Reaching New Horizons
Meet our expert, Preeti Monga, she lives to travel and believes that everyone should get a chance to experience it. Here’s her talking all about her Singapore and Malaysia escapades
Having lived with blindness for the last 50 years hasn’t been easy. Being unable to see this beautiful world around me often makes me feel claustrophobic and caged. So, whenever I am presented with an opportunity to take a trip anywhere, I jump at the chance to spread my wings for a while. For, I know that this is my chance to take off, and enjoy my freedom! Travelling for me is pure joy; work or holiday, it simply liberates me. The moment I have my ticket in my hand, my heart skips a beat, and I’m so excited, ready to experience unfamiliar sensations, smells, sounds, and tastes, and to meet new people. I even enjoy familiarising myself with new, unique lifestyles, while also enjoying some shopping, and a chance to relax and rejuvenate my entire being!
However, as I am unable to see, I do have a certain fear of the unknown. But, my fear cannot stop me from travelling! Just so I don’t miss out on any visuals; and am safe, I travel with my best friend who is now my husband, Ashwani! He completely understands me, and he helps me move around without any fussing. He also encourages me to experience the things that I may miss out on because of my sight.
One evening, as we both were relaxing over a glass of beer, and were reminiscing about all the ups and downs of our life together, I realised that we had come so far, and we were still so happy and comfortable together. I thought to myself that we must take a holiday, and travel somewhere special to celebrate our blissful togetherness! When I told him about my thoughts, he promptly suggested that we must go abroad! As a result, I have a thrilling account of my well deserved and dearly cherished holiday to Malaysia and Singapore in 2011!
As I stepped out of the aircraft on arriving at Malaysia, I was pleasantly greeted by the warm humid breeze that had a taste and fragrance of moist freshness and a mild scent of the salty fishy sea! I soon found myself racing, arm-in-arm with Ashwani, through the clean airport, with rising eagerness to quickly collect our luggage and to step back into the welcoming freshness and warmth that had greeted me on the airstrip.
Well, this time, my flight to freedom began with my maiden cab ride in this beautiful country, and I started my explorations with trying to get the feel of the lovely people who lived here. So, I struck up a conversation with the gentle and polite cab driver! It was most fascinating and comforting, to know that he spoke Tamil and English; and his family was just like any family in India! I must tell you, with one ear dedicated to chatting with the cab driver and the other intently focused upon listening to and taking in Ashwani’s description of the landscape we were driving through; felt like the fastest 40 minutes I had lived through. Once we arrived at the hotel, we quickly made our way to the dining room, and feasted on the lavish, mouth watering breakfast spread, of local and international treats. Finally, with our tummies happily full, we took off to the nearest mono rail station and off we went to explore this promising land!
Throughout this country, I was cocooned by fishiness in everything we tasted or walked through. Huge malls and comfortably empty mono rails took us to every part of this lovely city. It sure was an absolute pleasure to be able to walk around for miles together, without fear of stumbling on unexpected obstacles in my path, for they were well-maintained, clean and pothole free! Next morning, we once again boarded the monorail, to the famous Petronas Towers! As we stepped out of the rail, we seemed to have landed inside a shopping mall; utterly confused I asked Ashwani, “Where are we? Do stations in Malaysia look like shopping malls? And where are the Towers?” We asked people around for directions to the towers, and we were informed that they were right here! But we wondered where! Well, at last, after endless miles of walking around through shops, we found the elevator that took us to the entrance from where we could climb up to the towers. Unfortunately by the time we reached the lift and that would take us to the bridge of the towers, the visiting hours were over.
I was really looking forward to stand on the bridge, which would have allowed me to feel a sense of grandeur and vastness of this most illustrious structure. Unfortunately, my wish didn’t come true. I stepped out into the enormous yard surrounding the Petronas Towers, wondering what they must actually look like. Just then, Ashwani placed into my hands a tiny metallic replica of the same! This was simply amazing! I could instantly see in my mind what this grand edifice must look like! The next morning, we boarded a huge bus, which drove us through gently winding hilly roads bordered by dense rubber forests, to the famous holiday paradise known as Genting! The vastness and variety of all that one could find here, was simply breathtaking! I told Ashwani that he did a great job, otherwise, I would have been terrified by the endless and nearly deserted corridors that led to countless rooms and everything else everywhere!
Then, within a wink, it was time to get onto our flight to Singapore, and it seemed like we had entered into a completely new world altogether! The enormity and cleanliness of the roads here was simply outstanding, and I was tempted to walk barefoot! The shops on Orchard Street, the China bazaar and the thrilling night safari – we managed to explore and experience all this and so much more! Our visit here still leaves me with goose bumps!
Unfortunately, like all good things, my holiday soon came to an end. I came home a much richer person, thanks to the wonderful experiences we enjoyed on our holiday. I also feel happy dreaming of my next flight to freedom. I would like to thank all the beautiful people who made my travel possible, and made my vacation such an exotic experience!