There are times when there is so much on your mind that it gets intricate to put it down on paper. That’s how I feel right now. I can probably begin writing and carry on for ages, or, I can just not do any of it and let memories, experiences, conversations and delight fade away, slowly and gradually. I took months to get back here and to really write something about the stuff that was going on in life, about the moments, places, dreams, aloofness and optimism. You realize, it’s hard for writers also, to write. I’d think about writing all the time. I do that even now. Like, when I am sitting at a coffee shop, reading about places and quests, I can frame a few paragraphs which stay for a minute or two and then go away. Or, when I am taking a shower, I always ponder upon words, upon small and big sentences that so beautifully define my sentiments. Also, when I am walking on the streets, especially in another country, gazing at people who look a little different but deep down have the same inherent feelings and ideas, I feel like writing; but, I never get down to it. May be, I can. May be, I can’t.
I can particularly think of one afternoon in Singapore, as I sat at a bench under a huge tree, with a diary and a pen. I looked around and felt at ease because there wasn’t anyone staring at me. The roads weren’t raucous; there were fewer people, fewer vehicles, a pleasant climate, a lot of greenery and a mysterious sense of quietude. I wrote that day. I felt free, to reflect, to watch and to take pleasure in those moments of solitude without feeling alone at all. Those were my minutes of liberation. I embraced them, smiled and moved on.
“I wonder if it was always possible to step out of your ordinary life and enter into the life you’ve wanted at least for a few days. You know, like forgetting about your livelihood, relationships, liabilities, those expectations people have from you and the ones that you have from people; keeping aside all that has the slightest power to upset you and being where your heart is at peace, where you are not really answerable to anyone or to your own self; where you can sense an enigmatic soft happiness just because that moment exists.”
Another time, I wrote while I sipped some Java Chip at Starbucks. I have a strange affinity for this café. On a lot of occasions when I am alone and need to just go somewhere, I pick Starbucks. And almost every time, I drink the Java Chip. Last week, I spent hours in this café day after day. I’d read, write, work on editorials, do my travel investigations, wait for my friends and meet people right there. I felt more estranged to my real life. Perhaps, that’s when I realized that we all have so many worlds inside of us. A few of them existent, a few synthetic, and yet, each of these worlds is essential to make us go through the wholeness of life, the grandeur of subsistence.
“They say this place is one of those puffed up coffee shops. I am not truly concerned about that, as long as I get those instants where I can immerse myself in the most beautiful world that I have: where isolation lets me do better things and where I can find my stillness in the midst of chaos. There are people all around me and no one is really bothered about anything except for their own selves. Some are working, others studying, a few reading while the rest seem to be engrossed in interesting or evocative conversations. Isn’t this a charming world, where you get to encounter so much in just a few flashes?”
Then, on my flight to Bali, I opened the tray cabin, got hold of my diary and pen and began to write. Initially, I found this amusing, because I looked more like a school kid working on her homework than like a writer traveling afar and probably that’s what made it even more special. The flight was packed with people from several countries and you’d know that, if you were there. Bali is like this one place where you find individuals from innumerable corners of the world, engaging in ‘slow travel’. They stay on for weeks and months and live through the essence of this magnificent region. When I went there for the first time last year, I had never even imagined that I’d go there again so soon. And yet, that was the most astonishing aspect of it all: the surprises life gives you. As the flight landed, showing me glimpses of the enchanting location, the never-ending oceans and seas, the splendor of the spirit of Bali, I felt more in place, more at home. May be, I have found one fragment of what the word ‘home’ is all about.
“There’s an affectionate reverberation in the word ‘home’ and yet we all have dissimilar connotations for it. Sometimes, we find home in the surroundings where we have been raised. Sometimes, home is the existence of a family, a union. For many of us, home is not a place but a person. And for many others, home is somewhere far away, nestled in a distant land, where we don’t really belong but find the entirety of our being. No matter what your ‘home’ is, it is that emotion of warmth and love that holds on to bliss. Home is happiness. Bali has been welcoming me with just the same tenderness and care and I am glad I can subsist in the world that connects me to this place. I guess, in one of my alternate worlds, Bali is my home. What’s yours?”