Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Winds of Bergen

 A small town nestled in the hills of Bergen, all curvy roads lead to the small lake in the heart of this paradise and it’s here that love blossoms and grows into a beautiful flower with a long stem full of thorns- a characteristic common in all love stories, each flower unique with different fragrances that inspire other flowers and give motivation to blossom, to stand the test of times and to kiss the sky.
 These sun kissed flowers envelope the harshest terrains and add colours to your life, one such flower was sown by Eirik-his is a love story straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel.
  Eirik was 5 years old when his father who was in the air-force and was posted in this quaint little paradise, he had seen almost all of Norway, and each place would capture his heart with unique diversity but there was something about this town that was extra-ordinary and his life was about to change for better or for worse. Having all the privileges of a good life style, love , great environment , there was one thing that was lacking –other humans his age, friendship-something he didn't know existed, thanks to his homeschooling and his mother’s over protective nature that sometimes translated into over empowering, never really giving him a chance to explore the real world on his own terms but to believe everything she told him including what he saw on T.V to what he read in the news papers, his world was like that of Jim Carrey from the film ‘The Truman Show’, but it was only her love, the fact that she wanted him to enjoy only the good things in life and not be made fun of, due to the polio he suffered from, she was reluctant to put him in school due to the fact that a school is a place where young boys are always on the run pulling pranks, he wouldn't fit in, he will always be the last one and that would isolate him , he was a gifted boy, he used to practice music to keep himself busy and music’s what gave him inner peace but this was all about to change, magical things were going to happen.
  He was in Bergen, where the clouds and the sun play hide and seek, the mist covers the beautiful greens dotted along the rockies that lead to the most peaceful waters, it is here that he would spend all his evenings taking inspiration from the surroundings and dedicating verses to his muse, one day he saw the reflection of what was possibly a girl as if extending a hand of friendship to him, the nearer he went the winds seem to have taken her away from him, not paying much attention he continued admiring the sun set and captured the vivid colours of twilight in his heart and with a deep breadth went back home. This became a routine until one day when he followed her shadow into the forest that led to a light house, a whole new world of amazement stood before him, there she was smiling, inviting him in, ‘I’m Aria’, not having dealt with people before he didn’t know how to react, so he went back hurriedly, pondered over it the whole night, went to his mother to seek advice but was put down and not allowed to go to the lake for a week.
 But soon a week passed by, he was getting anxious and couldn’t wait to go to his favourite and the only place outside he was allowed, also hoping somewhere deep down ‘she’ will be waiting, he waited for quiet some time but no shadows, he decided to follow the path and go to the light house instead, he could see a dim light piercing through the small opening and falling on his feet, little beeds of sweat trickled down his face as he took the steps and he could hear slight sounds emitting from inside, and there he saw what he had never seen in 15 years of his life a group of girls and boys all his age, a dash of silence took over the tiny, now defunct light house and there was Aria with her friends who went to the same and the only school in the town and would come here often to practice for the inter- state school band event that would bring the winning school a cool 10K and scholarship to train in music, their only  chance of making it big and going to  Bergen to be stars, which they already were in their school but the town didn’t take them seriously if they knew they were practicing for this ‘western culture’ they would have to deal with serious consequences and so they went underground and would practice here, her friends were reluctant of him they didn’t get along well, dealing with so many people all at once was a big deal for him too, 6 months had passed since then they were all friends, along side was love brewing between Eirik and Aria call it teen-age hormones  but it was a small bud blossoming into a big flower, it was only 1 week before the ultimate face-off but as destiny or the winds of this town would have it the lead singer fell ill, their only hope was Eirik, he’d join in the jam sessions since music was what gave him inner peace and decided to make him their lead, but it wasn’t as easy as replacing a cherry with a straw berry on a cake, they would have to deal with his mother, he would have to deal with people in general, the town’s wrath and the fear of them being right gave them the cold feet, but Aria went to her principal who was very supportive and the one to enrol them for the competition, but the 1st rule was that kids had to be of the same school, they had the biggest task before them to convince Eirik’s mother to enrol him in the school, the principal was willing to consider this special case knowing that he was a gifted boy, God knew no way to control her anger when she came to know what had been happening behind her back and confined Eirik to his room forever, she could not fathom sharing her boy’s love and attention with others, the town celebrated the school’s and the young ones loss and dashed all their dreams. During holidays , Eirik and his mother shifted to the neighbouring town , Aria meanwhile started preparing for her university entrances and applied to many foreign universities, they had kept in touch all this while via mail and exchanged love notes just like the olden days, she got her acceptance letter from London School of Arts and he was dealing with the loss of his mother, all alone out there not having an iota of knowledge he took to music and started teaching at the local primary school for a while.
