I come from a traditional Indian family, both my parents are religious and growing up we endorsed many Hindu traditions. We went to temple, we celebrated Navratri and Diwali. I’m not very religious but I believe in god and go to temple and other religious institutions. I find peace sitting inside a cathedral or church. I don’t think god minds which religious institution you go to or if you’ve read the holy book. It’s more about what kind of person you are and karma. I strongly believe in what goes around, comes around.
I learnt a lot from my dad growing up. He is very much a man of principle and standing up against any kind of injustice. He was the one who taught me to think and believe that I could be better. As he would say, if she can so it, I can do better. Now, for a long time it was hard to believe this or even try and live by it. But growing up he motivated us to do better, to be better and to believe that there was no such word as can’t. He wanted us to be the best we could be and to give it our all.
My dad is also a man of humour. He didn’t waste any given opportunity to crack a joke and make those around him laugh. He found humour in many situations and has no trouble in making people he hardly knows at ease. I get make sarcasm from him. It’s also thanks to him that I stand by the policy; either I should be laughing or I should be making others laugh. I like to see the funny side in matters, in any difficult, awkward situation. When I’m nervous, I cope best by making myself laugh. Along my travels I have shared numerous jokes and had some beautiful moments of heart felt laughter. Finding the humour or the lighter side in situations is contagious. Others around me soon understand and see the humour. No matter where I go or what I’m planning, I have my dad’s voice, his advice and words of encouragement in my head.
My mum is a remarkably strong, determined women. She spent most our childhood and adolescent encouraging us and supporting us reach our true potential. She is a fighter and in turn she taught us to fight and stand up for what we believed in. I did just that only trouble is, we have different beliefs and unfortunately what I deem important isn’t the same for her. I appreciate she struggles with me travelling and living my life independently because this is frowned upon my others and our society at large.
She is nonetheless a caring and loving mum. She is kind and supportive. She has continuously helped others financially and by donating food and clothes. She is both shy and soft especially amongst children or vulnerable people. I get my shyness from her along with her stubbornness. She is determined that she is right as am I. She won’t shift or try to understand why I want to travel and explore other cities. I appreciate that she can’t accept what I’m doing but if she could see things from where I’m sat it would certainly help. I understand and accept her position along with my dad’s. Part of me wishes it was easier for them, that they didn’t take it so personally but this day is yet to come.
My older sister, Rhaynukaa was one of the loudest and confident women I knew growing up. She has a natural charisma to engage people in a conversation with ease. I would say she is a extrovert, a people person, never shy or uncomfortable in social situations. I have always admired this quality about her. I’m a part time introvert and certainly shy in social settings. I get tongue tied and anxious depending on who I’m with. Also, I wasn’t a very confident individual growing up and only more recently has this changed.
My younger sister, Seema, is my best friend, my wise old owl and my person. Truly blessed to have her in my life as my sister. Growing up, sure we fought but my the time we were eleven we were friends. We went to the same school and we had each others back. Most friends I knew didn’t get along with siblings, in fact it was uncool but Seema and I, well we were an exception. We had our own thing, people often mistook us for twins, if one of us was sick, the other would follow shortly after. We sounded the same and dressed the same. She again, like Rhaynukaa, is confident and loud. I spent my time volunteering at organisations, supporting people while she was doing internships with law firms and interviewing famous actors. We really are chalk and cheese, so different but we get along so well.
Seema met her awesome husband at university and are relationship changed. We were no longer a duo, the dynamics changed and whilst it was hard for me because I was really attached to Seema, I was happy for her. Our relationship changed for the better. She got married four years ago and I couldn’t be happier for her. I moved out the year after she got married and lived with one of her university friends, Suzi. Having lived out before, I knew I would be fine, it was the beginning of a new chapter. Living in central London was ideal for work and university. Plus, whilst Suzi and I were never best friends we had a connection. I had another great sister.
Being on the road and away from family for over two years is hard. I’ve been asked on numerous occasions if I miss my family and yes, of course I do. I think about them or hear their voice in many situations. More importantly, I wish I could have shared some of the awesome moments with them. So yes, it’s hard, it’s sad and at times lonely but then there are all the amazing people I’ve met on the road, my new friends and family that I now have all around the world. My family has grown along with my friend circle, I make friends when I least expect it and at times when I most need one. I know I have some lasting friendships because I still talk to many of the friends I made along the way and those back home. Here’s to all the amazing friends we have and love.