“You’ve really tanned!”
“Tum toh abhi bhi Ladakh se poori tarah laute hue nahi lag rahe ho…”
“You’re looking happier…more relaxed, serene”
“Elita! Abhi pahad se uttar bhi jao!”
“So what did you get for me from Ladakh?”
Just some of the responses I seem to have elicited since the time I returned from a fortnight well spent in Ladakh. I’ve already put down a 4 part blog post on my time and experiences.
So what’s this post about?
It’s about the fortnight after returning back to the ‘ghadi-ka-kaata-pakkad-ke-chalo’ lifestyle back here in ironically what is called the city of dreams - Mumbai…
So for most part of it I seem to be in my ‘happy-walla state of disorientainment’ – which explains those reactions from above. While my astral body still figures its way around, the physical body has been for most part of it experiencing the following:
- Zen during trekking, rafting the Zanskar, cycling down KhardungLa, camping and going for walks in the dark but I freak out and fear for my life in Mumbai's traffic!
- Finding even 9 hours sleep is inadequate, where back in Ladakh I’ve woken up at 4 AM with just about 5 hours of sleep! And not just awake BUT chirpy-giggly-happyhigh-AWAKE!
- Back there I used a dry toilet rather comfortably experiencing no discomfort whatsoever! Out here I’m visually treated into watching people spit, dunk crap here there everywhere and my skin crawls! *grossed out*
- An attempt to smile at familiar faces in the city results in me receiving blank stares. Back there in Ladakh through long walks and treks I was greeted and warmly welcomed by perfect strangers!
- Something about just how things were enabled you to just do things. Here, on the contrary, all I seem to have are lists of ‘to dos’ that don't get done!
- It’s strangely weird how tiring and out of breath some days can make you feel even though you’re only at sea level while you reminisce the times you were active, bouncy and on the go even at 11000 feet with reduced oxygen levels!
- And yeah I was tanned yet pretty with tamed tresses. Here it’s the ugh humidity!!!
So it’s evident why I wouldn’t (and actually didn’t) want to come back. And the pangs wouldn’t just seem to go away. While I didn’t purchase anything in particular from Ladakh, I heard myself asking this question I didn’t have an immediate answer to two weeks ago; though I think I do now.
The question? “Given that travelling around led (as it always does) to meeting interesting people and having excellent experiences, what’s that special something you bring back (instead of simply wishing you could go back)?”
I brought ME back…an evolved version of ‘me’.
A version that found the Looking Glass to peer right through the layers of socialization and habituation.
A version un-masqueraded.
And now not just more self-assured but equally eager to forge a dent on the world with an identity that is ME.
A ME that has a few things ironed out and these include –
Believing the beliefs
Prioritizing the priorities
Punning the pun
Living the life
There’s a Lao Tzu quote I really like but have found hard to implement: Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found.
I guess somewhere along the way these things keep happening to us.
We find ourselves –
in the midst of the subtle or sometimes the brazen;
in uneasy conversations or in the easy silences;
in howlarious laughters or that one lone tear that came out of nowhere;
in the sense of belongingness and wanted-ness or the desire to detach and mull…
Whatever the path, you find the YOU you are meant to be.
And it isn’t the end. It never is. And therein lies the beauty of it all.
You have to keep un-sedimenting..keep unravelling..keep seeking.
Keep wanting to be found.
Final words from a book I read (by chance – as all good things always do) about a year and a half ago:
“As long as you're around, your life is too. So just as you shower love and affection and attention on the husbands, wives, parents, children and forever friends who surround you, you have to do so equally with your life, because it's yours, it's you, and it's always there rooting for you, cheering you on, even when you feel like you can't do it.
I gave up on my life for a while, but what I've learned is that even when that happens and especially when that happens, life never gives up on you. Mine didn’t. And we’ll be there for each other until those final moments when we look at each other and say, “Thanks for staying until the end”. And that’s the truth” ~Cecelia Ahern (The Time of My Life)