Sunday, March 27, 2016

A day well lived

Yes, it has been a very long time since I have blogged. What was second nature to me, became the one thing I ignored. I could partly blame it on my 9-5 job which provides an outlet to my need to write and express. But the truth is also that either I learnt the art of letting an experience remain just that without feeling a desire to share it with the world, or more realistically, found it within myself to share my thoughts with those I love and have slowly allowed myself to trust.

But today, after many many months, I felt a burning desire to write. Not the mundane traffic-directed writing many of us are relegated to, after a point. But the kind of writing that urged me to change my career, 6 years back. 

Mountains do that to me. Somehow, they always urge me, to find the voice of my soul, the voice that cities so well suppress. Every time I travel, I feel more alive. And it is not hectic city travel that I am biased towards. It is that where there is nothing but me and silence. This moment, for example. I am sitting here, in the patio of a stunning cottage in the hills above Bhimtal. There is no sound, but that of birds chirping, crickets making a racket and an occasional axe cutting a log of wood somewhere far away. I may love dancing and house parties and restaurants that have a ‘vibe’. But if you want to know the me that I hide, you will find her here. The girl who can sit on this chair and read a book for hours, or she who loves waking up early and going for a walk along the jungle-trails that villagers frequent. You will find her at peace. Unquestioning, content and with no plan in place. And if the thought of this girl doesn’t bore you, she may allow you to glimpse the thoughts that run through her head, or the feelings that she hides well in the crevices of her heart.

But I digress. What urged me to write was a perfect day today. I started the day today doing something that would normally freak me out – jumping off a cliff! I went paragliding. I’m not a very ‘adventurous’ person in the context of such things. But when I was wondering yesterday if I should try paragliding or not, I surprisingly found no fear in my heart. What is the worst that could happen? That is what I ask myself when there is terrible turbulence in flights these days. And when I think of the worst, it doesn’t scare me anymore. 

If you haven’t tried paragliding yet, I suggest you head here the next weekend you can spare, and give it a go. The joy of flying through the air is inexplicable. You feel alive. Real. There is nothing else in that moment but you and the wind that steers you. Many people I know have discovered a similar joy in deep sea diving or snorkeling. For me, it will always be flying through the air.

And when I thought nothing could compete with a morning like that, our cottage’s caretaker arranged for us to visit his home in the nearby village on my request. We trekked down, children in tow and found ourselves welcomed with open arms by the women in the village. 

They had laid out a plastic table for us, with a gorgeous red flower set in the center. I found myself wandering into the kitchen in the hut. Mud walls and a spic and span mud floor, covered by a slanting roof. Usha, the eldest, placed a low stool next to the choolah for me to sit on as she and her sister prepared food for us. And the food. What do I tell you about the food. Delicious, honest flavours, which did not need to hide behind garam masalas and chilies. The saag was perhaps the best I have ever had, with tempering of onion and ghee and the rajmah different from the version popular in Punjab or even Kashmir. They grew their own produce, palak and garlic, wheat and onion, amongst other things. Organic produce, that we city folk like to switch to. The good ol’ ways that people have been living by, the healthier way to eat.

A morning of soaring among the clouds and birds. An afternoon marked by smiles and acceptance. Such was my day today. A day unlike many others.

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