I often encountered with the questions by people or friends who think that why I am a guide, why I lead tours, this is just not a job for a girl to do and there are still possibilities I can have a professional degree or a government job so that my life would be secure and I can enjoy a handsome salary!
Well, for them I have tried to sum up my story and courage to say that- Yes, I am a tour guide and I will be!
It’s in the genes
Let’s go outside of the station, we are going to have a walking tour in Delhi! – The year 2001, by my dad.
We were traveling from Bikaner (Rajasthan) to Samastipur (Bihar) via Delhi, we spent 12 hours in Delhi, my mom with luggage (i still feel sad for her) at the station, me and brother went for the central Delhi walking tour guided by our dad.
I remember our visit to Jantar Mantar and the way my dad was explaining the importance and history of the monument to us was engaging, honestly, I never experienced the same in any of the walking tours I ever been to.
There were no metro stations at that time, we also went to one of the largest underground markets- Palika, people were more excited to go underground rather than doing shopping! Now in 2020 going underground is no more adventure.
As a young girl, I never thought that I would be able to come on my own to this big and mesmerizing city.
My first reaction for guiding
Is this can actually be work to do? How I can sustain my life just by doing this? What people will think about me? In the end, it’s not the work that can fulfill my dream lifestyle. No matter how you plan your life to be but life has it’s own plans for you and Gyan Yatra (GY) was the part of the plan. I was happy to work as an administration person rather than being in the field because till that time I didn’t accept guiding as a serious work for myself, thanks to our societal conditioning! But as I said about life’s plan- one day I received a text from one of our clients that she wanted to visit Agra through GY but unfortunately, she is alone and if possible can we arrange a small Delhi walking tour for her! That was the last minute and I was the only one and saying “No” was not ethical so, I took her to the same tour which my father did for me 16 years before and I ended up with a lifetime memory and a new friend @clair from the Netherlands.
Guiding on a bicycle and that too in Old Delhi!
Yes, this concept does exist in India Delhi By Cycle India’s first city cycling tour organization and leading groups on the lanes of old Delhi as a female guide I encountered with the mixed experiences, starting from the meeting point when clients always ask me that how is it to be a female guide in India? Generally, women don’t opt for a career like this.
While doing the tour we have different briefing stoppages where we tell stories of the place and people and apart from our clients’ local crowd became part of the storytelling, I remember many people asked me that are you Indian! And to my surprise, I always pass a smile.
There is an incidence which is closest to my heart, a group of girls stopped near me in one of our briefing points and after listening all about Jama Majid from me they giggled and looked at me with confidence and one of the girl said that one day I wanted to be like you! That day I was all emotional and stared looking guiding as a whole new perspective. Guiding can also be part of empowering our young girls, without saying anything to them I just smiled with all my heart.
Following my intuitions
The time is uncertain, being a part of the tourism industry I know that we will be the last one to resume our works. Every day I am witnessing statements from my fellow people that they are changing their sector of work and I am receiving suggestions as well like to enroll myself in an MBA or many other things, where the percentage of certainty is high. The time is tough but I do believe what I am doing and I am following my guts which are as positive as my blood group is ;p through my pice of writing I want to convey a simple message that if you believe your work and trust your intuitions then just follow them and while following have patience.
You can get in touch with the author via Twitter @himadrigiri3