Travel Diaries:The Dawn


Dear You,

I have been delaying this for quite a while and I am sorry, more to myself than to you; because it has been some struggle to find words to be able to communicate.

Of late, I have been surrounded with so much of life, I have forgotten to breathe. I had to remind myself that breathing is still essential to living. Life in all its seasons - in bright sunshine and in heavy thunderstorm, has been sweet pleasure .You know I went on a Europe trip last month. Three friends backpacking across Europe and devouring whatever it had to offer like there was no tomorrow. I cannot call it a trip anymore, it was an experience. An experience best felt alone. I came back freer than ever before, free from my own chains of bondage, out of the cocoon I had sought refuge in for so long and finally free from the chaos in my head. Chasing was all that I had done so far; and for a change, I halted and tasted peace.

It was a peace of its own kind; it was rediscovering me. However, there has been so much of peace that it has put me on mute. I don’t wish to speak, don’t wish to express, don’t wish to react, and don’t wish to engage myself at a deeper level in anything, with anyone. And, it in the abysmal depth of this complete and absolute silence I find my solace. This distance that I have with me is both frightening and liberating at the same time; but this letter is not about it, so maybe, later.

Leaving everything behind, I headed off to Spain to join my friends. Barcelona(Catalonia) is all about sculptors and a lot of fashion. No building is plain and devoid of some architectural design and pattern. It was also in Catalonia where the first cookbook of Spain was written. Valencian Paellas and Churos,originally from Madrid, became our staple food and a freshly squeezed orange juice our staple drink. We drank Sangria while watching Andalusian Flamenco dance and indulging in the copious consumption of energy and emotion of the artists on stage, after a long walk around the city.

Not party people otherwise, we were intrigued by the much raved about night life of the city. The night life begins at not before 1 am and it is not before that the city wakes to life. The streets abound with glitz and people ready to burn the dance floor till the wee hours of the morning. We have had some very rather interesting experiences at the clubs there, which brought us closer to the beat of the city and its people. We hung around to to hit the beach and watch the sunrise. We experienced freedom which seemed to know no fear; we danced so as to vent and we drank so as to fill up all our dents. It was a night to remember.

Completely goofing up with our flight’s schedule, tired and utterly sleep deprived, we managed to board our flight to Amsterdam.  A quaint city with streets lined by maroon, brown and black painted buildings,intercepted by canals and tram lines against a perennially cloudy sky served as a constant reminder of our love for  bleak backdrops. We tried most of the things that Amsterdam is (in)famous for and returned to our hostel bunks feeling smug and satisfied at having ticked off somethings from the list of our bucket list of experiences. The constant drizzle followed by an iota of sunshine forms the order of the day and has a unique appeal specially when one is sitting with a book, eating waffles, cycling down, playing or feeding ducks or simply idling away in Vondel Park. Personally, I found it to be as intrinsic to the city as Heineken experience or Van Gogh museum or Rijksmuseum.  

You have always been aware of how as a child I had ardently consumed literature on war, especially World War-II . A visit to Anne Frank House reinforced those images I had in my head and left me despondent. Skirting away for now from the subject of the then political climate , I have realized that sometimes dynamics between relations of two entities can get delicate and its vulnerability at any particular instant of time is very critical to upsetting any equation. And since both dynamics and time are not a thing of the past, our past must serve as a caveat for us to foster an environment that does not breed mistrust, hostility and a complete and an abject disregard for humanity; because, history does have a way of repeating itself and it is in our past that our lessons for our future are contained. No memorial is erected to serve alone as a tourist attraction or as a center to share the trauma or pain but to pledge that such gothic incidents never happen again.

After savouring the Amstel Beer and stopping by to meet a prospective someone for a friend where we ended up taking more interest in the someone's friend (collectively :-D), we headed to Berlin.

This trip had started out with a quiet feeling, a hope to be able to engage in such a travel experience with your best buddies. And this was just the beginning. Finding right travel mates makes all the difference because then the journey becomes as exhilarating as the destination.

I was carrying my diary all along so that I could pen down as and when I please to be able to relate to you my travel tales. You know I hold you dear to my heart and it is always my constant endeavour to be able to translate into right words what I truly felt then. I hope that when you read my words you are able to live my travel vicariously .And if that happens, I will know that I could reach you. I will turn in for now, but will write to you again about more of my tales from this travel soon.

Yours truly,
Me





Comments

Rahul Bhatia said…
Such a delightful read! Stuti ! You should write a book in your own unique style about your experiences. I could relate to this feeling of liberation as I changed 40 trains in 20 days while moving places to have a satiated feeling and leaving me thirsty to see even more:)
Bikram said…
WOWOW.. I just myself returned from a little 4 day trip to france and belgium on sunday .. but we drove all the way and back..

next time surly head to the places you mentioned ...


Bikram's
A grain of sand said…
Thank you so much for your constant encouragement:-)
A grain of sand said…
All the best and do share your experiences with us :-). Thank you for dropping by
Kunal said…
Hi Stuti,

It has been an experience in itself to read this one. And not the least because of the amazing the travel experiences in Europe, which I can relate to. But, more because of the what this post does not say. Or perhaps tried to hide something behind its own beauty. We are what we try to protect and preserve. Sometimes, what we try to protect, protects us. Becoming each others armour without even realizing. This post is beautiful for this feeling alone.

All the best.
A grain of sand said…
It is all about interpretation. And I will not negate your take completely.Thanks Kunal for dropping by after ages :-)
Saru Singhal said…
Travel is liberating. I want to do the same this winter with my girlfriends. Will write to you when I plan a trip to Europe as Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin are must visit cities.

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