Touched by the soul

The sounds, the smells, the humdrum, the air, each city built on layers of history, presents to you a bouquet of these treats.

Living in the Indian subcontinent means that you have access to so many regions, cities, towns and villages which in another lifetime were kingdoms in themselves.

The smell of Mumbai, heavy and humid, greets you as you step on the tarmac; the chillness that seeps into your bones, smell of hot chai and omlette comes greeting you as you enter the hills of Ooty just as I can never forget the feeling of freshness accompanied by a light drizzle as the train enters the station that heralds the feeling of finally being  home, the city of Bangalore.

Street-Food-Chandani-Chowk

Each city lays itself bare, giving you the chance to seep into it, feel its soul and give yourself up to its chaos and humdrum.

On the other land in the quiet little villages that lie in the embrace of the Himalayas, this chaos gives way to new kind of emotion. Whether its the villages of Himachal or the town at the North Eastern border of India, with the most beautiful Monastery; each hilly destination is like that cool balm that slows you down and envelopes you in its warmth, cradling you to sleep.

This mellow and slow moving pace can be infuriating to some while soothing to others. The noise of the city can be a welcome distraction, allowing you to escape the voices in your head while for others cause angst and fury.

This week 2 stories came across my screen, one about tricksters and fraud that greet you at tourist locations and the other was the story of Shalev Paller, an Israeli soldier who wrote an article about healing and acceptance. The story of why so many Israeli soldiers make a pilgrim of sorts to our country after their tryst in the army.

His post lead me to thinking about the soul of a place, of cities made of crossroads, monuments, culture, history, languages, their pace and most importantly its people.

If we are ready to touch its soul, to be embraced and to relinquish our presumptions, and bare selves to it, it does hold the power to heal, doesn’t it?

This week’s poem by Gulzar talks about how the mountains refuse to leave him even after he has returned to the plains, back home he can still feel the air and the mist lifting him off his feet.

India, with all its glitches and shortcomings, like this poem refuses to leave you all too quick.

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Transliteration

Paharo se bichadke lautata hu to

By Gulzar

Paharo se bichadke lautata hu to
Kaee din tak uttarta rehta hu unse
Khala main latka rehta hu
Kahi pao nahi padte

Bahut se aasmaan bahon mein bhar jate hai
Woh neeche nahi aate

Hawaaein phool jaati hai, pakad ke pasliyan meri
Kabhi raatein utha leti hai bagloan se
Kabhi din thel dete hai hawa mein…..
Kayee din tak mere paaon nahi lagte zameen se!

Translation

What I return from the mountains

By Pavan Verma

When I have to part from the mountains,
It takes me many days to descend
I remain hung in space
My feet are unable to touch the ground,

A lot of sky nestles in my arms
The winds puff up, holding me by my ribs
Sometimes the nights lift me from the side
Sometimes the days push me into the breeze
For many days my feet do not touch the ground.

If you would like to read his article, you can find the complete version here:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/lifting-away-the-weight-of-3-years-why-we-israelis-go-to-india-after-the-army/.

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