Lost or found…

When you lose your luggage and arrive in a foreign city with just the clothes on your back, you are more a survivor than a tourist. You wander the streets of a suburban, sun burnt city on a hot, golden afternoon. The streets are dunked in gold. The mountainous terrain exudes a strangely picturesque quaintness to an otherwise harsh landscape. The heat is reminiscent of the summer days of yore. You think of all that has been left behind and quell the mild sense of panic that comes from the realization of having lost most of your packed belongings. We are no strangers to loss, any of us. But we pretend that we are defined by what we possess and we shudder at having to find sense in a void when really the void has been there all along.

But.Yet. There is a footloose liberation in travelling light. Because your baggage does not define you anymore. You know that every journey is its own destination –but how many times do you get to learn the lesson that every destination is really a journey too? You sit down on a park bench and watch life go by. People meandering back to the lives they have built carefully or perhaps accidentally. People buying groceries and cooking their dinners and cleaning their cars. People walking their dogs and people getting their takeaway. Families and individuals and people that are in between either stage. You watch them like watching a play unravel. Because you are here for the sunset, wandering footloose, like we said. And you are here defined merely by the spot you have subjugated on a park bench.

You wander past a jeweller’s shop and something in your heart twitches a little. For all the nonchalance about losing everything, there are irreplaceable trinkets in everyone’s luggage. You wonder if you will ever see the old and shiny golden chain that has withstood generations and time and family ties. After a while, all links to the past become muted and indiscernible. And we forget sometimes, that just because something can no longer be seen, it does not cease to exist.

When the past becomes a part of the present, you can no longer imagine a future without either entity. And so you rue over the loss for a while. And then it occurs to you that when someone gifts you a memory worth keeping, it is a gift without a return by date. No matter how much change seeps into our lives, a bit of the old always percolates in with the new. So you have lost the family heirloom as things stand but really, fragments of the past that contribute towards defining you still stand intact and unsullied. And no amount of drifting or baggage will ever take away that which is innate. Perhaps you should travel light; you arrive at better places that way.

When all is done and said and the evening shadows have lengthened; when the sun has gone his own way and the silences are preparing to roost near you, when the quiet murmurs of the heart that talk of loss and longing can no longer be shushed, you realize that no matter what stays and what goes – you are defined only by what the heart salvaged from the depredation of your travels. Everything else can be discarded and renounced and left behind. You carry your destination in your heart. The journey is a mere formality.

Infalliability…

A helium balloon tethered to a fence. Dipping and swooping with marvellous cheer. Even as the weatherman told us to stay indoors because of impending wild weather and furious storms. To be oblivious of fallibility must be a wonderfully, liberating sensation…