Of a certain voyage
You walk away. I stand there, devastated by the sudden realm of desolate silence around me. The book in my hand screams “Drunk on the wine of hazard, you are thirsty like a buzzard”.
As you bid goodbye, I see my mute thirst for love become a miserable wreck. Shame-faced and unabashed, I let tears drench my mighty indifference. Tongue-tied and embarrassed by the thought of an ask for tomorrow, I let you go. Unaware, I have yielded myself to the abysmal measure of this torment of love.
Like an anxious rabbit, my mind meanders between different spaces of time. Searching for grit from the different journeys I took. For anger to fight the easy cowardice of love. I shuffle through the myriad voices and images of my life, hoping to find another anchor. I fail. I now wish I didn’t have to look to see.
I have been peaceful a nomad, relishing the silences of solitude at airports. But today, I want to be elsewhere. Someplace where there is neither journey nor quest. Neither search nor find.
A place where we can shed every mask of reason and reassurance, every pretense of strength and determination, every desire of conquer and victory. A place where we can be united in our brazen fear for life and death, in our anxious dialogue with God and devil, in the proud embracing of our supremacy and insignificance.
A traveler moves on, they say. How does one move on from journeys that kinder such spirit? I will this time again terribly fail my nomadic twins. How will I now face the self that had begun to show signs of poise and peace? How do I now placate this yearning for the comfort of a fellow traveler? The book in my hand screams “Burn the soul, if your soul mate is not found”. I take refuge in it.
Over these years I have grown to glorify the contentment in self-possession. I wonder today why not the vulnerability of seeking an intimate confidante? Why wander? Why not linger? Why this love for being a drift wood? Why not sail ashore?
My mind loiters into those many days spent at airports; keenly peeping into others lives; screaming infants, mushy newlyweds, backpack foreigners, exuberant teens, insomniac corporate slaves, and loud families on package tours. Today I cut off from all that noise and dwell in another world, swaying between beatific anticipation of passion and wrathful plague of memories.
Memories. Your twilight smile, sheepish grin and rustic restlessness. Our juvenile jeer, back handed quips and shared pathos. Your chutzpah and mine. My compassion and yours.
Love arrives most days, and poignantly wrenches my heart in every journey I pursue. A toothless mad man I walked the howrah bridge with, a paan spitting Varanasi hawker that shed a tear when I gifted a photograph, a Srinagar sweetheart that gave me a flying kiss from afar, a Narsapur paati that cried uncontrollably on my shoulder,a naked child that hugged me to sleep on a train to raipur,a kutch villager that dressed me in her wedding gagra, a cheerapunji shopkeeper that cooked me supper in exchange of a hug, a Bhutanese family that was kind enough to let me use their home toilet on a freezing cold night on the highway.
I have been merrily consumed and consciously obsessed with moments of such deep caring and quiet. But such humane care for wayfarers doesn’t engulf one’s soul like romantic love.It does not becomes an everlasting woe that empties one of mature rationale.
I had curtained insanity of such depths eons ego, but my soul crawls out of its hiding place, unlocks all rusted windows and finds unreasonable reasons to seek this unquenchable attachment. Love has now made all familiar unfamiliar, compelling yen of a new kind to stay for infinitude. Oh this wretched cant of love.
The book now screams, ‘Your flight is now ready to take off’.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Of a certain voyage