We Salute This Kid!

The interesting thing about travel is not just that you get to meet some interesting people. It is also that many a times you get to learn and feel so humble. Budget travelers and backpackers often have good justification to avoid paid services wherever possible. So when we landed at the Sindhudurg Fort, which is separated from the mainland by a 15 minute boat ride, we chose to explore the fort on our own.

A few guides approached us; we refused them flat as if we’d been at the fort many times. After a while we realised that in the limited time we had, we would not be able to cover all the points at the fort. But then we did not want to miss the important ones. As luck would have it, this cute little boy approached us and offered himself as a guide. We were skeptical. But soon his innocence, earnestness, and spirit was sold on us.


And, at that auspicious moment, Gajanan Phatak, all of 11, became a guide for the first time in his life. We, his first customers. He had been following and observing his uncle who works as a guide and runs a cold drink stall at the fort, and is now ready on his own. Gajanan stays in the mainland, the Malwan town and had come to visit his uncle during Diwali holidays. At Rs 30, his requirement was very less, but we were humbled by his intention to use that amount to fund his schooling.

Phatak Junior indeed was good at his job. He took us to the main bastions of the total 52, the three fresh water wells named Doodh (milk), Shakar (sugar), and Dahi (milk), and various temples, with a liberal explanation of each and the history of the fort.


We salute this budding talent and his entrepreneurial spirit. And did not forget to contribute to his schooling fund a little more than what he had asked for.