  It’s been four years, Aria is an Arts historian Major and Eirik is a music composer at the fim industry, they both decide to take this a step further, and decide to meet at the same place, he goes two days before her, and prepares a sumptuous meal, designs an itinerary for her, it’s  a changed town now, with a cafe that holds concerts and amateur music events, the wind is still the same, this rose tinted town is now more of a fuscia coloured cultural hub, with neighbouring town people coming here to celebrate the music fest held every year on the 10th of Jan the very same day 6 years back where there would’ve been the ultimate face-off and the man behind this is none other than Aria’s principal who resisted the back lash of people and made this happen.
  The day was here, he had asked her to meet him at the light house directly, the weather that day wasn’t good and people were asked to stay home fearing a cyclone and heavy showers , but he was way too eager to pop the question and couldn’t wait, he saw her coming near from the peep hole just as he was preparing to get down on his knees, one of the hinges of the tree house he’d built next to the light house where they’d have dinner later gave away and due to heavy rainfalls the previous night the soil was wet and she slipped and the pillar knocked her unconscious on the floor, he came running down she had a huge smile on her face happy to see him, and there she lay in his arms and her last words ‘few are lucky to go to heaven, I found mine in your arms I can peacefully go now, see you up there, I’ll be waiting and watching over you, see that shinning star? Well that’s me, won’t leave you that easily and I lov.....’ before she could complete the winds took her away, and this love story never really had a happily ever after, not many are lucky to have the one’s they love with all their heart by their side at all times, but the winds of Bergen still take Eirik back to that place, it’s been 40 years since that night, and Aria was and still is the only one for him and he keeps going back to that place every night, like they say some flowers never die.
   Some love stories never have an ending and as the saying goes in this town Bergen happens to receive the most rains throughout the year because it’s these incomplete lovers who dance till it rains up there and the winds of Bergen have a magical aura and something one has to experience to feel it, certain things cannot be described due to the sheer magic that leaves you speechless.
This town has a magic pot filled with many such Eirik’s and Aria’s love that captures ones heart as soon as they enter the town, it’s small towns like these that have all the essence of love, magic, excitement and passion that the world only read in fairy tales.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A letter from Life

Life as we know it, is the single most priceless gift anyone could receive or give. in life there comes a time when you question your very existence, what is the sole purpose of you being here?- the one question many a great saints have been seeking the answer to. While some go on to achieve nirvana others fall short of just one final piece of the puzzle. Of stardust and wanderlust, infinity and gravity, deepest oceans to highest peaks enlightened by the sun, illuminated by the moon forms your life. Your unique identity, it is what you make of it that takes you to that place you were longing to go to. It is in this race of going ahead with the past memories that we start disvaluing the present life itself . Your life is now, living in the past with thinking only of the future is the greatest sin in the highest courts of justice, serving sentence by not living your life is what eventually everyone ends up with.       The glint in your eyes to the grin on your face, life has covered a vaSt distance of this geographical escapade. Away far away in the deepest of thoughts I ask, why won’t you let me serve you my master? Your wish, my command, make something happen, something worthwhile, something legends will talk about? Down in the alley of your mind you ask ‘life, what have you done to me? What have you come to?   This hand was never served to me in the gamble of life when you chose the road always taken.    Few lives go down the beaten road, to live with satisfaction till the gates of heaven embrace those lives.   And yet we live the un-chosen lives, what others unwise have advised- ‘why take risk when you only have one life with so much to strive?   Jive to the unknown risks, life is but a walk so brisk, up and above, down and below find your life’s calling for it is always waiting-no hold, no engaged- lo and behold it is here your life is while you went in search of it.    It is the shadow that leaves you in the dark,  it is life you hold on to for that little spark.   Preaching about me to someone while breaching my trust, though the contract never stated any clauses on this, but impeachment you shall face.   I gave you everything while asking for 1 thing “live me”, how far have you lived up to this while pursuing all vanity?   If finding my purpose was that easy I probably wouldn’t have been such a mystery, having lived till 21st century who would tell these souls?-but I was always holding their hands.   Being taken away from someone has never been joyous but it is only then that they remove the blindfolds and truly see my meaning.    It is I who has been your constant love, your unsuspecting companion, that you never really valued, but we shall meet soon, probably for better or for worse, hoping you would know me, live me.
