What would you say if I told you it was possible to meet someone three times, in three different countries almost completely by chance?
In December 2015 I took the brave step of travelling to
India alone. At the time, people told me I was mad. They said it wasn’t a safe
place for a woman and that I’d feel lonely spending Christmas away from my family. Still, I was determined to go on my little adventure. Having spent some time alone in
Delhi, I joined a group tour, that would take me through the states of
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
The tour guide for this trip was a man named Dushyant. For
15 days we travelled through parts of Northern and Central India and Dushyant
made sure that we had the most authentic experience possible. From recommending
good clean restaurants, to introducing us to local people he had designed an
experience that we simply could not have found for ourselves. On Christmas day
in Varanasi, he found the only Christian restaurant in the City and we enjoyed
a night of festive gaiety, surrounded by tacky Christmas decorations and a make-shift crib, all while dressed in a traditional Indian Sari!
Christmas Eve 2015
On our last night of the tour, Dushyant gave a toast to our
new found friendships and concluded that although we were all from diverse
backgrounds, we should remember that this World is round and we never know
where or when we could meet again.
Little did I know, that a year later we would in fact meet
again while we were both far from home. In November, we both found ourselves
in London for business reasons and thanks to the technology of Facebook, we
managed to connect and meet for a brief coffee and a catch up. It was fantastic
to see each other again and we both remembered the speech on the last night
of our tour. The World is indeed round.
Not one month later, I got another message from Dushyant. “I
am coming to Dublin” he said. Of course I couldn’t possibly have turned down
the opportunity to give him the Céad Míle Fáilte and show him around my home town as he had his.
On a cold
December day in Dublin, we embarked on a whistle-stop tour of some of the Cities landmarks, including a walk in St Stephen’s Green, a glance at the Christmas
lights on Grafton Street and visits to Trinity College and Christchurch. We saw
Molly Malone and the Ha’penny bridge and of course soaked in the atmosphere of
a live music gig in the Temple Bar pub. The latter was essential, given that the Temple Bar was featured in the set of a Bollywood Movie (Who knew?). We finished
our day with a meal in a vegan restaurant before saying good bye for the third
The Temple Bar Pub, A Bollywood icon!
I was so happy that I could repay Dushyant for the kindness
of showing me a side to India I would not have seen on my own. As it turns out
he was right. The World is round and the people that we meet on our travels are
never as far away as we might think.