Father’s Day: The Best of Your Travel Memories with Dad

Midnight train rides and road trip revelations, adventure week in Bali and serial safaris in Assam—we've compiled a collage of travel memories starring our readers and their fathers.  
Father's Day: The Best of Your Travel Memories with Dad 12
Photo by: Mark Zhu/ Shutterstock

Travelling with your father can be exhilarating and grounding at once. The bickering joy is of sharing an unfamiliar space, and the reassurance, of knowing that no matter how much you lock horns, you are still going home together. Smuggling out some dad-time—perhaps an aimless amble through your neighbourhood, or a jungle holiday painstakingly planned—can rake up astonishing details about your old man. Our readers, it would seem, agree. 

We bring you your stories… of museums and ski slopes, old forts and dazzling new rituals. But mostly of memories that endured.  Happy Father’s Day!   

 

Mohammad Rashid, Delhi, India

The Bicycle Diaries

When Rashid was infected by polio at the age of two, he lost his ability to walk, let alone travel long distances. Not one to give up, his father did everything possible, from massaging his legs to consulting doctors, leading to him regaining mobility after years of being bed-ridden. That’s when the adventures began. Nothing too out of the way—every day Rashid would sit on the back of a bicycle as Abba-ji took the middle child to school, some six kilometres from their Nawabganj home in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. “He would ask: Beta, do you want to ride a motorcycle? Everyday, for a little while, he would paddle as hard as he could, and give me the thrill of a cool ride,” recalls the doctor who now works in Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. The strong-willed personality of his father sparked a zeal for both travel and knowledge in 10-year-old Rashid, a fire he carries around years after losing him.

 

Father's Day: The Best of Your Travel Memories with Dad 10

Photo courtesy: Mohammad Rashid (left), Shantanu Kumar (right)

 

Steven Earl Rich, Fort Wayne, U.S.A.

A Bus Excursion to Canada 

After all this time, it’s hard to be sure. Steven Earl Rich pins the year of the big bus excursion with his dad somewhere between 1969 and 1971. One of those years, the softball team from the Baltimore social club The Finos, of which Steven’s dad was a part, sponsored a trip to Canada. “When the men told me I was coming with them, I thought they were joking,” the 62-year-old looks back. But they weren’t, and the trip to Montreal ended up being one roaring adventure. The party travelled through Albany and Schenectady and even made a stop at Quebec, halting at places to load up on local grubs. “Canadian bacon, eggs, grits and toast for breakfast. Steak, spaghetti, seafood and french fries for dinner—a journey with my dad, whom I loved dearly, couldn’t have been any better,” Steven remisces.

Mansi Chandra, Delhi, India

Life, and Other Things to Remember

This may not be your usual travel story, but it involves a train and a guest house; it starts in Kochi and (almost) ends in Goa. This story stars 22-year-old Mansi Chandra’s father, who was, in his daughter’s words, a man of “extraordinary courage”. “With his chronic diseases of 15 years, our travel plans were mostly dependent on the availability of dialysis,” says Mansi. On one such trip, when her dad was set to leave a Kochi hospital for a few restful days in Goa, he almost missed the train. “He, along with my mother, was at the hospital, while my relatives and I were already on the train. They managed to make it to the station last minute, and how they ran! Both of them,” she recalls. “With bandaged arms and a weak body, he was still strong. Later, in the Goa guesthouse, he asked me a question he reserved for such trips: Will you remember me?” In his quiet strength, Mansi’s father made sure she remembers much more.

 

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Photo courtesy: Varun Chopra (top), Nishith Anshu (bottom)

 

Shreya Dave, Vaodara, India

Good Old Railway Magic  

Born and raised in Gujarat, 10-year-old Shreya Dave knew precious little about South India, or its languages. That changed when her father took her on a winding Konkan Railway trip in 1997, teaching her about the different local languages as their train, which had started from Gandhinagar in Gujarat and passed through Maharashtra, rumbled through the lush vistas of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu “I picked up a few words from each state, and he also introduced me to chess,” she says, remembering the special magnetic chess board they had carried to be able to play inside rattling compartments. “Breakfast idlis and cutlets from the pantry, zooming green window scenes, nariyal pani at the stations, and through it all my dad, accompanying me on my life’s first adventure—that trip was like no other,” Shreya admits.

