Friday, 17 April 2015

Healing the hole in my heart

June 18, 2006: It’s a peculiar phenomenon. More than two decades ago, I travelled rough quite a bit in Gujarat and Maharashtra. I’d tell my parents cryptically that I’d be “in coastal South Gujarat” or “Saurashtra” or “around Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani-Pune”, and then I’d disappear for a week with maybe Rs 500 or 800. Equipped mainly with a road-map, I’d roam around, hiking all night sometimes and sleeping under trees off highways, or in nearby tea-stalls, shop-fronts, beaches, park benches, fishermen’s homes, as well as dirt-cheap, bedbug-infested lodges and dharamshalas

I enjoyed that. I travelled alone, and I liked my own company. I liked the silence and the introspection. I liked climbing into an ST bus on a moment’s whim, just because I liked the sound of the place where it was going, and because it was about to leave in two minutes. I liked not knowing where I would wake up the next day.

However, no matter how beautiful the beaches and the mountains and the gurgling brooks, a kind of loneliness haunted me. It was a kind of barren feeling inside, as though there was a hole inside me. Sometimes I believed that hole would be filled when I found my lady love.

That didn’t turn out to be true. However, nowadays I find that hole being filled, when I travel with my kids. I enjoy taking them to places that I may have visited then, or entirely new places. I find my true joy in a vicarious way, when they enjoy these places… the local flora and fauna, beaches, forests and mountains, sunsets and mists. Their laughter and delight makes my life complete. Each time we have these outings together, the hole in my heart closes a little, and I feel that little bit more complete.

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