How I Befriended A Kutchi Septuagenarian Women | Nikhil Manoj Sharma

Imagine you’re too shy to talk and then one fine day you narrow down on a passion to travel solo and decide to come out of the shell. That’s the story of this young solo traveller who has travelled to the white desert to experience friendship and beauty in solitude.

Tell us something about yourself and your background

I’m a 22-year old and an educator by profession, working in Surat. I’m positive about every aspect of life and a kind of introvert person. I have always been a wanderer from my childhood days. I travelled with my grandparents when I was small and now travelling alone or sometimes with friends. Even if I am travelling in a group I find some ways to travel the place alone. Without that I find my trip incomplete.

Travelling for me is always a mystery. I travel in search of something I don’t know. I always get that ‘something’ but again, there is a wanderlust to achieve more.

How many countries and Indian states have you travelled?

I have travelled to Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. When it comes to other country, I have gone to Biratnagar, Nepal! 😀

Any interesting travel moment or incidence

Disclaimer: “My words are not at all sufficient to express the beauty of The Great White Rann.”

Ok. It’s about my trip to Dhordo, Kutch.

I went there for Rann Utsav. It was the month of February. I have to join my brother who was already there in the tent city. I reached Bhuj and wanted to explore the local life there. So I decided to have shuttle transports to reach the tent city. The journey by bus, auto and jeep till Dhordo was very dramatic as I met many people and they were speaking in pure Kachhi language. Being a Marwari it was quite difficult for me to understand their words. Still I managed to make a friend. She was an old lady. I am sure her age would be more than 70. The traditional attire of that lady was making her more graceful. The best part was our communication. What she was saying to me was totally out of my mind because of her pure Kacchi Gujarati language. The only thing I understood that she was talking about black marketing of handicraft goods.

I reached Dhordo in the evening. My brother was waiting for me there. He was not able to book any tent because of the crowd. It was deep winter there. I am really grateful of that auto driver who helped us and managed a hut in the nearby village. Today also I imagine the cold desert and then the auto driver.

Now we were ready to see the beauty of white salt desert in the full moon night. We took the permit from Border security and in the midnight around 1 am I was walking on the white desert. Everything was visible because of moon light. It was salt and salt everywhere. The area, till where I can see was covered with salt. It was as beautiful as snow. The salt was shining because of moonshine. I was away from the world and was feeling the solitude of the beautiful night. Soon at the time of sunrise the horizon was appearing with its extreme beauty. I was walking alone in the deep desert and yes, this is something I wait for on my every trip. You must have seen the pictures but trust me none of the pictures can take you as close as seeing it yourself.

People who have not visited Kutch for them in Mr. Bacchan’s words “Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat mein.”

Most popular places to visit at the destination
Kalo Dungar
Dhordo Rann
Tent City

Tell us about your fears and anxieties when traversing solo. How you keep them at bay?

I used to be a kind of shy person and also there was always this fear of being alone, but solo travelling has helped me a lot to improve. I become more confident when I travel alone as no one is there who know me personally.

What’s your favourite travel quote?

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. :- Robert Frost

⦁ Any travel tips for the readers?
⦁ Plan for your trip properly in advance
⦁ Keep your valuables safe
⦁ Keep updating some of your close friends about the place where you are.
⦁ Be confident and enjoy the moment

Where are you off to next?

A trip to Sikkim is on my hit list. Soon I will be going to Cambodia to see the Angkor Wat temple.