 

Father's Day: The Best of Your Travel Memories with Dad 6

Photo courtesy: Mishty Sablok

Father's Day: The Best of Your Travel Memories with Dad 5

Photo courtesy: Shreya Dave

 

Ankita Santra, Hyderabad, India

A Red Cable Car Ride

In the summer of 1993, Ankita Santra bagged many of her life’s firsts. Then only 3-4 years old, the memory of a family trip to the holy city of Haridwar are gauzy, but some parts she cannot forget. It was her first long journey, her first time seeing the teeming ghats of Ganga, and also her very first ropeway ride. “Back then my favourite colour was red, (also the colour of the cable car), and I loved the ride so much, Baba took me twice!” says Ankita. She also remembers losing her foothold on the mossy steps of the ghats, and her father catching her.

 

Varun Chopra, Patiala, India

Sunsets in the Wild 

Varun Chopra had travelled with his father, a young-at-heart wildlifer, many times before. But their 2014 safari of Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand, was one heady romp. The fun had started long before they reached the gateway town of Ramgarh, for the dad-and-son drove down all the way from Patiala. Zipping past key stops such as Ambala, Saharanpur, Haridwar, and Najibabad, they feasted on giant portions of North Indian chicken curry and tandoori roti at roadside restaurants. Having chosen forest rest houses in the deeper recesses of the national park for their accommodation, the stay itself was filled with wild scents and sounds. On the safaris, mostly in authorised government jeeps, sightings were abundant—spotted deer, langur, mountain birds, and even a sauntering Royal Bengal Tiger. At one rest house, the staff offered lip-smacking khichdi and egg curry, at another, stories of hunting and close encounters. At an hour when it’s easy to get swept up in the rush of ‘big sightings’, Varun saw his dad admiring the minute details of nature, wildflowers and sunsets. That it was their last trip together made it special in hindsight, but the 38-year-old wildlife photographer remembers their jungle jaunt as a time when he discovered his father’s curious heart.

 

Father's Day: The Best of Your Travel Memories with Dad 2

Photo courtesy: Ankita Santra (left), Pratiksha Manikar (right)

 

Pratiksha Mainkar, Mumbai, India

Of Castles and Waterfalls

What holiday would not be memorable when it involves castles, waterfall treks and the flavours of Khasi cuisine? For Pratiksha Mainkar, a trip to Meghalaya with her father in 2019 reinstalled her “curiosity of travel and adventure”. The Mumbai professional planned it as the family’s breakaway trip amid the Northeastern splendour, even splurging on a stay at the century-old Tripura Castle in Shillong, since “parents rarely do nice things for themselves.”  Along the way, they soaked in the serenity of natural water bodies—Umiam Lake, Dainthelen Falls, Nohkalikai Falls, Dawki Lake, Wei Sawdong and others. “By the time we came to Wei Sawdong, I was exhausted and dreaded the idea of hauling myself up the steep path that leads to the waterfall,” Pratiksha says. Enter, father, who insisted that the trick is to trek slow and steady. “Thanks to the enthu cutlet that he is, I ended up pushing myself. It turned out to be the most beautiful of the lot,” she recalls.

 

Mahima Srivastavaa, Delhi, India

London Whoops-a-daisy

When Mahima Srivastavaa’s dad took her on her first trip outside India in 2004, she was a bundle of excitement. London, to the then eight-year-old, was a curious melting pot of wax star parades (Madame Tussauds) and some delish dal makhani (Mint Leaf Lounge), of all things! Everything was peachy, until they went to see the famous Change of Guard Ceremony at Buckingham Palace. “I was small, thin and curious, and as a result, got my head stuck between the grills of the palace gates,” she laughs, recalling her father’s amused exasperation at this feat. They did manage to quickly extricate her and carry on with the day, but the royal goof-up in the home of Big Ben remains Mahima’s favourite travel moment with her father.

