Why do we wander? Many a times we hear ‘oh it was an aimless wandering’ but it seems nothing is aimless, not even wandering, howsoever aimless we may purport it to be. I wander to run away from noise, literal as well as metaphorical.
There is the noise of the machines at home, in office, on road, in factory, that constant hum and shrieks, the dying guttural sounds emanating from the visually imperceivable body of peace as it is being slaughtered at the hands of humanity. Also, there is the noise of the divergent voices inside the brain coming out of the incessant churning of the thought-wheels. This noise is eating into the sense of well-being like termite. Everything seems okay on the surface while the body and the spirit decays within.
I think we wander to escape from the discordant noise outside and within. There is a sense of relief, a perceptible coherence, in the embrace of tranquil nature. I read the following lines, that I am quoting for your reference, in a book on mountains that I devoured recently, these are some of the most potent lines I ever read which I can relate to my experience:
“Every walk in the forest becomes a prayer. Instead of kneeling and folding our hands, or bowing down before whatever deity demands our obeisance, we set out with a measured stride, our inner compass fixed on invisible coordinates that lead us farther than the path itself.”
I remember a walk by the fields one noon last year during a trip to my village for the Hindu festival of colors, Holi. It was a pleasant day and the wheat had turned golden in the fields signalling readiness for harvest. It felt as if I had walked into an endless expanse of nothing but gold randomly interspersed with pieces of emerald in the form of clusters of lush trees. Just then a breeze washed over the fields. In that wave the vertical strands of golden wheat swayed as if in a trance. The music that emanated from the swaying of the wheat, as the florescence rubbed against each other on that still afternoon, was the most comforting sound I had ever heard. It was the sound of happiness coming from the earth underneath. In that moment all sense of city, job, month-end madness, reporting, investment planning, bills et all faded away and an all together new sense of self-awareness washed over me.
During all my escapades whether it is to the mighty Himalayan landscapes or on the fringes of the limitless seas, or to my village, or maybe a long drive away from the city, or something as simple as sitting in the company of a cherished one, I have always come across moments of epiphany, or a creative burst, or a sense of stillness and peace. I have always come back reformed or a little better at least.
While in one such august company of trees I felt like phrasing my experience in the form of prose.
Walk a lonely dirt-ridden path into the slowly diminishing day,
Walk in the company of eerie silence on a warm evening of May,
Walk to think not but only feel – that elation or debilitating pain,
Walk alone sometimes to insanity and you might be sane again.
In the end, I have come to realize that I wander not for the charm of distant lands or exotic provisions; I just wander to be myself.
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