Journeys are always symbolic. Sometimes we travel physically to cover emotional distances, and sometimes we walk away in our minds to set our hearts free. Whatever the reasons be, we are all travelling, all of the time. Either towards or away from something, but we are all passengers in this journey to find ourselves, and our pieces. This is such a story. Of three tiny specks of sand, who took on a journey not knowing where they will end up, or who they will end up being.
I have always stressed on the romance and adventure of an unplanned road trip. About how it brings out the best and worst in us, and how it is so very different from a holiday. Most of these impromptu trips are born out of desperation. The desperation to breathe, or to get away, or to get together, sometimes all of these and more combined. This was no different. We three, lets call us ‘The Three Amigos’, were desperate to get out of the town during the new years. And we did, in a car, towards the sea, without a confirmed roof for us to stay under when we got there. So yes, this had the making of an epic road trip.
Just like every lovelorn couple, who want to run away from the world, into their own idea of paradise, we also left in the dark of the night, much before the world could wake up and get in our way. This was the first time we were doing this, the three of us – me, her and our five-month-old furry boy. Life hasn’t had been at the best of terms with us lately, and we wanted it to be. Maybe a change of scene will help, maybe we can connect back to where we started from. Maybe a midnight ride on a rented bike help us realize where all the softer parts of our relationship went. Something’s anything’s gotta give, isn’t it?
So we left, armed with nothing but hopes and optimism. Let me make it clear right here, I, as a man, am not a very subtle one. I am crude, I am rough and I am anxious about things that I shouldn’t be. Yes, I am an incredibly hard person to be with. Which is one of the reasons I care that much about the ones who decide to stay. My co-passenger however is the exact opposite. In short, she is a woman like a woman is supposed to be, subtle, worldly, silent and critical. But she runs on a short fuse. Our son however, inherits all of the above, specially the art of being stubborn. Yes, it runs in the family.
You know, we all have a picture of how things should be in life. We all mentally project our version of what the perfect case scenario should be, no matter how mundane or imp the situations be. We think and re-think it from all perspectives that we can imagine, we live and relive those perspectives and prepare ourselves for it. But somehow, life finds that one permutation that you did not try, that one situation you dint think of, and throws that at you. Yes, life has a way of leaving your stumped, even when you have had all your bases covered. And that is why a road trip is so much to look forward to. It’s like a challenge you throw to life, and surrender to it at the same time. For once, you are not challenging life to be the way you want it to be, you are accepting things to come, and asking life to figure out a solution to its own problems. It’s like being on the same team; it’s like giving yourself up to the universe and believing that it’s on your side.
It took us fourteen hours to get to our destination. It was dark, we were tired, hungry, cranky; a detour had broken our ride and our backs simultaneously, and to top it all, we dint have a place to sleep for the night. See, we were supposed to have had reached our destination with daylight still on, but one wrong turn had set us back five hours, and now we were panicking. Fortunately, we got a place to rest our weary head for the night. Unfortunately, it wasn’t up to our expectations or standards. But we were out of options, so we gave in to our tiredness, for a night. Tomorrow will be a new day, we thought to ourselves as we slid deep into slumber. The gods wont continue punishing three tired souls who are looking for nothing more than a speck of joy, can they?
No they weren’t. The very next morning, we got a better place. Though it wasn’t the luxury we have had come to expect out of a hotel stay, but it was still mercy on the universe’s path to have gotten us that. And we sure as hell were thankful. Speaking of mercy, it’s a very odd emotion. Actually, it’s not really an emotion. It’s an action, one that is the outcome of several mixed emotions. Mercy is not forgiveness. Forgiveness stems from letting go. Mercy is an act of letting be. So yes, when I say that the gods were merciful, that’s exactly what I meant – they let us be. That day we rested like we had never rested before. It was late in the evening when we decided that we should step out now. Our rented bike was ready, and so were we. The three of us plonked ourselves on the seat and left. And that’s when our vacation really began. It was that moment when the cold sea air brushed across our skin, when we realized that we were no longer in the city, we were hundreds of miles away from it. We were at the sea, were free to be. We were at the place where it all began. It was a beautiful evening, as the three of us were a family for the first time. Sitting there in one of the open shacks that played live retro music, I realized, that through all those turns and through all those hardships that we have had to face to get here, and not just during this journey, we had come closer, all of us. I realize that we have been planning this moment for the last two years, and somehow, this was the exact time it was supposed to happen.
It’s very important to have firsts in a relationship. First kiss, the first touch, the first flower or the first time you let the other person touch you, is really very important. Those are the things we remember, we commemorate and celebrate, and they become the highlights of our lives. But sometimes, for couples, who carry the burden of individual past, firsts are very hard to come by. Most things are a repeat, a constant comparison, or a painful memory. It’s never really a surety of whether your gesture will make the other person smile or hurt a throbbing vein. That is why these couples stumble ever so often. Because we are always walking a very delicate balance, never truly care free. We always have our mittens on, our brakes in check, and our brains on alert. The lack of a clean canvas muddies the experiences. Especially during occasions and holidays. And funnily, these are the kind of people who need firsts more desperately than the others. Firsts help us bond, firsts help is fill that void we are trying hard to fill, firsts makes us believe that all hasn’t been done as yet, that there is still room for plenty more. And yes, we got our fair share of it this time around.
There are many such details during this trip that will make no sense to the outside world, but those details, a week of living as man, wife and child made us realize a lot many things about each other than we would had if we have had been in the city. We saw our five-month-old boy turn into a complete beach bum, we saw him in his courageous best and his yappiest worst. We realized that he really is a brave little pup with the soul of a much older man. We understood how being close physically helps solve things in a much simpler and cleaner way. We realized that this is how we eventually want to live the rest of our lives, and I saw it in her eyes that it was a possibility. But most importantly, we realized that five hundred miles was enough distance to put between us and awkward realities that haunt us in the concrete jungle. We realized that there is a fighting chance of us being a family, if only the world would let us be. So while the world was never quite completely forgotten, and I was never quite the gentleman I usually am, and she wasn’t quite the friend she usually is, we, for a moment there, on that rented scooter, on that beach bed, between the cold waves of a surging sea, we were really one. And that is the distance we covered, that is the journey we took. And I think it turned out to be a muchbetter start to a new year than we ever imagined for the three amigos.