 

Father's Day: The Best of Your Travel Memories with Dad 3

Photo courtesy: Dhanya Venkatesh (left), Prajukti Sen (right)

 

Dhanya Venkatesh, Bengaluru, India

Istanbul on Foot

In the winter of 2017, when Dhanya Venkatesh’s father proposed they travel together, she was a tad skeptical. “Growing up, he was a strict parent,” explains the Bengaluru resident, who ended with him in Istanbul, exploring it on foot over long, directionless walks. it was his idea to experience one city instead of visiting many. “We strolled the streets of İstiklal, spent hours admiring the Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque, sifted through spice markets, and shopped for souvenirs at the Grand Bazaar,” she says. Watching a local ice-cream vendor juggle treats, Dhanya spotted a child in her stern parent. Like the coffee they downed with sticky-sugary kanafeh—”sitting at corner cafes, admiring the beautiful Turkish men and women”—the slow intensity of the trip was hard to wash off. Before returning, Dhanya gifted her dad a Turkish Hammam experience (a traditional bath). It sealed the deal with her new “travel partner”.

 

Reshmi K.R., Calicut, India

Maruti 800 and a Chance Encounter

“Back in ’98, when my parents bought a Maruti 800, they decided to go on a road trip from Calicut to Mysore,” shares Reshmi K.R. As they passed Bandipur National Park, some elephants appeared suddenly to their left. Prepared to put a safe distance between their car and the wild herd, Reshmi’s dad sped up, “pressed the accelerator and shot up the clean road”. But when her mother, keen on a closer look, protested, he agreed to turn back—”stopping short at a respectable distance”. There the family sat bunched up in their new car, mesmerised by another. Years later, Reshmi  sees her father’s characteristic mix of enthusiasm and self-restraint reflected in that moment of “calculated risk”.

 

Father's Day: The Best of Your Travel Memories with Dad 7

Photo courtesy: Praveen Nuthalapati

Shantanu Kumar, Mumbai, India

My Old Man and the Sea

Shantanu Kumar always suspected that even though his ex-navy dad left the seas, the sea never really left him. So after years of listening to stories of “stern captains and ship camaraderie,”  he colluded with siblings to book the family a voyage to Lakshadweep, on the grand M.V. Kavaratti. “The energy my dad acquired the moment he set foot on the ship was palpable. He was grinning all the time, spouting technical terms as if he has always lived on this ship,” jests the Mumbai resident. The sailor was at sea again, and he couldn’t be happier to guide his kids around the vessel, explaining the challenges and quirks of life aboard. One night, at 4 am, the two came up to the deck. It was starry, windy, and very quiet. “As we stood looking out, he talked about his friends from the ship, some of whom he’d recently managed to reconnect with,” Shantanu recalls. “See, my dad had to leave that life for crucial reasons—he retired as a banker. Seeing how much he missed the high made me realise the importance of chasing my dreams,” admits Shantanu.

Praveen Nuthalapati, Guntur, India

Temple Run

There’s no debating that Praveen Nuthalapati’s itchy feet are a gift from papa. Growing up, what he thought to be frequent spiritual trips taken by his family, actually hid his father’s robust love for Indian history and culture—now a treasured inheritance. A few years back, when the 32-year-old was working out of Goa, his father planned a meet-me-there trip to Gokarna. Meet they did, and soon the two embarked on their first father-son trip across Karnataka. From Hampi to Murudeshwar, they travelled without itirenary or agenda. Praveen says, “That trip made me realise two things: One, he has a deep understanding of our vast cultural wealth. Two: He loves sharing it with me.”

