It was raining at Ahmedabad in 2005. And surely, it was a lovely rain, as if the rain god had decided to quench the thirst of all its beings. We, a group of young ignited minds, were sitting in a room, engrossed in some ideology discussions of Urban Design at our CEPT boys hostel. Some were bored, some smoked, while some watched the rain outside the window. “Hey guys” a voice came, “Anyone interested for a walk in the rain?” Within a minute the room was empty. That voice was of Anurag Anthony.
Honestly, I had never walked in rain before. I am sure many of those young minds, had watched the rain only from their balcony and windows. Never had any one (even my parents) encouraged me, to get wet by these droplets in open, except for the shower in the bathroom. All of us needed Anurag to help us with this magical experience, as he is the one who will always propose an adventure. That gush of air, those cold water droplets was my first interaction with the nature’s shower. Bliss it was !
To explain his identity and qualities better, I wish to quote another incidence. One day I moved into his hostel room, after my siesta. He was sitting in a corner, near the window, engrossed in some paper. “Cigarette hai?” I asked. He pointed to a table, without even caring to raise his head. Allowing him some privacy, I lit a Classic Milds and settled on the bed. Thoughts of how divine are a noon-sleep crept it, and with it came some laziness. I closed my eyes, for that extra rest. The burn of the cigarette end woke me up. I was amazed to see that Anurag was still engrossed in his paper. My curiosity increased when I realized that he was having a look at a map of roads in India! “Kya hua?” I could not stop asking, “Itne deer se kya dekh raha hai?” He said, “Yaar, sooch raha ho, how much time will it take to travel across all major Indian cities by road? Chalega?” Honestly, was hit by a surprise. But yes, the wheels did roll after some time.
Anurag Anthony is a character, an attitude, who is an instigator, a traveler in core,and a tourist by heart. He is the one who moves the people around him, encouraging them to shed their Laziness and hit the roads. I owe him some of my finest experiences of travelling to lesser known tourist locations. Impetuous one may call, but some tours are better unplanned. Don’t we need such people in our lives, more often?
More so, I believe that India has much more than anyone can formally present. To witness its best, you have to catch it by surprise, under the cover. I remember photographing different colours and styles of men turban, during one such adventurous travel with him. I realised it often that there was so much to see, but alas my Laziness !
I believe, “Laziness” is one of the biggest bottlenecks of tourism and we Indians are among the top in that chart. But we are big followers too ! In the Indian society (may be true for a larger world), I think Anurag would be less than 5% of the population. But they are able to influence at least on an average of 5 people per trip, and 5 trips a year. Now that’s a number ! Why don’t the Travel & tour companies, State tourism boards etc identify these unique target consumer? In my opinion, with Anurag Anthony lies the future of Indian Tourism.
Therefore, we all need a Anurag Anthony to help us. Lets go and search one, in the crowd for ourselves.
We will be a better tourist, for sure. And the rains/monsoons would have been, never so pleasant !
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Photos from: http://o3.indiatimes.com/, http://www.xbhp.com/ , http://www.iloveindia.com/