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Bali With The Ladies

On my second day in Bali, I received a message on Facebook from my friend- I’m going to call her Aye for now. She and I go way back. To the time when we had bad haircuts and an even worse sense of style but we didn’t know it!

Ten years I’ve known her. And after ten years, I feel like I really do ‘know’ her. She’s a strong woman- doesn’t mince her words and is a long time solo female traveler. Aye and I have shared clothes, heartaches, travel stories and most of our adult lives with each other.

She indulged me with a patient ear and genuine encouragement before my ‘Gap Year’. Always available to empathize and sometimes dish out some much needed tough love. I remember moping around in my room one day, sorely disappointed with people’s resistance to my project. Aye came to look me up after a phone call where I guess she sensed that I was being ‘ridiculous’ (a word she uses often when in disagreement). She charged into my room, because it’s impossible for her to walk slowly- and told me “Tithi, stop it! You’re trying to live your dream and that’s never easy. But when you finally make it, all this misery will be a distant memory! If you pull this off- you’re going to have such an amazing life experience… and that’s worth all this trouble.”

She was right!

So the chance to meet her and fill her in on all my stories- almost two months into my travel was just amazing.

It was her last evening in Bali and we had to make the most of it. When I first saw her walking across the street to where we’d planned to meet I started screaming. Then there was some Bollywood style slow motion running and a lot of hugging and kissing with Aye at the receiving end of it all. Aye was traveling with a friend- also an incredibly fun, well traveled and interesting person.

There was no shutting up or sleeping that night. We trawled the streets of Kuta- getting lost and found in it’s narrow lanes, stepping into random joints for a bite or a drink, taking silly pictures and eventually settling down on the beach for some unwinding and recovering from the night’s excesses.

At 4 in the morning the pair of them walked me back to my guesthouse. Returning to their room to collect their luggage and leave for the airport for their flight back home. I knew I was going to miss her as we said goodbye. The next day was a pretty miserable one, spent moping and feeling quite lonely.

Fortunately, in the afternoon I had a date with the beautiful ‘Yuyun Ismawati’. I left to meet her at a bakery and we were taking a little trip after that. It was a bit of a posh place and I felt pressured to order as I waited. Most expensive croissant and Iced tea ever! Nice picture though.

Meeting her was exactly what I needed. Yuyun is empowered, passionate, kind and full of life. You can read about her story here.

We spent an hour and a half talking about life, motivation, sacrifice and fulfillment before leaving for our trip. Yuyun is such a worldly woman. I felt my heart expand to fit all the emotions I was feeling. Her strength and spirit are remarkable and I felt a deep admiration for her as I heard her talk.

In getting to know her, I felt more confident in my own ideas and plans than ever before. All non-conformists aren’t hippies with wayward lives. They’re also world-changing do-gooders and visionary leaders.

A woman like Yuyun makes you believe that your life has endless possibilities. That your only limitation is the lack of will to commit to a cause. This woman in front of me was an ordinary person who chose to do extraordinary things with her life. She didn’t know how far she’d get or how long it would take. But she kept at it every day, relentlessly- with integrity and passion. She has many battle scars to show for her journey but I know that if she had to, Yuyun would do it all over again.

From all the ‘heroes’ I’ve met so far, I’ve learnt that the happiest people are the ones living with passion and purpose. Neither comes without sacrifice or challenges, but it’s the only way worth living. I hope I never forget this lesson.

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16 Responses to “Bali With The Ladies”

  1. kiran says:

    Loved your pictures.

  2. Mico Laurant says:

    Hey, Yuyun is a lovely lady. She’s a real hero in Bali, held in very high regard. good you met her. I can understand how she’d be a good role model for someone like you.


  3. Kavya Iyer says:

    Tithiya, I dont know if you remember, but we were college together. Well done with this project. Read about you on a blog and got directed here. Have a fantastic trip. I’ll be coming back to check on you girl. be safe, stay happy

  4. Prashan Rana says:

    I had my bachelor party in Bali. And yes it’s a lot more fun with friends. I had such a good time that I took my wife there for our honeymoon too. Fortunately she loved it. Can’t wait to go back. when do you return to india? You will need a vacation from your vacation soon :)

  5. Jagini Arora says:

    Simply great ya, traveling with your girlfriends is the best. I’m planning on going to Sunburn fest in Goa with 5 of my girlfriends. It’s no Bali but i’m sure it’ll be as much fun ;)


  6. Kaustubh Arora says:

    Ok, your friends hot. Where does she stay in Delhi?
    haha ;)

  7. Manish Singh Sachdeva says:

    Did you go to Borneo. It’s underrated but is such an amazing place. A week is long enough though. Bug spray is a must and best done with a guided tour.. MS

  8. Monadeepa sen says:

    wow, you’re really tanned, get some sunscreen girl. though now you’re off to colder climes so i guess it’s pointless. put more pics ya!

  9. Anwar Malek says:

    Yuyun is also a winner of the goldman environmental prize for Sustainable Development… hat tip

  10. sujith u says:

    good, great reading your posts as always

  11. Manoj chitale says:

    Yuyun was also listed as time magazines heroes of the environemt for 2009. idnia needs such heroes

  12. Vijayan Malliyoor says:

    poster behind your friend, mushroom bali, how appropriate for bali :-) reminds of tintin in the shooting star.

  13. Fardeen Shaikh says:

    hey tithiya – rock on, interesting journey so far, do you have a sponsor?

  14. Tithiya says:

    @kavita: ofcourse i remember you. i am back in first week of december. lets catch up!
    @prashan: hope you and your wife didnt bump into some other invitees from your party on your honeymoon!
    @jagini: have fun!
    @kaustubh: is that the best you’ve got? ;-)
    @manish: no borneo!
    @monadeepa: yes yes, the daymn flickr acct is exhausted, make a donation so i can go pro and put up some pics ya! :)
    @everyone: thanks a bunch, see you all shortly!

  15. Nandita says:

    Whats wrong with being a non-conformist hippie with a wayword life?? Your blog needs a “like” button, like they have on facebook

  16. ayesha sharma says:

    Titeeeee!!! Big Fat Drippy Smoochy Hug baby!

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