 

Nicole Ferreira, Toronto, Canada

Biker’s Paradise

All fathers are superheroes for their kids, and Nicole Ferreira’s dada even sports the coolness of one. “Road trips have always been a part of our travels,” says Nicole, “but this trip we took in 2017 was extra-special, because we spent a years planning it. The two meticulously outlined details of their bucket list journey from Mumbai (where they then lived) to Kashmir, and onwards to Leh & Ladakh.” For Nicole, her adventure began the minute 50-year-old Daddy Cool rented a bike, and they began riding across the challenging and stunning mountain terrain, all the way to Khardung-La. In true fatherly fashion, he ensured every place his daughter wanted to visit was covered, and no local food was missed out on.

 

Aeshwarya Chaturvedi, Dubai, U.A.E.

From Delhi to Dubai

By his own admission, Aeshwarya’s story doesn’t count so much as a travel story so much as a moving-places story, but then again, how would an eight-year-old kid know the difference? In the sweltering summer of 1998, Aeshwarya’s family left their family home in Delhi and moved to Dubai. “All I knew was that I wasn’t living with my cousins anymore and living with a joint family in Delhi hadn’t taught us how to make many friends,” he says. The glittering metropolis held his attention though: with its skyscrapers, shiny cars, shopping malls, and an apartment with a swimming pool! It was in that pool that his dad taught him how to swim. That summer was full of other firsts, from an airplane ride to the now-indispensable Middle-Eastern cuisine. Over time, the family travelled to the other Emirates as well, but it is those first two months in Dubai that remain imprinted in Aeshwarya’s mind.

 

Father's Day: The Best of Your Travel Memories with Dad 1

Photo courtesy: Aeshwarya Chaturvedi (left), Nicole Ferreira (right)

 

Nishith Anshu, Pune, India

Star-gazing, Still

“Delhi to Delhi, via Shimla, Kaza, Manali, Leh, Kargil, Srinagar, and Jalandhar—on our bikes.” That is how Nishith Anshu describes the epic expedition with his father, taken in June 2019. It was on this trip that the father and son discovered a common love other than their shared bug for riding. It took multiple flights,15 days and 4,200 kilometres on the road for the duo to discover that they both love the night sky. “Sharing a place under the clear, star-lit skies of Sarchu (on the Leh-Manali Highway) somehow strengthened our bond. Now we get together to star-gaze from our balcony,” says the 36-year-old.

Father's Day: The Best of Your Travel Memories with Dad 11

Photo courtesy: Reshmi K.R.

Prajukti Sen, Kolkata, India

A Historical Extravaganza

Back in December 2018, Prajukti Sen made a “not-so-short road trip” from Kolkata to Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh with her parents. Being history buffs, they made a visit to Khajuraho, Allahabad, Chitrakoot and Maihar, and made as many stops as they could along the way. From finding the Pandavas lair in Panna forest to imagining battles in Kalinjar Fort, their trip was rich with tales from Indian history and culture. “We celebrated Christmas with cake at a roadside dhaba near Varanasi, wished New Year’s Eve at the Sasaram Toll Plaza and lost Internet services at places we needed it the most. In what can be called the best kind of detours, I learnt that I always wanted to be the Timon to my father’s Pumbaa,” says Prajukti.

 

Mishthy Sablok, Delhi, India

Amritsar Without a Map

A  Delhi-born Punjabi, Mishthy Sablok had never been to Amritsar until 2015. But then again, neither had she packed her bags not knowing where she was headed, or boarded an express train without prior reservation. “Don’t ask too many questions; we are going for a day and you are going to love it,” is all that her dad would reveal. Her dad also insisted they travel in the general compartment, hustling for seats or just standing at a vantage point, watching fields of green and gold fly by. In Amritsar, her father’s agenda was clear: “He wanted to show me the real Punjab”. Besides a customary visit to the Golden Temple, this included brushes with langars (religious community kitchens), kar sevas (selfless service), shabad kirtans (singing of religious hymns)and a whole lot of food. Amritsari kulcha and pindi chana, soya chaap and creamy lassi, Mishthy’s adventurous dad made sure to avoid full meals at any one place, so the two could go food-hopping. “In the bustling bazaars of Amritsar, I bought my first phulkari,” says Mishthy–one of the many rewards for having trusted her dad’s crazy impulses.

