My travel fantasies are neither confined to specific locations on a map or a specific duration of time, nor caged by the assurance of comfort and convenience. As all free-willed birds seldom are. They’re simply a state of mind.
For months now I’ve been haunted by the peace and beauty of a small house, intricately carved, in the isolated hill-town of Malana. I fell in love with the little house captured by my camera. The view I imagined from the balcony; warm, cozy evenings spent in a dimly lit room with wooden panels; a job that pays little, an experience that can’t be bought; of green tea on the balcony and a walk in the meadow; to settle on a bench in an ocean of maple leaves, and watch the subtle changes in the panorama of mountains facing me… Mystic and tranquil.
The imagery is built of course, with little regard for the actual place. Somewhere, some day I ought to stumble upon a place of the sort again. And pass more than a few fleeting hours there. One I’ve been knitting so many stories around.
And some destinations are a complete contrast to my chain of thoughts otherwise. On brighter days, they hit like a tidal wave, and open my eyes, rather, clear my vision for an entirely contrary state of mind and lifestyle and travel. In retrospect, I think, it’s also often the idea of the people that leaves a more lasting impression than the place itself. Again, it doesn’t have to be Paris or New York or Bombay particularly.. It’s just a state of mind. It’s life- loud and vivacious!
There’s another photo I came across a while back, (and the reason I was moved to write this post) shuffling through the million photos I’ve collected from different trips, friends and websites. It’s a town at night, set at the foreground of a medieval castle, lit by yellow street lamps. I see myself teetering along the narrow alleyways visible between brick houses; or trying to put this beautiful town into words at a small cafe, which I’m sure lies behind that blind turn; or smiling at a stranger who’ll spare me the effort, because in a look, he understands. Oh! There’s something about this place!
A place looks like a Spanish town to me sometimes, or Pondicherry, but what does it matter, surprise me! Whatever the town is, whether it exists in reality or is a fragment of an artist’s enviable imagination, I would someday find my way to its brick lanes, its sea shore, its markets, its mountains, its people, its history…
So that’s the thing, I find myself in paintings and pictures, I become a part of a friend’s story as if it were my own, my fascination goes beyond what can be scheduled and scripted. I see myself often, walking enchanted and a little uncertain, silenced and content, down narrow lanes of small towns or vivid plazas! A traceless soul in nameless towns… A wandering Wind…
No, I haven’t felt a touch of its culture, but I can breathe the air; I haven’t witnessed its nights, but I’ve heard it call to me, I haven’t smelt the soil but I’ve been touched by the warmth of the people in the mountains, I haven’t savoured it yet, but I know what it tastes like…. Freedom.. 🙂