We are always running around, wanting to accumulate more and more
BOOK: Road Affair
AUTHOR: Tushar Agarwal
PUBLISHER: Heritage Travelogues
Amidst the chaos and the crowd, a new dream was quietly born within me. At first I laughed at it, then I accepted it, finally, I embraced it
Mehru Jaffer Lucknow
It was difficult for this IT consultant to conquer his wanderlust. He gave it all up to travel. In the last year that he has been back in India after having lived all over the world for a decade, he co-founded Adventures Overland, one of the first driving expeditions companies in the country. He also authored Road Affair, his first book on his love for the road.
Once upon a time, Tushar Agarwal was just another rich kid. The 32-year-old software programmer invested in mutual funds, real estate and gold in the hope of being happy. One day, it dawned on him that perhaps the means to happiness was becoming more important than happiness itself. “Amidst the chaos and the crowd, a new dream was quietly born within me. At first I laughed at it, then I accepted it, finally, I embraced it. Before I knew, it became a part of me and I wanted to see it for real. Finally, we met, and since then, I haven’t stopped smiling,” writes Tushar in Road Affair, his maiden book, recently published by Heritage Publishers. Tushar says that he was able to say enough is enough to his previous lifestyle also because his father gave him courage to dream and his mother made his goals her own.
Tushar considers himself lucky to be living his dream of always being on the road. He can’t wait to hit the road in September for a nine-month journey called the ‘Great Indian World Trip’. He will drive 70,000 km through 50 countries and six continents, meeting people of Indian origin in different corners of the world to find out what life is like for Indians living far away from home. The journey will be filmed for a television series and Tushar will also write his second book: Great Indian World Trip. Excerpts from a chit- chat with Hardnews:
At a time when most young people are starry-eyed about being part of high economic growth, what made you give it all up?
I worked in India, Japan, the US and UK for 10 years. I was a seasoned software programmer and focused on earning well, buying a house, travelling abroad, owning everything that everyone around me wanted to own. I was successful in my career as well and had no complaints. However, once I had most of the things that I was struggling to acquire, I realized that it would never be enough. We are always running around, wanting to accumulate more and more. A bigger house, a better car, more savings, staying in a better hotel on the next holiday, buying more expensive clothes. I was working long hours to make more money to climb up the corporate ladder. Gradually, I realized that acquiring all this would not satisfy me, it would never ever be enough. We all want to be happy in life but before we realize it, the means of happiness become more important than happiness itself. Once I realized that nothing is more important than staying happy, I focused on spending time doing what simply made me happy. That is, travelling. I travelled whenever I got the opportunity and realised what a wonderful life it would be if I could continue doing what I love doing and what makes me happy.
It was an easy decision for me to quit my job and give up a lucrative career to pursue my dreams and to spend every minute of my day doing what makes me happy. I feel lucky, I feel fortunate. I feel blessed to be now doing what I really love. I don’t miss my life in the UK or my big salary in pounds because the emotions, the feeling of happiness that I now feel, diminishes everything else that seemed so important before.
Your views on a more wholesome flowering of a human being, including cultural, social and spiritual growth, apart from monetary gains?
I think nothing in life is more important than being happy. If you are happy today, you will more than likely be happy tomorrow. If you are happy, you will be able to make people around you happy. It is like a domino effect. I don’t think it’s that difficult. The most important thing is to know yourself and to be honest with yourself. Once you know what you really want to do with your life, and dedicate your life to doing exactly that, you will instantly feel a weight taken off your shoulders. You will feel happy and you will naturally make others around you happy. For me, that’s the way of life, going to sleep with a smile on your face and waking up with a smile on your face. If you can achieve this, you are doing your bit for your family and for society as well.
India is a young country where nearly 70 per cent of the population is below 30 years of age... what does your wandering around the world say to other youngsters who are queued up to build posh, permanent homes on rich agricultural land?
Someone once said, ‘Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled’. Travelling opens your mind, makes you aware of the world and humbles you. Travelling to remote terrain like Tibet makes you realize that people are happy and content living with the limited means at their disposal. They live in extreme weather conditions, make just about enough money to feed their families, can’t even dream of the amenities that we are used to, but they are content, satisfied and happy with life.
I wish that more and more Indians would travel. It doesn’t have to be abroad, India has so much to offer. I strongly feel that every Indian should at least visit regions like Ladakh and Kashmir, not just to view the incredible landscape but also to see the incredible work and sacrifice of the Indian Army whose men survive hostile conditions and extreme temperatures, living away from their families for years.
Travelling makes you a better human being. It clears your mind, it makes you realize that it’s not that important to spend your life acquiring property and assets, it makes you hungry to see more, experience more, explore more.
What troubles you most about Indian people your age, and what thrills you most about the way India is today?
I think we are wasting precious time running after things that, on the face of it, appear so important but, if you think of it they really don’t add much value to your state of mind. I want to urge the youth of our country to follow their dreams, to break away from norms, to break mental barriers, to not come under society or peer pressure and to do what they really want to do in life. Securities about job, money, savings, future will not seem that important once you start feeling happy inside.
India is not known to be a country of explorers but I think, in the last 10 years or so, we have started travelling a lot; we have started visiting regions that were previously unknown and even unheard of. We are using internet to our advantage and know exactly where we want to go and what we want to do.
I wish we could stop giving too much importance to acquiring assets, jewellery, property, and realize that, no matter how many assets we acquire, they will never be enough. Let’s meet people around the world, let’s try their food, celebrate their festivals. It will all lead to making us better human beings.