February 2020. We heard about the far away storm but our birds were still chirping, and our calenders were still gleaming with bookings. Our resolution was hovering around plans of new recruits, promotions, and expansion. We were roaring and soaring high.
Gleefully, we wrapped our heads in turbans and observed the sinking of the sun on camels’ backs, amid massive sand dunes. Just like real desert men.
We set for an adventure to explore Jaipur, and Jaisalmer. The Pink City, and the Golden City. The nest of regal legends, and the ethnic heart of the nomadic desert culture; whose dynamics are rich in vibrant lifestyle and tradition.
We spent days adoring intricate marble structures of palaces and tombs. We visited an ancient step well complex. We explored the wonder of world’s largest stone sun dial, and all the architectural astronomic instruments surrounding it. We spent sunset among monochromatic charms of forts where the Maharajas spend their summers at.
We hopped into Airbuses, a propeller plane, an overnight train, a tourist bus, cars, jeeps, LCVs, ATVs, and the superbly engineered tuktuk. We dined at on opulent cafe adorned by chandeliers and fancy walls, then several days later, we had chips for lunch by dusty bunk beds. We clowned around when our 4x4s turned our stomach into maracas during a dune bashing journey, and immediately applied poker face during boring museum trips. In this very birthplace of Yoga, we even managed to have a glimpse of the discipline led by a senior Yoga Acharya, and be surprised on how pleasant Yogic cuisine feels inside our belly.
We jumped over dungs. Had breath-holding competition in restrooms. Engaged in vigorous negotiation with local vendors. Lost a luggage. Almost killed and got killed 2.548 times whenever our vehicles darted through the city. Snacked on dust and sand particles.
We pushed our limit.
Voices of pessimism were inevitably invested during our preparation. Regardless, we were united and determined to conquer our fear, and stepped out of our comfort bubble, hand in hand. We got each other’s back. We trusted each others. India’s gruesome side didn’t took away our excitement from start to finish. The noise, the dirt, the tricks, and the raggedness, the unplugged energy… all the things that make the place bad and annoying, simply became intriguing and exciting.
There was a night when we were staring at a bonfire, creating time with our feet in the sand. Making up rhymes, making fun of each others, and laughing loud with drinks in our hands. Heartfelt moments that will forever stay in our sweet memory.
None of us realised we just slid through India’s last opened door for tourism this year. Right after we stepped back home, the borders closed. Covid happened. The storm arrived. The bookings that adorned our calendar were blown away like dry leaves, and so were our resolutions. Instead of new recruits, promotions, and expansion, we had to swallow the bitterness of shrinking and letting go. Along with millions of other boats, we were entering a massive cyclone our generation had never seen before.
We are relentlessly scanning any direction that could lead us to the edge of this freaking storm. But balancing that, we are also taking a deep breath, staying sane, and staying healthy.
In this state of assessing, adapting, and overcoming, let us present you the imagery of when we were a solid team professionally.
Well, we thought we were a solid team. But if this storm had ever taught us anything, is that Axioo Bali is beyond a solid team. We are a solid friendship. Even in distance. Even in uncertainty. Even in the absence of financial benefits. We have faith in one another, as we always did. And that’s the core that matters.