Monday, 29 December 2008

Of empty handed homecomings


(For more photos click here)

Sometimes traveling is not about the things you bring back but what you leave behind. The flaming red rhododendron that fell from my hand on a slope near Cloud End. The look in your eyes as we were treated to an October sky pierced with a million stars while the bus rushed down the mountain on its way from Nainital to Delhi. The scarecrow dressed in red and white beckoning us from the lush greenery of Goa and its twin we were to meet some years later in Mukteshwar.

The twinkling fairy lights as the sun went down on an almost magical evening at St Paul da Vence. The old couple carved in wood smiling in a corner of a bar in Dusseldorf, where we drank to the sounds of an off key 'Knocking on Heaven’s Door'. That one dilapidated and nondescript tombstone among the millions in Zentralfriedhof where we stopped to have our little argument. The imagined smell of freshly brewed coffee and warm croissants while we walked along the Seine on a rainy November morning laughing and loving every bone-chilling second of it. The sounds of the cello from a dimly lit apartment in Vienna too real to even contemplate carrying it away with us.

And then we arrived in Venice. Here we discarded our sense of purpose, our fatigue and our helplessness while we watched a bleeding city held captive in the unblinking gaze of the television cameras for nearly 3 days and nights. Appropriately we left behind the first virgin snows caressing the slopes of some unknown mountain peaks as our train hurried away from it all into another long, dark tunnel.

And finally under David’s defiant gaze we immersed in the placid waters of the Arno our admiration, our aspiration, our inspiration, our creativity, our pride, our ego and spent the remaining week of our Roman holiday running after cats and chasing starlings. Thus suitably empty handed we returned home.

In all the places that we have passed by or stayed for a while fragments of our being lie torn, tossed and forgotten. Never to be found again. With every homecoming the baggage sits a little more lightly on our shoulders. And this one consideration makes traveling worth all the effort.

2 comments:

Mayank said...

so true. and so leonard cohenish in a strange way. although, i also do feel that besides leaving a part uf yourself behind when you travel, everything you see changes something in you...i realised in my limited totterings. but this is awesome, never looked at it that way.

Deepak Dogra said...

Beautiful. Love the drawings. Just left a few million stars at Nainital a couple of days back.