Who teaches you to come back?

Travel—it’s a common theme these days. So many of the inspirational posts doing the rounds these days are about letting go of the vagaries of life and travelling.

Travel to your heart’s content. Travel until your feet can’t move anymore. Travel until your heart expands to fit the whole world in. And then, travel some more, they say.

It’s a beautiful concept. And travel one must.

But who will teach you to come back home?

Home with it’s chores and daily schedules. Who will remind you of their urgencies and the reason why you withstood the painpoints?

Home with it’s shackles and binds, heating your skin up that was, until a split second ago, cold from the breeze blowing against you on the tall cliff.

Home with it’s dull grey skies and polluted city centres, where only the young and foolish think they’re free. Wasn’t it not too long ago until you were one of those?

Home, where the parties have come to an end and the after-parties only rise and ebb in the chorus of the sonorous snores.

Home, where the 5.00 am alarm rings you, and you don’t jump out, excited about chasing the sun rise from the east. No, instead you drag your feet to the bathroom and drape yourself in the anonymity of dreary clothes.

Where all texts you get are from colleagues and a handful of friends left in the drainage pipe, ready to ride away the time train. Not, from friends made a few minutes back, making excited plans to discover a pristine hidden beach or get up close to a tall mountain peak.

No. How do you get back?

When all you’re faced with is the list of compromises you made to stabilize reality. When you have to relive the decisions—the friends cut off, the people you retain; the habits newly formed at the behest of old ones gone. Everything that formed the new skin you sew for yourself over time, shedding bits and pieces of the old one again and again, minutes and hours at a time.

Will you agree with each of those?

Would you take the time to mourn what you left behind long before you travelled? But adhere to what’s left?

Or will you rethink your life, change the compromise that’s no more comfortable, and chase after what you decided to leave behind?

How do you answer all your questions about yourself, the people and the world around you, when all you’re expected to do is be normal…again?

And so, you escape. You relive your travels again and again in your mind, avoiding the realities unfolding before your eyes. You forget the life you’re living, and love the past, holding onto it with a desperate vigour, all the while being painfully aware that those memories are fading.

Going, going…. Gone.

There. Now you’re back to reality.

Or are you?

Looking through the rear-view mirror

Hindsight is a bitch. It has convinced me that the present has severe eye-sight issues. Logic helps act as a poor replacement for spectacles. But it rarely gets the timing and mind-speed right.

And that’s why, hindsight!

Imagine if we were to drive with a muddy front glass, and exceptionally clear rear-view mirrors.

I often feel my glass is muddier than average. I call it the anti-climax phenomenon.

My mind is forever in that mode, even during normal conversations. Remember, the dialogue in the movie ‘You’ve got mail’ where the female protagonist complains that she never thinks of appropriate responses at the spur of the moment, but much much later? Yep, that’s me. Except, this happens all the time, and not just when I’m angry.

It’s like my mind goes into mute mode the moment I have company. It doesn’t shut off, but its input process overtakes the output process. Like your mouse and keyboard are working, but you see the reaction of clicking or typing hours later on the screen.

I know it means my mind needs solitude to process thoughts. But, even day-to-day conversations? That’s taking it too far.

As a result, I not only have thoughts in my head during my me-time, but continuous relays of past conversations, their thousand possible responses and the repercussions!

Where’s my pensieve?! (Heck, that spelling looks incorrect. Hmpf!)

And to add to all this, there’s hindsight, churning out smart little observations, pointing out missed opportunities and mistakes.

What’s the point! It’s not that I can go back in time and change things, can I? Yes, I know I’ll learn from it, but how often do we have the exact same situation repeat in life? The next lesson is always different? There’s no point.

It’s like we are simply moving in circles!

P.S.: This post itself is an example of the delays in my mind and the effects of solitude. A lot of thoughts have burst forth in one day. Ergo, three posts! Who knows, maybe I will end up writing another before hitting the bed!

Near Time’s still waters

On a bright blue day,

I see time fly.

Reflected on the river’s shiny waters,

Onto my eye.

Scoop into my hands,

I hold my past,

A memorabilia, a proof,

Of times when I had a life.

Still as time, the water flows,

In it, I see me change, I see me grow.

Overhead, the flowers bloom and dry,

First pale, and then green, the leaves turn.

The roots inch towards me,

As if to cajole and caress,

To break me out of my reverie,

To shake the calmness, put away the misery.

Spring turns autumn, and then winter springs,

Unmoving I lay, with time, in sync.

I move, I change; I flow with the waters

Yet on the banks, I consummate my marriage with Hindsight.

The roots finally pull me out

And tuck me under their wings,

Blindfolded, in its shadowy night

A green crow amidst the greens, my sole witness.

Opened, I did, my mouth

I croaked, but the crow spoke

Lifted its wing, and pointed at the red sun

And the black moon, it was hiding behind.

Cried, the white clouds and thundered,

Cried, they, for their black peers, and the fair maid.

The thunder, poignantly sweet to my ears,

A tear rolled and rippled the clean waters.

I woke up, Nostalgia lay beside me,

Unmoving in death, lifeless and unseeing.

With a beating heart, that Hindsight broke.

Time was the catalyst, the perpetual villain of yore.

I blinked, another drop rippled the water

The moon turned red, the sun welcomed the dark

I blinked, the crow flew into the clouds, white,

The roots cleared, and shone blinding yellow light.