Startled by a distant noise, she immediately wakes up and for a second, wonders where she is, before she remembers that she is at her destination. She was blissfully sleeping in a lovely home-stay where she had reached few hours ago, in the middle of the night. And now, a bright and vast sun shines outside her window with the rays barely making it inside her room, past the curtains. She gets up to draw the curtains and the biggest smile spreads across her face, plastering some of the worry lines she had been wearing since past few weeks. But within few seconds, her face goes serious yet again and her eyes tense. She grabs her shawl, puts on her sneakers and heads out for a quick walk.
There is no living being to be seen around her for as far as she can see. The view is as soothing to her mind, as it is to her eyes. After walking for a few minutes, she stops and wonders where to go. She is at a crossroad and has to choose which path to tread on. One of the roads is muddy, unkempt and she can’t really see where it turns to. The other is a fairly well maintained road and has a few shops which are closed right now. She knows she wants to take the muddy route, but for now, she starts walking on the other. Her lips turn into a pout and a frown creases her forehead, as she proceeds. She wonders when she will stop doing this, and then shakes her head to clear the thoughts, as always.
Exploring a new city on foot has its own charm. At one point, you feel like a substantial part of it and at another, a complete outsider. But, what holds true always is that you observe new things and you explore new dimensions. You develop a sense of learning gratitude which is far beyond the like – dislike characteristic we attach to most places near us. As she continues walking down the road, she is registering new landscapes and outlooks, but at the back of the mind, all she can still hear is that nagging. The two mix up in her head and create a hysterical illusion. Cool breeze and warm rays on her face are comforting and yet making her mind feel exposed. ‘This is a new version of my mind’, she says with a smirk.
She finds a nice cosy spot to stretch and relax for sometime. But as she lays her head down on the nearby rock, she feels empty. Perhaps, so many changes and new experiences are getting overwhelming for her feeble heart. Or perhaps, her heart is so touched by what she has done that it can’t process her feelings properly. It had indeed been a long time that she had stepped out of her city, all alone, with only hopes of sanity in her mind. She lets out a heavy sigh and remembers each time she wanted to sit all by herself, knowing no one can disturb her or nag her or engage her in things she didn’t want to do. She suddenly realizes that she could shout the word No and it would have an impact here. The flowers around her or the birds in the sky will hear her and not retaliate. The mountains will probably echo her No and will make sure it reaches every corner of the place and with the strength it deserves. And so, with her mind and heart in this together, she does exactly that.
The rays are getting warmer and she feels that they can now pass through her skin, into her exposed mind and heart. She is worried about her secrets, and she is even more concerned about the unresolved issues she has with herself. She had tried everything before – ignoring, reasoning, giving her mind some space, hurting herself, talking to others, peering at her own intentions. And, undoubtedly, she had made progress, but she could never make sense of some of her actions, and definitely not of the questions circling around in her mind, all the time. In moments of confusion, despair, anger and grief, we ask ourselves pertinent and grave questions that may or may not have favorable responses. But more often than not, we ask the wrong question. It shouldn’t be about what the third person thinks of you, but what you want them to think of you. As long as we are clear on the latter, the questions will fall into place and subsequently, their answers. But, it’s not so simple to control your mind to make it think what it should, rather than what it wants to. She always knew that she has a weak and gullible heart, but she could always control her thoughts. Even though she sits at a place where nobody knows her, she fears that people can see her indecisive mind and she is afraid to have it attacked any longer.
At every new place, you feel disconnected with it at a trivial level, but you are cocooned by its existence, serenity and aura. You may not see familiar surroundings or faces, but you know the air, the wind, the mist, the warmth, the cold. You may be far away from home, and yet feel right at it, because home is where your heart and mind are safe. They may not be at peace and they may be troubled, but they would be safe, from things that are unimportant to our existence. Looking at the clear night sky, safely wrapped up in her shawl, she knows they are safe. And she realizes that she has not felt this way in a long time. The wounds may still be fresh, but this feeling of being at home, is healing them. She can feel her past slightly farther away, and her present nearer. While deciding to call it a night, she prays to her God that even if tomorrow may take her further away from reality, hope it brings her closer to herself, like it did today.