Last year I travelled to my hometown—a lush southern hill station where I no longer have a home. For my summer holiday I stayed at a family friends’ home, which also happens to be one of the first two houses constructed in Kodaikanal back in 1845.
From its antique furniture to its spacious porch to the generations of cats that roam its shola-forested boundary, being at this house felt like living in a parallel universe.
So of course, the first thing I did (after petting the cats) was take a picture. The second thing I did was stop.
This might be my hometown, but it wasn’t my home. It belonged to a family who had spent nearly a century caring for it. Would I, with my “home for two weeks” Instagram caption, somehow undermine this? I couldn’t take the chance. But I would also be lying if I said I didn’t really want to.
So I spent the trip struggling against an impulse that feels like second nature now: populating my social media feed. At the same time, I began to question what this relentless urge to share holiday pictures online does—not only to a place, but to the very concept of a vacation itself.
To read the full story, subscribe to National Geographic Traveller India here.
Richa Kaul Padte
is a writer, editor and the author of Cyber Sexy (Penguin Books 2018). She’s the person sitting next to you with headphones, tea and a book.
Hey there! Like what you see (or not)? Tell us what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.