Never cease wandering

When the day began, he never anticipated that he would have covered so much distance under a merciless sun. There was no road to speak of as such and all that stretched before him were the dusty paths. They wove in and out of patches of toddy palms and thorn bushes that dotted the landscape. As always, where he was headed never bothered him much. His mind always kept repeating a rhythmic beat – ‘the journey, never the destination’. The tshirt and denims which formed his second skin were caked in sweat soaked grime. There wasn’t much he owned, a change of clothes or two along with a scarf that doubled up as a bandanna or a dust mask according to where he was headed, a spartan bedroll and a bottle of water along with an odd snack or two which he replenished when he halted. The sun was going down and far away on the mountain top he could see a few glistening lights from the temple. A few steps later and in the deepening twilight, he came into the village. The villagers were not people who detested or were overtly fond of strangers and as always in such remote places, he found a place to rest his head. He finally set down his bedroll in the yard of a small shack where only an old man and his goats lived. As he lay with his arms as a pillow looking up at the sky, the stars beckoned to him with their air of mystery and majesty. Eyes wearied by a long day slowly closed…..

The night wasn’t particularly cold but still a little chilly as he kept gazing out of his perch. The train was chock full and he was sitting near the door leaning on his pack. There weren’t many points of light across the landscape as the train sped through the night. While his gaze was outside, his mind wandered through the throng of humanity that was pressed to him from all around. Bawling babies and mothers trying to console them, employees returning home from work, vendors who sold knick knacks counting out their day’s sales and many an individual note in an orchestra of human noise. In his mind this what the world was all about and had been so for a while now. Ever since he broke off with his past, such was the tune his life danced to. The train was slowing down and it shook him out of his thoughts, it was time for another sojourn in his all night journey. Yet another nameless station full of faces which he would never see again. He smiled into his beard and shook his head at the thought…

The rain showed no sign of letting off and he sat on the moss covered steps and the patio which offered little protection from the downpour. The church was an abandoned one with thick jungle all around. He had sought the place out and trekked to it. Once there, he spent time sketching the graveyard on a newly acquired book sitting on an ivy covered tombstone. What was dark and cloudy a tone in the sky materialized into rain very soon and fell in huge sheets driving him to the patio which offered the only solace. As he sat staring into the rain, a lone and bedragggled crow flew in and alighted near him. After it shook off a little bit of the rain, they sat there together each in their own private worlds…

She snuggled closer to him as the night deepened. They were in that naked post-coital stupor that to him happened rarely if ever. It was three days ago that they met amidst the fort in the town. He had been exploring the fort for days now and their paths kept crossing until it ended up winding together. Like most things in his life, this feel too would be ephemeral for the paths that held them together would diverge again tomorrow. They would be leaving the town in the morning to go their own ways into the world again. He held her a little tighter and felt her smiling against his chest. Words were unnecessary for them even though their time together was short. They listened to the sounds of the night until it lulled them to sleep….

The journey was almost full circle was his thought as he approached the sea. He was carrying his shoes in his hands and walked barefoot on the cooling white sands. Reaching the edge of the sandbank, he put down the bag and the shoes and sat down with his feet touching the water. As the cold sea water touched his tired and worn heels, there was a song playing in his mind whose lyrics were lost to him a long time ago. A stray dog wandered close to him looking for scraps to eat and ended up sitting next to him. He reached out a hand and scratched it behind the ears and it lay its head against his thigh. The bright golden disc had begun its descent into the ocean far, far away.

Note : A few random images which came to my mind from a song which touched me oh-so-deeply.

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