 

Father's Day: The Best of Your Travel Memories with Dad 4

Photo courtesy: Paripsa Pandya (left), Mahima Srivastavaa (right)

 

Paresh Ramesh Bhave, Pune, India

Retro Road trip

May, 1987, summer holidays. A father and son drove from Pune to Bombay in their old Fiat, just the two of them. For Paresh Ramesh Bhave, no travel memory can shine brighter than that of his first road trip with his father, now a colourful, sensory deposit of sights, sounds and smells. Paresh still remembers the thrill of pumping petrol together, the fudgy sweetness of Cooper’s chikkis picked up from Lonavala, or the spicy batata vadas they hogged in Khandala. “He just announced it one evening, and we were off on our big adventure. It was the first time I saw the chill side of my dad,” reminisces Paresh. In the city, the two walked the streets of South Bombay, shopping at Fashion Street, gorging on keema pav from Cafe Military, and sipping juice at Haji Ali. Thirty-three summers later, Paresh insists it was a day of magic, never to happen again. 

 

Komal Shetty, Mumbai, India

A Change of Plan and Heart

In 2016, the Shetty family’s longstanding summer ritual of travelling to their native place in Mangalore took an unexpected turn. Komal had every intention of foiling the trip—it is, after all, taken every year—convincing her dad, who was to join the family later, to let her hang back and tag along. “I was sure my devious plan had succeeded when we could not get flight tickets; this was at a point when my mom and sister were already there,” says Komal. But her father had other plans. A 16-hour car ride from Mumbai to Mangalore, to be exact. What was once dreaded soon turned into a chai-pakoda-Beyonce-Kishore Kumar-filled fun fest, as stories were traded by the dozen. “Sixteen years in the same house with this person, yet on that trip I noticed how his eyes twinkle each time he repeats those childhood stories of travelling with his father,” she  recalls. So fantastic was the ride, that she even carried out her Dhaba-spotting duties dilligently. “I’d do it again. And now I also like Mangalore,” quips Komal.

 

Father's Day 2

Photo courtesy: Ketki Dongare (left), Komal Shetty (right)

 

Sohail Inzaman, Delhi, India

Call of the Wild 

Sohail Inzaman can safely pin his love for wildlife on his father, an officer of Environment and Forest in Guwahati, Assam. But while the duo has shared many a jeep rides through the forests of the Northeast, their impromptu five-national-park itinerary from 2019 remains unbeaten. “I was all set to book a forest bungalow when my dad decided to join,” says Inzaman, who had gone home between semesters to catch a green break. The next few days were a whirl of autumn wilderness—four rounds of safari at Manas National Park; cooking up a feast in the forest guard’s kitchen at Orang National Park; sighting the ‘big five’ at Kaziranga National Park; a jungle trek through Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, and a boat safari in the Dibru Saikhowa National Park. Sure, there were hits and misses. The trip marked Sohail’s first-ever tiger sighting at Kaziranga, but the Gangetic dolphins of Dibru Saikhowa proved to be shy. But having learnt well from his father, Sohail knows that any time spent in the wild is a good time. A better time, one could argue, when it also reveals your dad’s talent for whipping up meals, mid-safari.  

