Monday, October 07, 2013

A moment in time, a moment out of time ...

There is something so liberating about living in a new place, a place where nobody knows you. You can keep all your personal baggage aside and start afresh. And if you are lucky enough to land up in a place where people hardly bother to judge random strangers for being unexpectedly different, then you are in for a good time. You can be as frumpy or as glam or as silly as you please and nobody really cares. You can just be yourself. You can wander all over town, enjoying the solitude amidst the teeming masses. Nobody looks at you pityingly or judges you as being unsociable or unpopular or just plain old sad and lonely if you sit down alone at a roadside table with a book and a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

Don't get this wrong. Living among people I love and care for is simply brilliant. Nothing can come close to the comfort and warmth of family and friends. But when I am identified as a certain kind of person and am expected to always abide by people's perception of how I should behave and the kind of person I should be, then it becomes very difficult to be anyone else, anyone different. If I were to take the plunge and decide to ditch my career, or take up some crazy hobby or insist on solitude or just decide to change the entire pattern of my life, I may have to live with well meaning friends and family taking me aside and telling me that my life is going off track and that I should buckle up and start behaving like myself. But how can I be myself and not myself all at the same time? Whoever I am, whatever I am at the present moment is all me. It may not be the me that you know, or expect, but it is still me. In any case, I am not normally carefree enough, perhaps not courageous enough, to be that wildly crazy.

In this land, where few people know me, or know what I am supposed to be like, it is a delight to redefine myself. No, that's not true, I am not redefining myself, more like, rediscovering myself and my capabilities, my likes and dislikes. Discovering all those things I used to love... reading for myself. Reading a multitude of books together, in random order. Not just books for relaxation but books for their sheer pleasure. All at once. As the mood may strike. Wandering aimlessly about town, gazing at ancient buildings and into the endlessly blue windswept sky, imagining patterns in the various cloud forms and the fuzzy white lines of airplane exhaust crisscrossing the blue sky. Browsing through stores, window-shopping, people-watching, losing myself in the melodies of the street-musicians. Deciding that I do indeed love cooking. It relaxes me, rejuvenates me. I know that modern, liberated, independent women are often supposed to look upon cooking as a chore, forced upon them by the chauvinistic elements of society. But I love the planning of a meal, understanding a recipe, shopping for the right ingredients, and putting together a delicious, hot meal. I love the melodious blending together of spices and flavours. I love the smells, of chocolatey-gooey cupcakes and cinnamon-topped apple pies, wafting out of the oven. I love the visual treat of colourful food with different textures, creatively presented. It almost feels like a form of art therapy.

It is fun to connect with myself, as clichéd as that sounds! I miss my people. I miss the everyday traditions of families. But I am re-learning so much about myself instead. Perhaps, this is a rite of passage. Perhaps, it may not even be a question of a different place. It may just be a matter of time. Like I am on vacation from my own life. Something that everybody should go through. A time to find yourself, to lose yourself, to just be. To find out whether you are a person you can really like. A lot. Without the baggage of expectations. With all the freedom that comes from knowing that you have a loving place to go back to. A time to live for the moment, live in the moment, carefree, mukt :)