A Traveler's Interpretation

Every traveler's experience of a place or an event is his interpretation of the sensual information, with reference to his present life,his desires and his relationship with life.

I was on a flight to a foreign land,on vacation, to escape the time wrap.The air-hostess helped the passengers sync their watches to the local time.Since then everything, from when to what, was bound by time.The departures were readied much before the arrivals.But I had seen this before and so couldn't fool myself with a wonder.

"The breakfast,the pickup,entry at the sites and the exists were on schedule;
On schedule was the entertainment.
But nowhere was leisure seen or experienced;
Not in my land, not in their's."

"People go by their watches
change countries and reset their 'times'.
Relate, live, smile,lose temper by it;
With no clue of it and living on its pity"

It was not the first time that I was experiencing unconsciousness. I was losing track of the days.I couldn't remember how I lost those many days.No events to re-account,no stories to take back.

"Days pass faster than I could hold them in my heart;
got added to numerous others that I had similarly lost"

"I remember people packing,then unpacking
and then repacking and then finally unpacking.
What is with me,the amnesia has struck me in places."

I was to an underwater aquarium , set to entertain the tourists with lesser options.It was well built and had various varieties of water life, Sharks, Stingrays, Turtles, Starfishes, Seahorses and many other species of fishes set in it.In one dark junction, inside the tunnel,was a girl dressed as Mermaid ,welcoming the visitors.She was made-up to glitter and shine in the darkness;she was fixed to her uncomfortable 'fish-half'.

"Fishes in confinement,artificially fed and decoratively lived;
A girl dressed as mermaid ,fixed to a position,smiles, yet no love;
Both on display,both creatures of their destiny"

Next on my tour-operator's list was a huge and a beautiful man-created garden.  It had an elephant show for everyone ready to pay and enjoy the circus.The elephants,their master's pride, were excellent in throwing darts,playing football and painting.The Elephants were well trained and the garden was well maintained.

"Elephants dance and play at order;orders that remind them of the pain.
Raise the thrilled audience on trunks and tusks,
It was pain and pleasure - both bought at the counter"

Initially, I found people's rudeness bothering.Then I realized that it was same like in my land - there were all kinds of people.It was just that I ended up interacting with a certain kind.Some interactions pull you in and that moment,somehow, helps you understand yourself in relation with the environment that you find yourself in.

"Venomous tongues are every where;
in my country and theirs.
Rudeness of people, foreign and native;
Coldness of heart both mine and others"

I was on a crowded boat to a "Must See" island ; a ritualistic trip.It was a speed boat that hit the water hard ,every time it leapt over the waves and landed on the sea.Some tried to look thrilled and some hid their embarrassment in grins.The sand on the island beach was divinely white and water was clear, creating a mirage of goodness and purity.

"Sailors have navigated it, fishermen have lived it;
Measured it more, realized it less;
I have crossed many lands,speed on many seas;
Silent in the crowd,I don't see the joy;
I have rushed for more,held very little."

"Feet covered in the whitest sand and unseen salt
dead fishes both raw and fried
Everything priced from the living to the dead."

The strangeness of this city bothered me.Maybe I needed time to adjust to the change.Materialism was a bit too protuberant.Life, it seemed, had lesser purposes and those were on sale for the highest bidder.

"The air was heavy with smoke from cigarette and burning palm oil"

"Men dressed as women;women working as animals
Lovers,Sons,Fathers and Brothers with their sweeteners
In search of lost time,love and life."

"Women and liquor both sell and sold,
battle which only the flesh won;
in both young and the old"

"In the crowd,I feel,I would have been better
in the company of my solitude.
A company that wouldn't require me,to be
in a place or in a time or in a situation that suits it."

I was on the flight back.My eyes were closed and the thoughts continued. 

"People in hurry to reach places,so that they can rush back home
More places to see,more photographs with changing backdrops to be taken
Bargaining for souvenirs to take back as proofs of conquests - both bought"

"Pictures no longer treasure the moments of love or those of discovery,
  They are the proofs of self-worth, for others to confirm" 

I Wonder,"What do I search in the foreign lands?
is it that which evades me at home?"

But then,isn't this life?
the diversity in thoughts, in behaviors, in landscapes, in the culture, in the spoken and unspoken languages and in the perspectives on life? Wasn't all that I saw just that?
May be I, the traveler, could have interpreted it differently and thus known it differently.
And then,that would have been another day and an other life to write about.


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