One of the most baffling things about being clinically depressed ( note how I always say clinically depressed instead of depressed … I guess that’s my way of “blaming” the chemicals in my brain and disowning the condition ) is the fact that you turn into a completely different person. You know the things you usually say when you introduce yourself …. for eg. “I am a photographer and I love travelling and meeting new people “- the whole sentence just becomes untrue. Am not kidding : I stopped shooting ( froze with the camera in my hands ), developed the most insane fear of flying ( in 19 months have graduated to taking 75min flights now) and I mostly hate meeting people ( ask the ones around me – my social commitments are a joke….I have 10% chance to sticking to my schedule and plans).

Over the course of these 19 months, I have definitely gotten better and started teaching photography and also taking assignments to style/shoot. The former involves meeting a lot of people and the latter involves all that I currently suck at – travel, meeting and being creative. Since I am the precious dear one, God has been very kind to me.- I have mostly been able to keep my work commits ( I choose very very carefully now). To add to that, I have actually started feeling the joy of these things again and am very thankful for the progress ( horribly slow though ).

So why would I then push myself by heading to board a long 9.5 hours flight? Plan to meet 10-15 people I haven’t met in the last 5-15 years? Plan to shoot during a holiday and actually carry gear? Well, you know I am not driven by reason – only LOVE rules my world!So let me explain why I am at the airport right now.

The first person I fell in love with and have been in love with for all my life is my Bapila – my perfect single parent who has never made me miss losing my Ma when I was very young. I know every girl is probably her Daddy’s princess – but wait till you meet my awesome old man. He is perfect in every single way – has taught me his version right from wrong but always left all decisions to me, supported me in all my crazy decisions and held me in his arms for every heartbreak.

Even when I was in college and some interfering neighbour would try to get me into trouble by complaining how I am always “only hanging out with boys” and ” always seen loitering around Ganj” ( that’s the hippest place in the city I grew up ) , my Dad would smile and welcome that neighbour home and ask me to serve him tea. And just when that nosy Uncle would start giving him lessons on how to bring up a daughter “the right way”, my Dad would shut him up saying -” I know all her friends you see, especially the boys. And her school/college / tuitions are all in Ganj, so where else and can she be! But if you do see her in Aminabad ( super shopping area and definitely not hip), then do let me know.” That’s my Dad – the friend who has always supported me and trusted me. And he made it easy for me to not lie to him ( I can actually count on my fingers the number of times I was scared enough to lie).

Coming back to the point – he has always expressed a desire to visit London. You see he was born pre-independence and his life did hold a lot of ” British Raj” experience since childhood. I never fully understood this and somehow we never went to London together ( though I did have a chance to visit a couple of times). Since we all live together and have travelled as a family all over Europe and South Asia, I was now planning a holiday to New Zealand – a place I fell in love with when I was lucky to be there while working with IBM. While discussing this a couple of years back ( and making glorified 40th birthday plans ), I realised he only wants to go to London if given a choice. That started a wish and a dream for me – to plan a London trip just for him. And then came the life changing depression and I forgot all about it!

Slowly, as I started getting better, I realised I really wanted to make this trip happen. I was obviously in two minds – there were enough reasons to push the trip to some other time I hate flights and can’t imagine long ones – so planning a trip to Europe seemed crazy.My husband is on a sabbatical and I am barely back to work – so even financially, it didn’t make sense to plan a big family holiday now. However, it was a constant thought since the starting of 2017 and lo behold! We are flying to London today!

So I guess what I am trying to say is things make sense to different people for different reasons – mine is and always has been LOVE. And since I have a zillion old school and college friends in London – why not try to meet. And if I am visiting a beautiful city for the first time since I learnt photography, why not plan to capture the images too. I am trying to play it safe by giving us 10 days to one city – am assuming I will have enough time to show my Dad around and also meet friends and shoot – even if I am not well for a few days in between. Who knows, I might be completely happy and depression free all 10 days and get to enjoy our best family time together. Either way, I have 10 days with my family in an exciting new city – that’s all I need for a holiday.

Till we meet again…