Yesterday, I accompanied my sister on the Heritage Walk in Old Ahmedabad. Over the last three years, I think this is my fifth trip to the Heritage Walk. Last year, within a two month period, I went there three times. By the third time, I felt I could fill in as a guide myself. I was totally bored with the place.
And everytime, I would meet the guide. It was the same lady, Urvashi. She is a volunteer who comes every day throughout the year to accompany tourists across the Pols of her city. She manages groups of 150 some days, and a single person some days. She is so familiar with the route, that she talks to all the housewives on her way and is even familiar with who is cooking what for breakfast.
Yesterday, when I was talking to her at the conclusion of the walk, I remarked that I had been coming so regularly on this trip that I had her commentary almost by heart. She laughed and said, yes, its boring to keep talking about the same things everyday, the number of pillars, the carving by wood, the secret passages, the earthquake proof buildings. But everyday, I also learn one new thing from one of the walk participants. That is what keeps me going. And she has been going on, everyday, as far as I can see for the last three years. This is not a paid job for her, this is something she does because she ‘loves her city.’
A couple of weeks ago I was really upset to hear that our gardener Dilip Bhai had passed away. Dilip Bhai is a gardener who has made us invest a fortune in our garden, and we dont even know how to tell roses apart. What made us bear the expense without too much of a grudge was his sheer commitment to the job. He bought in an engineering precision to gardening, once typing up little strings across the lawn to make sure the mud was exactly the same height everywhere. I have never been an outdoors person but his efforts would literally guilt trip me into spending at least five minutes everyday to look for new developments.
People like Urvashi and Dilip Bhai, each in their own way, love what they do. Its a cliche that when you love your work life becomes authomatically interesting all the time. But there is one thing they have made me realize. When there is something you are so passionate about, you have that capacity to draw another person into your world even if only for a moment. I could see what drove each of them. And now I desperately wish I could find that one things in my own life, through which I can draw people into my world for a minute.