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  • Writer's pictureSrinivas Kulkarni

Learnings from the selfless Baaji

Rajasthan, Travel, India, Inspiration, Travel Blogger, Motivational Speaker, Inspiring Stories
Bindaas Baaji

6 days and 7 cities!!! Yes, that was the plan way back in 2009. It was the end of the year and my resolution was already formed. After leaving my mainstream job, I was about to get into a career switch into writing and something more creative. So my resolution was ‘Go With The Flow’ And that’s when we had planned this trip. My best friend and I, on an impromptu on the spur of the moment, hitchhiking or going by any means of transport available across Rajasthan. Initially we had some destinations chalked out and that’s about the planning that we did…

What happened later is another story and the way the entire trip turned out to be was again something very fascinating. Something that made sure that these kind of trips would be my goal for the next few years…

Anyways, so once we reached Udaipur from Mumbai, our plan was to reach Jaisalmer by getting on to a bus. We boarded a local bus that would take us there in a matter of 8 hours or so… But in a bit, we realised that Ajmer and Pushkar were nearby destinations… Well, that was all we needed, we quickly got down and decided to hitchhike to Ajmer… It was quite a task to do so, but we were traveling light so it didn’t quite matter as much. What was really important that if we got to Ajmer on time, we had enough time to visit the Dargah and then head to my friend’s in-law’s place. So that was one reason why we wanted to go to Ajmer first…

All this impromptu madness meant that we didn’t bother thinking about distances calculating time or anything… But thankfully before we went far, we realised since Ajmer was near and my friend had a place there, we could stop there for dinner and then head off to Jaisalmer.   So we waited on the highway, where we had got off for someone to pick us up… Dusty, hot & scorching sun overbearing on our head, we still had no choice but to wait! Within a brief while we saw an Armada Trax..

Immediately we asked him to stop. Turned out, he was a local who ran trips between Udaipur and Ajmer on a regular basis. We quickly hopped on. Besides it the trip didn’t cost more than 90 bucks. The downside of it… The vehicle was awfully crammed… But that’s the fun of it ain’t it?? The bumpy roads at times, the curvy ones too… everything was fun as we were all out on the road. Completely off the hook. Something that we wanted to experience than ‘Luxury Travel’ After all we wanted to get the sense of enjoyment and the local culture.

That is when we met Baaji… The ever smiling, every happy and the most amazing personality on this trip, absolutely made our journey. One look at him and his smile and you can feel the positive vibe and the aura that he carries. I just couldn’t resist taking his picture, I asked him what his name was in Hindi… He couldn’t speak Hindi that well, probably spoke Marwari (Folk language of Rajasthan) and the others told us he’s called ‘Baaji’. He gave us permission to take his snap. He also told the others to tell us that he liked our bags. We had simple backpacks but for whatever reason, he liked our bags…

After a while, there were many people and the entire vehicle was packed. Baaji was sitting at the window seat right next to the door. We covered some distance and at a certain point, there was a middle aged woman standing with two small kids and one baby in her arms. The driver stopped by as it was a remote place. He wanted to ensure that there wasn’t any problem. After a short conversation, we realized that they had to be dropped to a nearby location and that someone had to go on top of the trax…

Before any of us could offer the position, Baaji, quickly got out, made the woman sit inside… Caught hold of the baby and let other kids get in while she made herself comfortable. Since he was the first person near the door, before anyone could react, he had made up his mind to sacrifice his comfort and offer it to the much needed woman. We tried to persuade Baaji to sit inside and that someone else will easily go up there  and sit. To which he smiled and nodded his head and jumped on top of the Armada mumbling something with a smile.  I asked them what he said, and here’s the translation of what he said:     “If you live for others, you really live life. If you live for yourself, then you are really dead…” Truly this was a Bindaas Baaji! One word… “Respect”

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