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Unlike her earlier version where she trotted behind her husband as he steered the travel plan, she is today a well-informed co-traveller. Often, she decides the itinerary and the “top ten things to do”.
She is beautiful. She is incredible. She is boisterous. The middle-aged Indian woman traveller has arrived, and how!
With wind-blown L’Orealed hair, goofy tinted shades, a pair of comfortably cushioned Adidas, and a well-fitting Utsa kurta from Westside, she travels with gay abandon.
Her travel gusto shatters to smithereens westernised rules for ‘appropriate’ dressing. Sports shoes and sarees?
So, what?! Her panache shrugs off all restrictions. For her it’s all about comfort – to trek up to the sunset point. It is now comfort over conformity.
She is no longer the unsure, wobbling-on-the-wrong-side-of-fifty behenji of yore. She is the new come-of-age bundle of potent energy with the enthusiasm of an eager beaver.
Armed with Google and an itinerary to check off the boxes, she dons the cap of a tourist marching from one place to the other. She is equally at ease as she slips into the skin of a traveller winding down a packed day of sight-seeing in a café whose 4.5 ratings have lured her up the steep mountain road. She knows because she has checked the reviews.
Unlike her earlier version where she trotted behind her husband as he steered the travel plan, she is today a well-informed co-traveller. Often, she decides the itinerary and the “top ten things to do”. She is equipped for the long haul, again shattering the myths of aging. In her sturdy North Face backpack – yes, the one she has specifically bought for her many travels – she has an adequate supply of water, mukhwas, wet wipes, pantyliners, Tiger Balm, Pudin Hara, Sunscreen, Volini spray, Band-aid and a Swiss knife set.
Her penchant for looking and feeling good while travelling ensures that she has at hand a make-up kit and hair accessories. Without the slightest inhibition, she poses for selfies. She does not let a single photo opportunity slip by, even if she has to request someone else to click her photograph. Her travels are as Instagrammable as her daughter’s or daughter-in-law’s.
She shops greedily, first for herself at the craft bazaars. She tries on pieces of jewellery and preens in front of the mirror that the shop keeper holds up for her. Only then does she move on to pick up gifts and souvenirs for the family back home. First among equals!
Whether travelling solo or with family, she is resolute in her mission – to make the most of it. She unabashedly asks for loo stops along the way, even if it entails a slight detour. Again, comfort over conformity.
It is not uncommon to find her as a part of a larger she-gang. Dressed alike in T-shirts that tell the onlooking world that they are ‘best friends forever’, they hop, skip and jump into their slice of the sunset.
Amongst this gang’s admirers are other women travelling with families. These women watch in awe as the she-gang moves as one spirited wave, infectious and inspirational. The onlookers make a silent pledge to soon go on an all-girls vacation. The influencers are not naïve to the urge they have sown in the hearts of their soul sisters. It is their joyous way of passing the baton.
The middle-aged Indian woman is not just here to stay. With ants in her pants, she is on the go. Draped in her favourite saree, she is leaving her footprint on the global tourism map. Catch her if you can!
Image source: shutterstock
I am a writer and I love to play the narrator of human experiences, transporting readers to a place where the lives of strong people with endearing flaws entwine in equally intriguing plots and landscapes. read more...
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