“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – ― Omar Khayyám
Snow covered the ground as far as the eye could see. Temperature was in 20s and no ray of sunshine. This pulled my heart down. Adjusting to this weather after having lived in Abu Dhabi, for almost six years, where the temperatures are in 30 degree Celsius most of the year, takes a bit of work. I thought the best way to get out of the gloom is to face the same thing that onsets it.
So I went for a walk and took a different route than my usual one. After a mile I turned the corner and saw mountains with sparkling stars at the base. It was like homecoming. It opened my heart. It took me back to Abbottabad, Pakistan, where a turn, at a certain place, on the road revealed mountains specked with lights like sparkling stars. My heart would open up and overflow with joy because family would be just half an hour away.
Upon seeing the mountains my heart reacted the same way as it did when I went home. It opened up and filled with joy. Gratitude poured out as if I am going to see my family in half an hour. But then I remembered I am inflicted with wanderlust. When I am with the family I long to be somewhere else. When I am somewhere else I want to be with the family. My soul, my spirit is restless. At times I marvel at people who have lived in one place all their lives and never wished to move elsewhere. They are like Baobab trees, strong and steadfast.
Though, once in a blue moon, I get envious of people who stay put in one place and try imagining what it’s like to have that security. But then I remember how I love the fragrance of new air when I land at a new airport. Anticipation of experiencing the aroma of local coffee and local food wafting through the air, hearing an unknown language releases adrenaline. Ah… Nothing can replace that moment of bliss that first sip of coffee or first bite of food. Seeing new people, being in a new culture and replacing old habits with the new ones for I know that old habits will no longer serve me, satiate my yearnings for being elsewhere for some time. Many a times I think this is how the characters in Samarkand and Leo Africanus must feel.
I walked over two miles that day. The next day was foggy but I went for a walk to the same place for a quick fix. Alas, the sky was hanging down very low over the lights. I looked again with the hope of seeing the mountains but not a glimpse. I walked on the dark path with the hope of seeing a tiny bit of mountain on the left and ahead of me but no success. On the right of the path was a row of houses. In one house a man, sitting on a sofa, patting an animal was watching TV. In another house a woman, with shoulder length blonde hair, wearing magenta top holding a white plate, was walking towards the microwave installed in the wall at her eye level. I realized how easily we get attached to people and things. But then I am drawn to mountains the way people are drawn to beaches. I returned without a quick fix and started writing. This helped me be in the moment and no longer yearn.
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