Here Comes The Hot Trekker - Amar Deb


When it comes to discussing leisure time activities, there are many things that head honcho Amar Deb is into - be it books, meditation or writing but it's his weekend travelling which keeps him on an even keel. During the course of the conversation, I find out that Deb is a real cool `travelling man'. And travelling for him is not about taking off to some exotic foreign locations and checking into a luxurious suite; but it's about braving torrential rains, driving down to some dense forests and camping in his tent.

So, it seems like travel is real hard work for Deb. He says, "My real adrenalin chaser is to explore wild places, camp out at some unknown virgin beaches or explore the rugged Sahayadri terrain in Maharashtra. I've been doing this for years now. At least once a month, I along with my wife Nita and five year old son take off on a ultimate dream drive in search of some unknown location."

So, what are the dream destinations for this seasoned traveller? There are places that Deb rattles off as he relives the experience, "My wanderlust has taken me across the state of Maharashtra. I can still vividly remember our trip to Khadavli which is about 14 kms off the Nasik highway when I could show my son millions of stars while sleeping under the open sky. "

He goes on, "another place is Ambivali, a deserted place with thick dense and thick forest mangoes. Then, there are some nameless destinations which we discover along the way. It's like if we decide to go to Matheran then we don't camp at proper Matheran but we trail off to a place like say Jumapatti."

I see a dreamer in Deb as listening to him also reminds me of the much forgotten word - serendipity - the faculty of making unexpected and happy discoveries accidentally which many of us have probably left behind us in the hubbub of daily life. As I am transformed to the sylvan serenity of the countryside, Deb adds, "it's a beautiful feeling to meet simple and beautiful people, to have a cup of tea from a roadside dhaba and drink water from the fresh water streams."

My Childhood experience

I ask him about his growing years and it looks like the travel bug is really in the

Deb genes. Recalling his childhood experience, he says, "My father was in the Navy where life was pretty regimented. So, to break the monotony, he would often drive down to discover waterfalls, hills and camp sites.

In fact, as a five year old I remember touring the whole of South along with my parents and of course my pets - a dog and a cat. We drove around in a car and camped ourselves at various destinations from Kerala to Kanyakumari. But, those days it was less polluted and crowded, and everything was very clean and beautiful."

But can't things get a bit out of hand with this rather risky penchant for travel? There are memories and incidents that Deb still carries with him. "Yes, sometimes it can be, but somehow overall there has never been a major problem."

He continues, "As a child, I remember being caught up in a major religious riot when we were travelling down South. Then, I remember seeing a python and a leopard right in my tent. At Jumapatti, we were woken up by villagers to caution us about a lion in the vicinity. Once, I was with some friends of mine and since I had forgotten to build the trench around my tent there was more than six inches of water and our sleeping bags were almost submerged. Now since I travel with my family, I am obviously a bit more careful."

Maharashtrians' are a beautiful people

Though born and brought up in Bangalore, Deb has adapted to Maharashtra and its culture like a fish to water. "I love the state and the people. Maharashtrians are beautiful and vivacious people. One is treated like a guest wherever one goes. And for those wanting to explore the state, no matter what kind of holiday you are looking for, you will find it here. Whether it's peaceful self-exile in the awe-inspiring mountains, quiet worship at shrines, or revelation in cave architecture, art and culture or challenging treks or abundant wildlife thrills."

Deb's such a nature lover that he's even reluctant to reveal deserted beaches and places which he has discovered along the way. He tells me what normally happens is that once these places get written about they start developing as tourist destinations and the within no time people start buying property at such places. "I always feel people should learn to enjoy nature without possessing it."

I ask him how this sort of adds on to his life. He says, "The combination of a fantastic car drive and a great outdoors gives me a sense of grounding literally. And it's definitely a break from our hectic schedules.

" I typically wake up in a tent somewhere in the middle of a mountain and think of a wild idea and then come to office and ask my gang to work on it." Aha?..

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