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Last weekend Anu, kids (Rishit and Reyansh) and myself went for a three days vacation to Jim Corbett. Although, we have been there 5-6 times before, this was the only place we could think where we could drive and reach quickly. Anu wasn't too comfortable sitting with an infant for a long drive. When I was planning the trip, there was something bothering me because we had been few times before but could never sight any big animal, leave aside tiger for that matter. All the major resorts in Jim Corbett are alongside Kosi river and densely populated in a radius of 3-5 kms.

Once you cross Ramnagar and travel some 10 kms, all the resorts start appearing on your right-hand side. The safari ride in this Jungle is all controlled online by the Government and you need to book it well in advance. If you haven’t, then there is no chance you get a safari on a short notice. Since our experience of taking safari rides wasn't good, I told Anu that we wouldn't do it, rather spend time together in the resort. But I also didn't want to spend time in those typical resorts that from outside and by name are different, but more or less have similar stuff inside. While I was searching for something different,

I came across this resort that appeared unique and new. I read about it on Tripadvisor and found out some outstanding reviews. What excited me most apart from the luxury was that the resort was kind of managed by a team of naturists who were experts in their knowledge of animals and the jungle. This sounded quite exciting and despite high prices I convinced Anu to stay in that property. Though, Anu wasn't quite excited about staying in a property that was 15kms away from the place where other resorts were located and the fact that it was expensive, I could still manage her to convince stating that Rishit will have a good adventurous time. Finally, we decided to go to Patlidun Resort. Everything in the resort was absolutely fantastic and we had a great time. What excited me most was the presence of wildlife naturists in the resort. We parked our vehicle at a common place and then taken by Dhanya, one of the naturists in a 4X4 Mahindra Scorpio Getaway to the resort that was up a hill in the midst of the jungle. During our first interaction with her while we were being driven, I could sense that we are going to have a good time with them.

She showed us some nice and different butterflies and birds quite uncommon to watch and told us few stories about the wildlife. She was fairly young but had spent considerable time studying and experiencing wildlife. Early next morning (Day 2) we met the chief naturist of the resort, Ritesh who was a stalwart in understanding wildlife and had spent considerable time in the jungles. Very warm, nice person to talk to, he narrated loads of stories about his adventure in a variety of parks across India. Once the conversation was almost over, he asked me –“Nimish what are your plans for the next two days?â€ï¿½ Since we had no plans other than whiling away in pool and relax, he suggested we should take a hill safari that was organized specifically for the guests of Patlidun and it’s worth spending money.

Initially, I wasn't too sure of spending money on any safari considering our previous experiences of jungle safaris where we couldn't even sight a deer sometimes. However, there was a sense of satisfaction after having a conversation with Ritesh regarding how the jungle behaves, how animals should be sighted and how if one hires experts there is a greater possibility to sight big animals. He did not sound over confident, rather confidence with knowledge. We decided to try our luck again and I agreed to take the hill safari. There was one more family in the resort where the couple had two children of Rishit’s age, so the father, his kids, Rishit and me left for the hill safari with our naturist Ganesh.

Before starting out, Ganesh told us that we are going to have a lifetime experience and the place we are going doesn't have too much habitation. The moment we left from the resort and within fifteen minutes, we could sight few deers, wild rabbits, and few other wild birds. During the journey, I kept telling Ganesh, - "Ganesh bhai aaj to kuch dikha hi dena"� and his response was always positive. With his experience, he mentioned the probability of sighting a leopard because generally leopards are found commonly up the hills rather than in the jungles. That three hour journey with Ganesh was one of the most outstanding drive for all of us where we were up the mountains with gorgeous views of the valley, Kosi river, a beautiful sunset and huge sambhar deers running as close as ten feet away from us with their family.

And finally we could also spot a Leopard and we spent some 25-30 minutes watching that big cat. It was a superlative and an adrenaline rushed trip and all because of the time we spent and the guidance we got from Ritesh and Ganesh. I was wondering how come my trip, that would have been 7th or 8th to Jim Corbett was suddenly so memorable, obviously the experience of watching the big cat was awesome, but it was also the fact that we were guided by proper people. We were with people who know their jobs and had been there and done it. We were guided in the right way and perhaps that's the reason we could spot animals, whereas prior to this visit all our visits were quite useless.

In our life the importance of experienced guides and mentors cannot be under estimated. You have to be with the right people always so that your life can tread the right path. Good mentors and guides can be anyone, literally anyone. It can be your father, your uncle, your teacher and your friend, just about anyone. A true mentor is a person who shall always think about your betterment, would always advice for your growth and would sometimes sound bitter in his/her comments, because he knows that those bitter statements are for your good. Having a mentor in your life is very important. You might be brilliant, dedicated, hard working and genius, but there would be ticklish moments when you would need someone to guide you.

Nobody's life is perfect and it's the experience of handling imperfections that makes normal people the leaders. But people become leaders only when they are able to successfully manage the imperfections, and in majority of the times, there is that person in your life who would have helped you navigate those imperfect moments with ease. My cousin brother is the CEO for India operations for a large US Bank and he has reached that level after tremendous hard work and dedication. Once I was with him at a dinner and I asked, "Bhaiya what do you think you would have done in your young age that could have made you a better person.

After much thought he said, "Nimish I could have done better in life if I had a mentor. I made all the decisions myself, some went right and some wrong. But if I had a mentor, I could have done much better". What a great statement from a person who has reached the epitome of success and earns millions. This meant that people, even if they are successful, do need right mentors in their lives to make it big.

Haven't you seen football teams suddenly performing well from previous seasons just because their coach got changed? Haven't you observed companies turning around just because a new Chairman was appointed who made it happen? Narayan Murthy was called back to Infosys as the Chief Mentor and after his coming back there have been tremendous changes in the organisation, and all for good. Everyone, whether you are a student or a professional, you need a coach or a mentor to make your life more meaningful and focused. Keep looking for people whom you believe think in your favour and would always help you reach miles. But remember to be away from those who put negativity around you. Watch your influencers and be with only those who influence you to soar high in the sky. 

Authored by Nimish Goel (www.nimishgoel.com), a qualified chartered accountant who's passion is to coach young chartered accountants and aspiring students achieve the best in their life. Nimish used to work with EY and PwC in India and has also worked with KPMG in Europe. He now runs his own consulting company and runs a blog www.nimishgoel.com. He can be reached for any queries and issues on his blog.


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Nimish Goel
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