19th December, 2021
For some of us, we find our destinations as soon as we walk out the front doors of our houses but for some like you and me, we, remain forever in the journey.
I wish I had the finesse to write this thought and call it my own but it was Faraz Sahib who penned this, perhaps somewhere in the valleys of Peshawar where his voice once upon a time echoed in local mushairas.
Kisi Ko Ghar Se Nikalte Hi Mil Gayee Manzil
Koi Humari Tarhan Umar Bhar Safar Mein Raha.
Often along the way, I pass by homes of people who’ve found their destinations. At times when they’ve left a window or door open, I can’t help but peek into their homes. And always I’m struck in wonderment of the beautiful lives they’ve so lovingly built.
Over the years I’ve caught glimpses of a deep sleep after a final PhD paper, sparkle of diamond rings through champagne flutes, nimble fingers licking melting creams from 3-tiered cakes, golden threads weaved into lehengas, nervous signatures on first mortgage papers on kitchen tables, creases on ivory silk at second christenings…
Their front verandahs scattered with tiny little shoes, gardens sometimes left unkept with violet creeping bellflowers overtaking the crotons, a half assembled book shelf in the garage, pots of leftover curry on the stove bench that everyone’s too lazy to wash up…
There’s this warmth. Like some kind of kinetic energy that binds all these moments and chaos of their lives into a place; their homes; the final destination at the end of the day where they get off to rest.
Once in a while one of them might look up and catch me peeping through their windows! And the look on their faces at times leaves me perplexed. A half smile; a mix of hankering for the free winds, a slight twinge of envy of the open road, pity maybe, a little dread, but mostly gratitude for the warmness they’re cocooned in.
Isn’t it strange, Anand, that sometimes we all still long for what is on the other side of the window having made our choices freely?
It will be Christmas Eve soon. The one night of the year when the roads are nearly deserted at mid-night and when all three ghosts of Christmas will wait for us wanderers again at some crossroads.
What is it about the cold and unknown of our journeys that we can’t seem to get off it at some destination? That we can’t seem to anchor bolts and light ourselves a fire. What is it about the both of us that we are adamant in walking the opposite direction to each other?
Perhaps it is vastness of this earth not yet walked, the magnificence of the open skies we fall asleep under, the side lanes of ancient roads still not veered off on. Maybe the freedom of the unbound that needs no warmth?
(or perhaps we are just fools?)
Or perhaps, just perhaps, it’s the sheer consciousness that we both exist in the same sphere. That maybe you and I, are not meant for manzils. But that the magic of us is the journey itself.
Merry Christmas, Anand.