I wrote this as a guest post for a friend quite some time ago on her blog, here.

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You don’t “take” a vacation. A vacation “takes” you where you need to be. So says me and my recent excursion to Delhi.

In the travel-map of my mind, my vacations are not labelled by what I did and where I went. They are defined by how they made me feel. My trip to Coorg last year, has “Peaceful” written in red, bold font on the travel-map of my mind. And now, my trip to Delhi has “Charmed” stamped all over it. That’s how I came back from the capital—charmed.

A snapshot of the work at Qutub Minar!

Customary as it is, on a trip to Delhi, I made my way to all the notable monuments. I wasn’t expecting to be bowled over by the architecture. In fact, I wasn’t expecting anything from them. I wasn’t hoping history to awash me with its long-standing story-telling. I wasn’t hoping to be floored by the intricate work on them. I wasn’t expecting to be greeted by gigantic bookmarks in the big red book of time. But I was. I was washed away by the life-size story each monument recounts when you stand in front of it. I was floored by the attention to detail given that they didn’t even have the “tools” we do now. (However, I am guessing, they were way ahead of their times than we are now.) I was shadowed by the bookmarks that the monuments have now become; not withering, not stooping, but standing tall and proud. Honestly, I was simply and as easily charmed by a glib lover courting an innocent damsel. It was that easy. And I find it hard not to be possessed by mastery of a kind that stands so beautiful over the years and still doesn’t fail to attract oneself to its grandeur. Each monument made me feel insignificant; among other things. I felt tiny; like I hadn’t put my life to good enough use. But at the same time, they instilled in me a feeling I haven’t been able to shake off till today—that if life is worth living at all, it is worth living well. That life is in the details; it is in dedication and hard work. That life is nothing more than a vision—our vision. And it would be worth our time to visualize well, dream big and then, do it. After all, like Tyler Durden said in Fight Club, “This is your life and it is ending one minute at a time.” I’d add to it and say, “Why not make it worthwhile?”

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I’m not the kind of person who would read a book twice. Or so I thought. Until I read To Kill A Mockingbird. And until, I re-read it. Harper Lee wrote just one book in her lifetime and it won the Pulitzer. There is no wonder why (if you’ve read the book, of course). I think To Kill A Mockingbird is a lesson—to humanity; on how humanity should conduct itself. What’s more is that the book isn’t preachy. It never once tells you what you should or shouldn’t do. It just narrates a story; in the words of a little girl (Scout) and makes you wonder in silent shame why we’ve gotten this way. However, this remorse doesn’t last long as with every little incident, Lee, through the eyes of Scout tells us how there is still hope and there is still love. In just children, maybe. For me, To Kill A Mockingbird is like shade under a tree; calming and full of relief. It provides us with a place to rest before we can get up and run the race again. What I love, love, love about the book is that it wasn’t intended to be a sermon. Also, what I love about Lee is that she wrote just this one book and it has been done with such finesse you might as well think she published a volume of other kid stories before she got here. Only that she didn’t. That makes me respect her. A lot. It makes me respect her work and her will to be who she is today—she is To Kill A Mockingbird. I’m guessing that was her vision—and boy, did she arrive in style!

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I’d like to wrap this post up with a verse I once read, long ago. It seems only fitting.

Work while you work
Play while you play
One thing a time
That is the way.
All that you do
Do with your might
Things done by halves
Are not done right.

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Here’s to ourselves and the grand life we live or are about to live. Here’s to the human spirit and to hope. Here’s to making this life worth the while!