back to the familiar pillow
Thirteen days. And after a long while I feel I deserve this sleep. That moment when you realise the truth in Tolkien’s words – “Not all those who wander are lost.”
The feeling of learning about a new reality reminds me of an older me. I am talking about the fabulous concoction of cultures, the random stopovers at streets and the beautiful league of languages – all in those last thirteen days. Yes, culture is a generalized word. But not too overstated. It’s a way of living. It’s not about blind faith, it’s about living those strong beliefs. Whether its taking your new-born on hiking trips or just not seeing the need of breaking traffic rules. It’s all about culture.
When one moment you feel like a stranger with a map and the other moment you are chatting with that 90-year-old chap on why he decided to spend his life in this country. The feeling of being just a small speck in the bewilderment of the universe is not new to me. But when this feeling does not discourage you, but instead makes you yearn for more, see more, observe more, learn more – you know it’s worth a travel!
When we are open to this interpretation, our journey will take us to destinations that we did not mark in our map. Those mystic destinations. And a traveler will know, these destinations are everywhere. In every country, in every canton. But you can never plan them.
Starting off with Switzerland, 8 out 13 days. And I could stay for more. The only country I am extremely biased towards. 3 visits in only the last year and now technically having covered the entire geography and corners of this country, it has still not managed to bore me. And somewhere I know it’s full of those hidden moments of beauty. In the form of pure surprises tucked away in those mighty mountains. No, I am not that fan who is awed by the trains running at the perfect second and my personal authentic swiss knife, though they are surely in the love-list. It is something bigger. Respect for Nature. Mountains inspire me. Something goes crazy inside me when I am standing in front of those huge giants covered with sheets of wrinkled snow. The only place that comes close is Kashmir. I have given up on my debate with the inner voice on which place scores more. There is no need. But it’s that rise in entropy levels and that state of denial of the possibility of such beauty. But then, with the realisation that these natural skyscrapers have the most authentic history inscribed in them, I feel at peace. They make me feel humble, and it’s a big deal. Apart from this, it’s the definition of responsible freedom in this country. In very simple words, it could bring the world’s largest democracies to shame.
Paris, where I had a rather awkward time last year, was facing my brunt of hate till now. But I realised how wrong I was. I just had to give it another chance, and a little bit more time. This place is the perfect example of a balancing act. Fashion and design – not just in attire, but in architecture as well. As if the entire population knows there is some rather flexible force that can accommodate everything and everyone.
Last stop, Berlin, for the love of irony, this city is the epitome of abstract. And for that soul in me who had lost faith in abstract since long, this city has revived that love all over again.
Will be scribbling about my experiences in each of the cities soon. I have started scribbling about each country and city in detail here! For now, ghar ki adrak wali chai and that pillow needs to be given personal attention. Have rejuvenated respect for these things now!