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She and I played with the baby. We bounced him about. I tried to tell him stories but I couldn’t make him smile. Then the conversation of scars came about. He was nine months old. He had no clue, yet, what scars meant. And she and I gave him a 5 minute crash course on physical and emotional scars. His big eyes became bigger. His mother laughed.

‘Just crazy aunties,’ I told his mother. We might have been inappropriate.

Were we being morbid? I don’t think so. Are there things you don’t tell a kid? I hope he listens carefully and someone or the other tells him the truth always.

My niece came over the other day. I noticed how babies tend to follow their natural instinct. I tried to carry her and she screamed a no. I didn’t challenge her word and let her go. She has been this way for a while now. She turns two years in three days and she has refused advances or me picking her up. I try to take her word for it. But often adults around nudge her to give in. Till now, I have put my foot down and respected her wishes.

Why do we force them to give up on their instinct? I wish she holds onto hers.

My neighbour’s daughter is around 7 years old. She is a bright and adorable kid. She came with me and the dog for a walk the other day. The dog has been struggling a little. But she loves kids and I love seeing her with them. The three of us sat on the footpath below the building, like the dog loves to do. Every statement I made she responded with a ‘why’. Initially, I answered very patiently which gave her the encouragement to continue asking more questions. But eventually, I got tired. I almost asked her to shh. Then I realised often adults stop asking questions after a point. This habit actually frustrates me a decent bit. For I imagine that if we all asked questions, the world would be a different place.

How can I whine about adults not asking questions if I teach a child not to ask them? I hope she keeps asking questions. More and more.

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It was day 2 in Gokarna for us. After having been slow moving objects on day 1, we decided to be active on day 2. We consumed a yummy breakfast for starters for which we had to walk a decent amount. Mine was mostly unhealthy and delicious; sister’s was healthy and light.

We set out with our smart phones in hand, dressed to walk a lot. Running a little ahead of us was a dog. He seemed to know the way but we humoured him and stared into our smart phone that showed the direction. After getting lost once while following the phone, we decided to follow the dog. The dog was light on his feet and slightly impatient as two slow moving souls trudged behind him. Often halting along the bushes filled path to catch their breaths. He waited for us to catch up. He turned back to check if we were keeping pace. We trusted the dog knew where to take us and eventually abandoned our smart phone for our new guide. The path was dodgy and mostly through the mountains. Often, we felt we had lost our way. But the dog was far from misleading us. Taking us through the bushes, he sauntered on. Up, down, near the edge with killer view, up, down, through narrow paths, hardly space for one human path, up, down and finally the beach.

He led the way from Om Beach till Half Moon Beach (almost mid way to our preferred destination). Surprisingly, he didn’t join us after this. He didn’t even come to us for a treat or a few pets. He just got busy kicking some sand up. We waved to him and thanked him before continuing on our way. The road ahead looked steep and full of mountains. On this long path, we both learnt to trust our instincts and march along slowly. We stopped to inhale the breathtaking scenery, the beauty of the clear waters and sound of just the waves; photographed what we could as we went along. It was untouched by man and his destructive ways, I noticed. When we reached Paradise beach, it was worth our long and tiring trek. We sat on the rocks in silence, letting the water wash our feet. I played in the water for a while. Taking in the serenity and beauty of the quiet land. What a lovely space and place to be.

Travelling for me is not just about seeing other places and being in awe, which frankly Gokarna has done repeatedly since my arrival. But it is about seeing my reactions and learning about pieces of my self. The morning taught me to trust my instincts and let go of always wanting control. I allowed these thoughts to marinate in my head as we took a boat back.

So much to see, learn and feel. I hope to carry back some of these lessons. But mostly the positivity and freedom I feel flowing through me.