 

Kishor Shamrao Shirkande, Mumbai, India

BEST of Times

“My dad is a retired BEST bus driver, so my favourite travel memory is from when I was occasionally allowed to accompany him on duty,” Kishor Shamrao Shirkande recalls. A curious child, Kishor would sit by the window as Mumbai city zoomed by, noting down any stops/places that intrigued him. “Later, Baba would tell me all about their history, and whenever possible, take me in person.” One such visit was to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) in 2003.  At 8, it was Kishor’s first-ever museum experience. “For a kid, the museum looked gigantic, but my father was the one that was most excited,” he says. The excitement was of wanting to trade trivia with his son, and it peaked when they reached the old armoury department. “He taught me the difference between various swords, their hold and lineage, and we browsed through knives and protective gears from the past.” Standing amid this treasure trove of history, he learnt how his ancestors had fought for Shivaji. Having taken six hours to complete the tour, there wasn’t time for much else before heading home to Thane. Except for dinner at Canon Pav Bhaji… quick and delicious. “It was the best then, it is the best now,” says Kishor, of the dinner and the day .   

 

Father's Day 5

Photo courtesy: Richa Chaube (left), Shivaranjani Balakrishnan (right)

 

Shivaranjani Balakrishnan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Taj Mahal and a Travelling Birthday

When Shivaranjani Balakrishnan picked up the travel bug a few years before her 40th trip around the sun, taking her father along only doubled fun. “Suddenly we were travelling everywhere together, from Bangkok to Krabi,” says the daughter who’s happy to “take charge, in a role reversal”. Their best yet is a winter jaunt around India’s Golden Triangle. From Delhi, the adventurous pair train-hopped through Jodhpur, Jaipur, Ranthambhore, Agra, and back. “The December chill was amazing, and he finally got to see the Taj Mahal,” says Shivaranjani. The trip, which culminated with senior Balakrishnan’s 74th birthday, remains as unforgettable as the hot parathas shared at Delhi’s Paranthe Wali Gali, or his birthday dinner at a quaint Spanish restaurant. 

 

Rajesh Inty, Vishkhapatnam, India

Two Bikes and a Mountain Road

As far as bike trips go, Rajesh Inty’s best was unplanned, and with his father. Well, not entirely unplanned. Both avid bikers who amp up each other’s zeal for the open road, their original plan was a shorter ride-along from Delhi to Manali and Kasol. But seeing his dad negotiate the Himalayan curves with “silky smooth” power despite not having travelled the route before, Rajesh couldn’t head home. “We finished the original leg, and a plan to keep riding was hatched over hot thukpas and momos,” he recalls. Destination: The beautiful town of Keylong in Himachal’s Lahaul and Spiti district, which demanded an additional 200 kilometres and six hours. The whimsy was every bit worth it, as the two downed cups of sugary tea at pit stops, munched on tinned chocolate cookies, and rode together in silence. A few kilometres from Keylong, they were joined by two jawans who requested a drop to their army camp. Another detour, and this time it ended in generous servings of pahadi dinner and army legends at the camp, where the bikers stayed the night. “The next morning was the one time we left our rides alone, when our new friends took us in their jeep to see the Baralacha La (pass),” says Rajesh. For him, the untethered spirit of the trip forged a deeper understanding— of his father, and the passion they share.      

 

Father's Day 7

Photo courtesy: Samiksha Khanduri

 

Samiksha Khanduri, Dehradun, India

A (Ski) Lesson Learnt Well

Growing up in Dehradun, Samiksha Khanduri has always loved the Himalayas. But it took a dad-and-daughter trip to the ski resort of Auli in Uttarakhand to take that relationship a notch higher. The journey started out bumpy, with their bus swerving through rocky mountain roads so precariously that it left young Samiksha wanting nothing to do with adventure anymore. But before she could protest, her dad’s daredevilry took over, as he nurtured her wobbly skiing skills over seven snowy days. “He’d take me up the slopes I wouldn’t dare test, tell me it’s all good, and then slide with me… all the way down to the base,” she remembers. “After this trip in 2000, our routines stopped aligning. And then we weren’t so young anymore,” she adds, half-joking. But thanks to her father and the white winter that was, Samiksha’s appetite for adrenaline was found, to be carried along on all her future travels.  