Signing off.
Your life.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Glimpse of his Silhouette

And there it was, a glimpse of his silhouette….just as I put my iron down looking at the chirping birds outside who brought him back to me!
Though only for a minute, it felt like a lifetime of happiness, it felt like a void being filled. It feels like yesterday when we went to the boat house and sat by the calm lake for hours staring into the twilight of the sky, watching the world go by!
From all the letters exchanged to all the sleepless nights endured, we couldn’t wait to share our stories with the world. He was a travel journalist and would always discover Panama to Peru and would take me on his amazing journeys with his beautiful narration.
    Going by the lake and describing his travels to me while I would pen down the words based on the picture painted by his words, he was born blind and was part of a program for the differently abled run by “The Society” a well-established national daily, and I being the associate editor was assigned the task of this quarterly column, of course his travels would be different from the rest of us, which was the purpose of this column, to offer our readers the world in a different view, to experience the world in a different way, the world seemed larger than life it seemed to be the beautiful oasis inhabited by beautiful people.
It was a once in a life time opportunity for me to chronicle his travels and put it out there for everyone to “see” from their mind, be open to a different take on life, he discovered Egypt as the land built by the mighty, nestled and protected by the Gods of love and war.
 We saw Bhutan as the land far far away built by the flora and fauna and the sweet scent of pine.
We saw no colour, experience the language of humanity, savoured the delicacies of love. We discovered the streets of china by crispy tickling fare to the streets of India by the sweet and spicy fare. We felt the culture of politeness and humility of humbleness and civility.
At first we were vary of people not taking to such posts, but slowly we got a lot of people from across the world requesting to cover their land, rediscovering their land, people started hosting him and entertaining him.
This led to him travelling almost 6 months a year and discovering many many lands. He was the new Columbus, one day when he was travelling to one such land (I also did not know what places he went to, the editors made all the arrangements and since I was chronicling his travails, they did not want me to know about his whereabouts to keep the posts as authentic as possible, and I would know about the place only after he narrated his experience and the name would be revealed in the end.) he was reportedly gunned down in a local mafia gang war.
After being on medication for over 24 hours and with no progress his life gave in. There was a lot of anger in his fans when they were told what had transpired, his own world betrayed him, his own mankind betrayed him, the last few hours had been the toughest for him to see that the world was no longer that beautiful, that humanity had defeated him!
His travelogues were discontinued, while it took a while for me to get back to my daily routine and concentrate on  my other columns, and from the acceptance of the fact that the person I was slowly falling for won’t be there anymore to make me believe that there is beauty in the world!
I revisited those posts and tried to get in touch with all those who hosted him and wishing to see for myself the beauty I imagined in my mind and for others to read, slowly they all got in touch and agreed on hosting me, they took me to all the places he went to, all people he met and in the end each handed me a letter! A letter he had narrated to the hosts to give it to me, if in case he doesn’t make it back and I get in touch with the host!
I felt scared as much as excited and a deep sense of closure to have found something of him I can have with me for the rest of my life!
I however stacked them in a box, and decided to open them only when I undertake all my journeys. I visited India, China, Peru, Russia, Mexico, Egypt and lastly Cambodia. When I returned I started blogging of all the conversations and stories the hosts and he shared, and took the readers on an intimate journey of the confluence of different cultures. His fans started writing in saying how much they missed him, and yearned to experience the world differently.
I decided to open the letters one by one discovering how much he loved me, he saw the beauty in me the way he saw it in other people, the true inner beauty, he feared confessing this to me, thinking how could I fall for a person who is not perfect, while he saw the beauty in others all he saw in himself were the flaws which I saw as true gifts!
And just when I broke down, hating myself for not telling him how he made me fall for him each time he spoke! Maybe it was too late but I have the letters to hold onto, the letters where he asked every host to sign off with a dove, the symbol of pure love, and as I finished ironing out those letters and kept the iron down I saw a glimpse of his silhouette!
I continue to travel and discover new places as a travel journalist and chronicle the travelogue with a short documentary on all the places that I visit!