Friday, February 09, 2007

Photographs from A Vacation

I’m back from a brilliant vacation and I can’t believe it’s over!

The beauty of this trip back home was it came after 8 months of not seeing my parents and finally being there, I was thrown off balance with the amount our relationship had changed, or evolved.. as I like to believe it did.

I coincidentally got in touch with a friend I haven’t seen or heard from in seven years. We studied together from the time we were six till the time we were seventeen. Somehow, though we shared nothing of our lives or feelings with each other, had nothing in common, not even basic value systems, we called each other best friends.
Childish incidents and years later, we finally fell apart, probably for our own good.

Seven years later, I met her, this vacation and we talked just the way we did when we were in second standard, or in fourth.. or pre university.. and we still contained the same childlike comfort levels.
She still asked me uncomfortable questions and I still gave her with non committal answers.
Her voice was still the same, she still looked the same and trust me, I couldn’t believe anyone could still be the same person seven years later. She hadn’t changed in thought or soul.

Which set me thinking.. maybe I hadn’t changed either.

My mom took me to an ancient temple her family had just discovered in the outskirts of the outskirts of the outskirts of a wannabe city-but-really-a-cool-looking-village.

I walked in and realized what they mean when they say you can’t breathe when you see something this beautiful.
The temple was rock carved, ancient and virgin, and was the birthplace of two warriors who were now worshipped as demi-gods in the village.
A forest grew around the temple and you couldn’t possibly imagine something this beautiful could stand in a jungle of thorns and everyday weeds.
I heard overwhelming stories about how these two very great men attained god-ship and the Brahman in the temple showed me the dried lake they bathed in, the old wood cradles they slept in as infants and the weapons they carried.

A few days later I left my parents and the home I grew up in for an extension of my holiday. It felt strange because the house too seemed like my mother now – beautiful, affectionate, once mine, and solely mine. Today, they were both other entities besides being just my Amma or my home.

Anyway, mush apart, Hampi was terrific!

A vivid description of the history and archeology and shopping, you’ll get on Lonely Planet, so let me get down to what REALLY got me kicked.

The morning my friend and I left Hampi, we sat down to savor the last of our free identities and freedom here.
Over a Tibetian breakfast in a little shack there, we listened to the birds, the river and a bunch of stoned firangs singing off tune.

Just then two people entered the shack.
The woman, atleast sixty, was Israeli and her British companion, an excited little man of atleast seventy led her in.

We couldn’t help but notice how excited the two seemed and they sat down discussing how the hash brown potatoes were nothing like hash brown potatoes here for the next fifteen minutes. The chemistry between them was so charged, I felt much older for a while.

Then, we eavesdropped. (Sorry, Mrs. Beautiful Israeli Woman and Mr. Handome Brit Man)

We learnt the two were once seeing each other, thirty years back. For some reason, they went their ways then. He got married, she was too, and somehow, six months back they got in touch, probably on the internet.

They decided to meet, here in Hampi on a decided date. The two came alone, leaving behind their families, but once here, didn’t know how to contact each other. Mr. Handsome Brit Man went all over the place to every inn asking them if Mrs. Beautiful Israeli Woman had checked in and a week later, he found her, and instantly recognized her.

We sat there listening to the two so lost in their past and so oblivious to the world around, suddenly snapping back into the present, feeling awkward, and then gliding back in, lost in memories.

I wish I’d stayed longer and been evil longer enough to know what happened to the two after that Tibetian breakfast. But we had a flight to catch. So a silent prayer said to the couple, we picked our bags and departed.

I’m back now, and my ex-best friend, the warriors and their history, home and the inter-nation lost love story all are part of memory, a past vacation and old photographs.

Hopefully, life will seem interesting enough now on!



therapy said...

sounds absolutely cool.

and hampi is enchanting.


vichchoobhai said...

Hi Sis, the title of the post is misleading.
I did not find a single photograph, whether of hampi or of the old couople or of the young couple or of the long lost classmate of yours.No photo of your idyllic village the ancient temple with its warrior dieties, etc.

There is a sea change in your style. U r more prosaic now, more at peace with yourself unlike the earlier posts poetic, fanciful and betraying trepidations about existential problems.

Keep it up. More power to your elbow ( or typing fingers)