He struggled to open his eyes for a bit, and look through the cracks between his fingers that cover his eyes to protect him from the giant storm. Where did all the charts go? He frantically squinted all around his field of vision looking for the meticulously constructed house of cards – so high he was sure he could touch the moon if he’d gotten to climb. But as if on purpose, the weather changed at the wrong, or perhaps the right time.
The Reckoner shut his eyes, and waited for the storm to subside. After what seemed like ages, he looked around. The desert was barren, but for a wooden cart. He had always fantasized the thought of running away, and the cart without a beast reminded him: There was nowhere to run.
If last year was year of the Reckoner, who spent most of his time meticulously planning a future that would soon be swept by the most vicious of sandstorms, this year very much seems to be the time of the Wanderer.
Without meaning to, I’ve ended up visiting nearly every major city in the south of India within the first six months of this year. This included an unplanned surreal journey to the innards of an eccentric spiritual shrine, wandering in age-old research facilities brimming with hope, and happening to watch some of my favourite musicians from but a few feet away.
And then, as fate would like to have it, moved half way across the country.
For reasons that I’m not too sure myself yet, I brushed my transatlantic academic ventures off and settled for what is probably the most mainstream routine of your regular perturbed young man from India.
Moving out of the protective bubble that was college (some of you may be surprised how so, but let’s leave it at that) into the real world, I see a world that offers more than I had signed up for, at the same time forcing a compromise at every turn.
In the process, I’ve come to realize how diverse, yet so repetitive every place in the country is. While it’s been a trite adage that every school kid is made to memorize, the extent of vast difference, and similarity in the ways of people in different parts of India has taken me this long to hit.
Spread over a dozen different languages, traditions, different festivals and climate – and yet it feels little or hardly alien as I recognize the blanketing of trivial, but all pervasive human reason over all of them.
In the midst of a cross-roads where I stand at the moment, dazed as I turn around, contemplating on which is the best direction to take, I see people. I see humanity raising its big head, something that has always haunted me over the years that I took to grow up. But it no longer terrifies me as much as it did so long.
All said, the move has been given me a new leaf to start writing into, now with neater handwriting and thoughtful words. If all else fails, it shall serve as a new piece of scratch paper.
Until the sandstorm appears round the corner once again,