If I had not gone travelling


Some people believe in fate, some in God and some in the universe. I believe in decisions, ones that send you off in a direction just because it seems like a good idea. I do not plan the detail. I go in search of inspiration and then I watch the magic happen.

If I had not gone travelling two years ago, I would never have finished my book which led on to opening so many more doors for me. If I had not gone to India, I would not have met my friends the Sharmas, who inspired me to start an organic clothing company, and then following a brief meeting with a young couple from Canada who encouraged me to use a health care product which led on to me losing 22k and improve my health. My network has grown as I have made friends with fellow travellers and got into some incredible conversations along the way, broadening my passion for new stories.

It is not only about the places we visit, the pictures we save on our cameras and the memories we make. Travelling can be instrumental in re-routing your future. It is about what happens next and where the experience leads you, that is the part which inspires me to jump on a plane and embark on a new adventure.

I said yes recently to some friends who invited me on a trip to the Punjabi region of India. One of the places I visited was Chandigarh. My first impression as we entered the suburbs was how clean and planned out it all was. Am I still in India, I joked as we pulled up to some red traffic lights and everyone stopped and obeyed the rules? I am told this is a most perfectly planned out city in India. Early master plans for the city were prepared by Le Corbusier, a Swiss/French architect. A famous name I was aware of. Reported as the cleanest and happiest city in India, confirms my theory that you always feel happier when you have cleared up.  India has a problem with litter, it is not alone in the world, unfortunately, I have seen too much litter in other countries and the problem is one that could so easily be changed. It requires a change of attitude and that can take some time.  But we are not here to spend all our time in the city as I am already suspecting that I shall be coming back here.

‘I am going to introduce you to a very charming gentleman who is organising a festival here. He is connected to royalty” my friend tells me. We are meeting him for lunch at his golf club.  Oh dear, I feel a shopping trip coming on for some smarter clothes.  I have only travel clothes with me, the type needed for jumping on dusty trains and also sleeping in. Fitting this all in a busy schedule took priority, I was not going to turn up looking like a tramp.

Karanvir Singh Sibia greeted us with a warm handshake and a smile. I immediately felt at ease as we engaged in polite conversation. He explains that he comes from the village of Sangrur and is the festival director of the Sangrur Heritage and Literary festival. As we sit down to share a meal at his beautiful golf club surroundings I cannot help to feel the atmosphere and past influences of colonial days as we talk about books we have read and the ones we are still writing. Karanvir is presently writing his second book “Punjab’s Royal Heritage. Our Pride.

“Do you know Shakespeare? I ask him, to which his response lit up his eyes.

‘Of course, we love Shakespeare in India’.

I tell him about my son who is a classical actor. Karanvir suggests my son Joe should come to India and bring a Shakespeare cast with him.  Now there is a good idea.

We are invited the next day to see his village and we are picked up from our hotel by a friend of his who is also going that way. The trip will take us a couple of hours and I have no idea where we are going.  Our first stop will be to look at a school, of which Karanvir is a trustee. We are guided into the head master’s office and given chai and biscuits. A huge painting of an Indian general hangs high over his desk.  The children are outside and they are about to put on a nativity play which at first amused me but then I am informed that the Head Master is a Christian.  Although I had come to India to avoid Xmas, it seemed to be everywhere, I still could not help a few tears whilst watching the children sing Silent Night. Am I feeling a tad homesick, I wonder?

Karanvir could not join us but made sure we were well looked after. We were taken for lunch and then taken to see some heritage properties in a beautiful park Banasar Bagh.  It was there as I was walking in and out of the abandoned royal buildings, I could visualise a beautiful idea.

Would it not be amazing for my son to have the chance to perform some of the most famous plays in the world, right in this location?.  I texted him a photo. I have found a stage for you, I wrote.

To make something like that happen, we have to dream it first. We then suggest it and stand back.

Meetings have followed with a filmmaker in India.

My son has already spoken with a Canadian director.

They are talking about raising funds, and now who knows where this piece of inspiration is going to lead to. It would be an incredible opportunity to bring a young cast to India to experience the merging of cultures through theatre and performance. We need more international projects, especially for young actors, starting out. Anyone reading this who thinks they could possibly help with this project, please contact me.

So if you are visiting India, look up Sangrur and take yourself there. It is one of the most beautiful places I have been to. Oozing tranquillity without question, you will find yourself walking through poetry.

If I had not gone travelling I would have missed out on this magical place and never been inspired to suggest this idea. Maybe it won’t happen but maybe it will and we will be able to share the magic of Sagrur to others who are just waiting to travel here but just don’t know it yet.

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