Monday, February 17

From the Diary of a Wanderer CA

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The similarity between doing CA and traveling is that they both are highly unpredictable. They must be, else if everything goes as per plan we’ll lose the excitement and fun of success and failure. It is rather a strange reason how I developed sort of an addiction to traveling and I hope we CAs also change how we define traveling. Though ‘addiction’ is absolutely wrong word here but what other word can I use to convey my deep attachment to this activity. This write up is not about any fairytale of traveling or any description of my out of the world, totally crazy adventures. It’s rather a more philosophical true to heart feeling which I never shared with anyone. It’s the way of how I think traveling should be. Yes it would be boring but there’s no other way.

There’s a great way how CA taught me in overcoming difficulties I face when I travel, it helped develop a tendency to wander with fearlessness. I must acknowledge that articleship training sowed the seed of traveling. But personally I always felt that when you are away for official purposes you are more a ‘tourist than a traveler’. The schedule is airport, hotel, meetings, back to airport and taxi ride home. You are provided nice hotel to stay, chauffeur driven car and unlimited reimbursement of almost all the expenses. You must act as ‘auditor sahab’ and must maintain so called decorum with focus on work. This designation slowly becomes our ego and soon overpowers us. We hesitate to exchange words with those whom we think might not match our stature. Say thanking a driver or complimenting a cook for the food. Because while on an audit there has to be a class division and you are not supposed to transgress those boundaries. It’s okay to maintain seriousness at work but it’s totally inane to make it your habit.

In the struggle to become a CA, I bought a notebook from good old Laxmi Nagar, it was a fancy notebook, on the face of it was a picture of sun kissed mountain with a tagline ‘Travel outside and explore within.’ This is what hit me in my deep conscious and every time I opened that notebook I’d be swayed by flawless mountain. I soon re- defined traveling as moving beyond Cafe Coffee Day and experience a world different from our own. I feel pity for many of my CA friends who call traveling as going to places like Dubai or Singapore, staying in 5 star hotel, spend time in pool, shop in large malls, click some selfies, live on diet of burgers and coke, blow money on booze and come back home with expensive clothes and a bunch of gadgets. Poor fellows, all they have is money.

There’s a new trend now a days, that of a travel packages. Long weekend? Let’s book this deal and go to this hill station. You must stick to what they tell you, see what they show, eat what they provide, stay where they want and so on and in the meanwhile there’s still a scope that you’ll have fun, because at least you tagged your location at a hill station, shared on Facebook and got likes.
I might sound condescending but think that during those days how many times we interacted with locals and asked about their culture or how many times we went to a local school and shared what a city life looks like or how many times we avoided noodles to try humble local dish. When minimalism is superceded by consumerism the crises aggravates in the form beyond our perception. In a recent study high amounts of pollutants like sulphur dioxide was found along Manali-Leh highway, major reason being the diesel trucks that ply consumables. Although we pay minute attention to provisions of law but we completely lack awareness of how culture live and interact, how differences are reduced with a smile, that hitch hike has more fun than AC taxi.

Even within these constraints, I hope, many professionals take the time to explore the places they live in. Sometimes, their curiosity would drive them to schedule in a walking tour of the place. For some, a walk in narrow lanes of old Delhi on a quest for ideal food corner is travel, for others it’s sitting on Marine Drive and thinking nothing. It’s only then travel becomes an enriching experience, one where you move beyond notions. Sorry that I got carried away, but next time you return home think of one thing that’ll bring you smile or think of one friend you made while traveling.

Perhaps that fancy page of notebook will inspire you too ‘ travel outside and explore within.

About Author

Chartered Accountant Saw Teesta meet Brahmaputra went from Gangotri till Varanasi. Said goodnight to the Sun in Kutch and then ate breakfast at Ghat Assi. Instagram – sharmaji_whereto

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