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The Road Less Travelled

Village road near Hassan, Karnataka, India

It is quite normal for me, when I am on a vacation by road with my family, to go off the route recommended by the friendly GPS. Not to get the GPS all flustered - you should hear the GPS lady frantically requesting me to take the next right or left or a 'U' turn to get back on track! - but more to explore. And quite often we end up in what can hardly be described as a road. But all of us by this time aren't even looking at the road. We are consumed by everything else around us. Sometimes it is an occasional hut, sometimes just greenery and unsuspecting birds who weren't expecting humans to disturb their peace and quiet! This exact thing happened a few days ago on our drive towards Sringeri in Karnataka, just as we were approaching Hassan. The picture is proof. But this piece is not about the lovely trip and our findings. It is about a thought which struck me as my son drove us through an almost unmotorable road, yes, the apple didn't fall too far from the tree! He too loves detours!

We all love arriving at our destinations, but how many of us enjoy the ride? Quite often we prefer taking well known routes and also go through numerous reviews in case there are alternatives before deciding on one. If you have some time on your hands and are open to a bit of adventure, wouldn't it be fun to get off the beaten path? Surprise ourselves? Of course, not without assessing the risks or cost of doing it!

So what do we gain by taking such detours? Yes, the surprises in store are obvious, but more than that, I think we tend to learn a bit too. Perhaps get to meet with interesting people along the way. Maybe even get lost a bit and then figure out how to get back on track - helps our ability to adapt and re-adjust I'm sure. Oh yes, it definitely helps the break monotony and at times we even end up discovering undocumented sights or short cuts!

As I write this, we are into the 3rd year of the Corona pandemic. By now there is probably no one in the world who hasn't yet experienced the impact in some form or other. Some of us probably learnt how to deal with the change in life forced upon us in year one, while some of us are probably still learning and adjusting. The bigger point though is, we were already heading to a new world where innovation, ability to think out of the box, figuring out how to be unique and such, were becoming much needed traits for success in any capacity - as an employee, a manager, an entrepreneur or even a parent! The capacity to add value. Not just being present and doing what was needed. The capacity to go above and beyond as often as we can, to stay relevant. A capacity, which I believe, has to be inculcated through taking calculated risks and experimentation.

And so we come back to the road less travelled. To be able to break free from focussing only on the destination and learning to explore. To be open to surprises and enthusiastically dealing with new obstacles while passing through uncharted territories. To find new ways of getting things done. To find newer destinations even. To develop an innovative mindset, to be comfortable to break routine. To question old processes and establish newer and more efficient ones. Sometimes the detours do not yield any positive outcomes, but invariably you end up having fun!

My mind is now taking me back in time, to school days, to that famous poem by Frost - 'The Road Not Taken' ... It has taken me quite a few years and life experiences to grasp the meaning better.

If you could relate to what you just read, do check out my other blog posts here. I am also eager to know about your views and experiences! Good luck!

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