A Trip You Can Still Take in Lockdown
It was September and the roaring Parvati was the last thing I saw before I closed my eyes. The taxi area of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh – the rush, the bakeries, and the shops – faded out to the pure white noise of the river. I let the rest of my senses get drenched just as much as my eyes had over the last 2 days. It was 2016 and I was about to catch my bus back to Delhi, back to reality. This town was to change drastically in the coming years, this feeling was to become much harder to get. But this is a story from a certain 5-minute span in September 2016, from a concept that’s strangely intangible in 2020 – a trip.
The 5 minutes I’m reminiscing went by fast and hence, so shall this story. Micro-droplets of the raging river flirted with my skin as cool, pleasant wind slipped through any windows in my protective apparel. The air had a reminder of the ever possible rain in it. One could not tell if it had just finished raining, or just started; it hardly mattered. The wind, as if unable to make up her mind, grazed my left cheek one moment, and the right one the other. My hair knew true abandonment as it failed all tests of vanity. The droplets crossed their fine line of the flirting moral code from time to time, hitting my skin with a bounce. My mind had recently learned a word for its favorite fragrance of them all – petrichor – like an answer to a question I didn’t know I had been asking all my life. Petrichor made me drop a coin for the blessing that my sense of smell was.
My senses were erupting with sheer joy. My ears, trained by the city int tuning out horns and hustle, were having the time of their lives with so little to tune out. But suddenly, one voice went through, unfiltered; reached my brain that was hosting a house party with its senses. The voice knocked on the door of this house, “chalo bus aa gayi hai.” (The bus is here, let’s go)
No worries, I could hit snooze on that. Let it repeat a couple of times before answering the door.
I heard my name a couple more times, the voice not as clear anymore. The party music was turned down to listen better. I listened hard.
“… and now it’s time to gently open your eyes.”
5 minutes. Over.
I opened my eyes as instructed. Between them being closed and fully open. For that one gentle second, the line between a memory and my reality was blurry, quite like my vision. That one second caused me to think.
It was 6:50pm, there was no Parvati River, no hill station. But the indecisive wind, the flirty droplets of water (albeit from a different direction – up), sounds of birds, rustling leaves, hardly a vehicle or two here and there, the fragrance – petrichor. All of it was the same. And I was sitting on the terrace of an apartment in the most polluted city in the world. I opened my eyes to a gorgeous sunset in the distance. The sky being a painting of gorgeously saturated colors (good thing I made a video) was the new normal for Delhi. Wind clean as if imported straight from the mountains.
Fun fact: 3KM away, in a forbidden shopping mall, lies a store that sells clean air. ₹299 for a few ‘drags’.
The clouds in front of me eclipsed the setting sun, and the sky turned golden. The clouds literally and metaphorically have a golden lining every evening today. For 5 minutes, the most polluted capital city in the world – Delhi – had all that Kasol had offered to me in 2016.
A 5-minute escape through a guided meditation video on YouTube opened my metaphorical eyes to a golden bright side of this situation.
We can’t get on a bus and head to the hills or the beach like we’re used to. But, it doesn’t mean that we can’t go get that vacation feeling. A much-needed break has literally come to us in weather and in circumstance. At least some of it can leave us happy. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes every evening?
Give it a shot.
PS: Search for Guided Meditation on YouTube. There are a lot of videos that help beginners calm overactive minds. Personal recommendation 🙂