 

Anjali Naik, Aunrangabad, India

Half Ticket, Full Heart

The year must have been 1965. Anjali Naik, then five, was travelling with her father on a rather long bus ride from Aurangabad to Pune. “I was very sleepy, my head nodding off every few minutes, and a kid next to me kept pushing me off my seat,” recalls Anjali. But her father came to the rescue. He scooped her up, and let her sit on his lap for the rest of the journey. “Even in my sleepy state, I remember feeling a glowing happiness. You see, we were four siblings, and parents those days weren’t very physically demonstrative of their love.” For Anjali, the small moment wrote itself into her more lasting memories—of travel, and of her father. 

 

Father's Day

Photo courtesy: Anjali Naik (left), Arnab Dutta (right)

 

Ketki Dongare, Pune, India  

Switching Seats and Stories 

“Dad has only one rule about me driving, no driving past sunset,” says Ketki Dongare, whose fondest road memory with her father involves getting behind the wheels of the family sedan on a road trip from Pune to Delhi. “I’d driven in and around Pune, but never on a national highway. When I asked him if I could take charge, I wasn’t so sure. But he was,” says Ketki of the 2016 road trip. What followed were gripping heart-to-hearts on politics and history, as her father rode shotgun and her mother fell asleep in the backseat. The journey winded through Surat, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Ajmer, and Jaipur, and was scattered with nightstays at small hotels, battle stories of Shivaji narrated over chai breaks, and a ghorpad (monitor lizard) sighting on dusty desert roads. Switching roles, even if for a short stretch, made Ketki realise that “Dad and I make quite the team”.

Richa Chaube, Bengaluru, India

Playing it Cool in Bali

For Richa Chaube, annual trips with her father signal more than the thrill of new places. “Our family meets once a year, or less, since my parents are in Uttarakhand and I work out of Bangalore,” says Richa, whose last trip together was to Bali this January. While the trio enjoyed everything together—verdant rice terraces, edge-of-the-world swings, turquoise ocean waters and sacred monkey forests—at the end of each day, Richa and her dad fell into a special routine of their own. “Mom would usually be exhausted from the day’s travels. But dad and I would head to the hotel pool to chill and chat… just spend time together, talk about anything,” she says. These catch-up sessions, for someone who acknowledges the pangs of moving away from parents, were easily the highlight of the trip. But prod Richa and she’d tell you, trekking and pubbing with her “very cool” dad comes a close second. 

 

Father's Day 6

Photo courtesy: Siddhi Suresh Nalawade (left), Sohail Inzaman (right)

 

Siddhi Suresh Nalawade, Mumbai, India

On a Midnight Express

Every once in a while, the joy of a journey exceeds the joy of arrival. A similar experience presented itself to Siddhi Suresh Nalawade and her father, when the Nalawade family boarded an express train from Mumbai to Ujjain this January, on the eve of Siddhi’s 27th birthday. “We had carried our Saregama Carvaan, and Papa, who has often had to drop out of family holidays because of work, livened up the ride with his all-time favourites—Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar,” says Riddhi. The promise of trying out new dishes together while travelling, solemnised over midnight cake-cutting inside the compartment, made the journey one to remember.  

   

Dhikshanethraa Jayaprakash, Udumalpet, India

Bikes and Biryani for Two

A breezy bike-and-breakfast trip to Munnar holds its own among Dhikshanethraa Jayaprakash’s travel memories with her father. One morning in 2018, the residents of Udumalpet, Tamil Nadu, started out with “full tanks and happy faces”. The idea was to ride to Munnar, sampling street-side delicacies along the way. “We stopped for appams at one eatery, and bread-omelette at another. They were as delicious as the cold wind crashing into our faces,” she recalls. A stop at Eravikulam National Park proved lucky in spotting some Nilgiri tahrs (wild goat). Over a hearty lunch of mutton biryani in Munnar, Dhikshanethraa realised that her father, who had to cut short his passion for biking due to responsibilities, was delighted with her interest in it. “He told me our ride together had been no less than ticking off a bucket list.”           

