An Adventure in the Dusty Plains of Punjab

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Yet, there was a time when–despite growing up on a farm in the dusty plains of Punjab–jumping into a tube-well was the very epitome of adventure. Forbidden to the young ladies (read eight & nine-year-olds) of the house, for the sake of safety and propriety, it was nonetheless the very cynosure of their artless and flawed intrigues towards that end.

To watch from afar, as all the kids of the entire universe (so evident to a couple of pairs of envious eyes) gleefully squealed and splashed around in a small reservoir under the full force of surging water, was not only unfair, it was downright cruel! No amount of begging, sulking or tantrums budged the tyrant-parents. Till one summer afternoon, quite unexpectedly, they finally relented.

Bursting with joy, we bounded through the fields–our concerned yet helpless minders trying to keep pace–to promptly experience what thus far had seemed unattainable. I don’t recollect much of what I may have really felt at that time–it has been over three decades since–but that bath remains unparalleled.

It may not quite have been an Elephant Bath or a Polar Plunge; nor for that matter, a Desert Shower. It was, indeed, that defining moment that would come to shape my own life philosophy:  To live, breathe in, and experience every single moment in time; not because I must, or need to, or want to, but because I can. Because I am alive.

Image credit: fellow itinerant Sohail Abid. The photograph is of Kheiwa, that village in Jhang, Pakistan, where Mirza-Sahiban grew up together.

Puneet Sidhu
Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu, travel enthusiast and the author of Adrift: A junket junkie in Europe is the youngest of four siblings born into an aristocratic family of Punjab. Dogged in her resistance to conform, and with parental pressure easing sufficiently over the years, she had plenty of freedom of choice. And she chose travel.

She was born in Shimla, and spent her formative years at their home, Windsor Terrace, in Kasumpti while schooling at Convent of Jesus & Mary, Chelsea. The irrepressible wanderlust in her found her changing vocations midstream and she joined Singapore International Airlines to give wing to her passion. She has travelled extensively in Asia, North America, Australia, Europe, South Africa and SE Asia; simultaneously exploring the charms within India.

When she is not travelling, she is writing about it. Over the past decade or so, she has created an impressive writing repertoire for herself: as a columnist with Hindustan Times, as a book reviewer for The Tribune and as a contributor to travel magazines in India and overseas. Her work-in-progress, the documenting of colonial heritage along the Old Hindustan-Tibet Road, is an outcome of her long-standing romance with the Himalayas.

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