, we plunged in and embarked on making a dream come true. Daunting is a mild way of putting it but we were not to be deterred. We had seen the fork in the road and we knew where it was taking us…on a journey that would teach us what “living life” was all about.
To be continued….