 

Father's Day 1

Photo courtesy: Ekata Mohapatra (left), Dhikshanethraa Jayaprakash (right)

 

Arnab Dutta, Kolkata, India

It’s the Climb

“My first big trip with my father was in 2010, to the hills and temples of Jharkhand,” says Arnab Dutta. Never having travelled that far before, the then-10-year-old was excited. Almost every day of the trip, the pair visited a pahar (hill), and every day, he would ask: “Is it going to be very high, dad?” His questions were met with frankness: the Tapovan hills were not that big, the Trikut hills, somewhat (big). “But for every hill, my father added: You can climb it. It will be fun,” remembers the 20-year-old. For a kid, the assurance didn’t entirely dwarf the dread of a hulking Trikut Pahar, but Baba had a plan. “He held my hands, and I sort of  followed. He kept sharing bits of history and folklore through the climb, and before I could complain, we had reached.” The view from the top was stunning, savoured standing amid gnarly old trees and twittering birds. “He was right though. It was the climb that was the most fun,” insists Arnab.       

 

Manisha AR, Bengaluru, India

Dad and Dosa, New-York Style 

Sometime in 2019, when Manisha AR was pursuing a degree in New Arts Journalism in Chicago, her father paid her a surprise visit. “I’d already been living there for a while. So for once I had the chance to take over from dad, as he played tourist,” says the Bangalore-based professional. Eager to acquaint him the all-American sights and sounds she had grown to cherish, Manisha planned their trip to New York down to a tee—museums, neighbourhoods, pubs, food tours and all. “We stopped at every exhibit at the Brooklyn museum, feasted on ramen at Chucko’s in Prospect Park, signed up for a history walk of Chinatown, and grabbed beer at a cool bar called Dead Rabbit. It was a first!” she recalls. The trip, which also saw Manisha’s  dad breaking into Malayalam with an Indian server at Dosa Royale (credit for discovering this “amazing dosa place” remains ambiguous), taught her “what a good travel companion he was.” So much, in fact, that she promptly recovered from this “embarrassment of extreme Indian bonding abroad”.     

 

Father's Day 3

Photo courtesy: Muskan Garg (left), Manisha AR (right)

 

Muskan Garg, Delhi, India

Deep-sea Musings

“One night on a cruise ship to Singapore, my father introduced me to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi,” says Muskan Garg. The two were standing on the deck, under the canopy of a sea-blue sky, talking. The Delhi duo had an itinerary to follow on their holiday, but here they were, examining life, loss and everything in between. “My father has always been very open with me, but in that moment, explaining how there is a certain beauty in imperfection, he gave me a memory for keeps,” says Muskan, who admits to often riding out her stress by meditating about that moment. It calms her down, she says, to remember the nearness of the sea, the flow of the conversation, and the comfortable silences in between. “We stood there for hours, and didn’t sleep at all that night,” she recalls. 

 

Ekata Mohapatra, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Dream a Little Dream of Disney

Something shifted after Ekata Mohapatra lost her mother to a cardiac ailment. The 30-year-old felt she could no longer afford to sleep on her long-brewing dream of visiting Disneyland, Hong Kong. So around her father’s 70th birthday last year, the Abu Dhabi resident, in her words—”grabbed my handsome old man and started travelling”. Hinging around three full days at Disneyland, Ekata planned a larger 10-day itinerary of Hong Kong, taking care to squeeze in relaxing stays at Disney suits, repeat helpings of Mickey Mouse popsicles, and even some (successful) scouting for butter chicken to curb homesickness. “In those few days a 70-year-old man and her daughter soaked in every bit of magic they could find,” Ekata reminsces.  

 

Father's Day 4

Photo courtesy: Paresh Ramesh Bhave (left), Rajesh Inty (right)

 

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  • Sohini Das Gupta travels with her headphones plugged-in and eyes open. While this doesn't stall the many accidents that tend to punctuate her journeys, it adds some meme-worthy comic relief. She is Assistant Editor at National Geographic Traveller India.

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