I am back – back home. Its nice to feel my own bed, drink my home-made coffee and shower at my leisure in my warm shower. Also waiting for me is a whole bag of unopened mail, most of which are in German, which means I have a long date with my dictionary and the other half is probably month end bills. I miss the days when I could at least hope that some of the mail I received would be letters – genuine hand written messages of love. I still have a stack of letters I got from my mother the first year I left home – ya, that was before the age of emails or cheap IDD calls. These days, mails in a language I can comprehend is a luxury.
I know its been only abt half a month – but I feel like I have been to another world and back. Like so much has happened. Probably because when I travel, my mind works at a pace thats over my usual speed limits. I like nothing better than staring for long hours out of the window of a moving train. There is something uncomparably liberating in the incessant passing of the greens, the occasional cow on the field or the lone passerby. I love the silence, when long forgotten thoughts are pulled out of my memory and restacked after much deliberation. No idea is too stupid. No thought is too random. I am the philosopher that I never get to be.
The more I travel, the more I realise the borders are so thin – we are all just travellers on the path of life – on a never ending race in which we dont know where the finishing line is. We try to plan our race – to pace the middle and to sprint the last lap, yet the white tape could just be round the corner. Whether we are Spanish, Indian, German or Portuguese or anyone else for that matter, we are just people who yearn for the same things in life. Who are hurt by the same old things. We try to be different – yet we are not. We try hard to belong – but we already do.
I have more blisters on my feet than I have had for a long time. I have a lost a couple of kilos and am a few shades darker. As we trekked the Pyrenees, I discovered muscles on my body that I did not know existed. The harshness of the arid mountains was unlike all the tropical green treks I have been to before – it made nature seem so much loftier and human life so much more trifle. I am physcially tired. Yet I feel like its my mind that has done most of the work. I relived my childhood memories of when I had read about Don Quixote, Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama. I used to learn French from an old Goan lady, who had a lot of stories to share about Portugal and Portugese. As I was browsing through a book store, I came across a book about Goa – the colony that was invaded and conquered by the Indian Union – It was almost like hearing the other side of the story in a court trial.
While each civilsation tries to outshine each other by showing off their prowesses in their fantastic museums, no one really understands who sets the benchmarks. What if someone discovered tomorrow that the ancient people who did not have a written form of language communicated by telepathy which makes use of the collective human conciousness that modern science has not yet been able to completely reject or embrace; if writing and recording was irrelevant because their memories and brains were sufficiently well developed to capture and retain even the minutest of details; would these same museum curators run to hide the remnants of writing and to pretend that their ancestors were of the higher developed kind? Are these projected supremacies and discoveries of each ancient civilsation as relevant as they are made out to be? Whether they are from the Roman era or the Indus Civilisation or Egyptian remains (which btw, I have seen exhibited in so many European museums, it makes me wonder what is left in Egypt), they all tell the story of the progress of the human race. As I see more of the world, I see more links than I see differences.
One of the many wonders of travel is that it makes you realise the beauty of what you leave behind. Its great to be back home. The routine somehow seems welcoming. Yet, I know the feeling wont last long. As soon as my wallet and work permits, I hope I can travel again. As I stood gazing Christopher Colombus’ and Vasco da Gama’s tombs and the ships that carried them to the new found lands, I was somehow reminded of a poem I had learnt in school:
Beyond the East the sunrise,
Beyond the West the sea,
East and West this wander-thirst,
That will not let me be.
Across the centuries, across the continents, some things never change.
I havent been hit by the jolt of reality yet. I am still in the realm of random thoughts and unreasoned out musings. My head feels happily muddled. A post on my impressions on Spain and Portugal will just have to wait a bit. Its also probably not the best time to blog. Moreover, its time to go to bed. To my bed.