I’ve been having days when I want to be alone…I want to think, reflect, and just keep going somewhere, alone. And this is something that’s been happening only now.
When I was in twelfth grade, I was chicken to even eat alone. I had to walk some distance from school until the bus stop and whether I was hungry or thirsty, I would patiently wait until I got home. Then in engineering, Drum introduced me to the pure pleasures of eating out. I was reluctant at first. I didn’t want to get diseases that originated at the restaurants and kitchens that weren’t high end. I was also hesitant because I wasn’t loaded with cash to eat out so often. But slowly yet surely, the tide began to change. I began to relish the food I ate out of home. If I didn’t spend any money (even if it was a six bucks tea), it felt strange like something was incomplete in my day. So then, I loved eating out but I always wanted company. I shuddered to even think of going out and sitting at a table, all alone. I thought it was just sad.
As I reminisce about those days, I feel content with myself today. I just gobbled a delicious plate of chicken lasagne at one of the popular cafés of Pune, the German Bakery (yes, you recall it all right because of the infamous blast a few years ago). As I write this post, I look back with a lot of fondness over the things that have changed. This, by the way, is my second time at German Bakery, alone. Well, on second thought, I was never completely alone for I had the window to the world open at my palms. I had my phone with me just like you do now.
A friend insisted in my best interest that I call a few friends and ask them to join me. I felt a bit mean as I told her to relax. I reminded her that there was a time when I would have liked some company to feel validated but since that time was in the past, I was all right by myself. And all this, with a smug expression.
I got the remaining food parcelled (there was too much in there and yes, I got over the hesitation of asking waiters to parcel, kind of feels like there is still some stigma attached to that) and went on a long walk. I marvelled at how the majestic trees in that particular road had sprawling branches that made a beautiful canopy. The hoardings that had fresh flower garlands because of the festivities and all the banks were shut. While noticing my surroundings and walking without a destination, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I was becoming a cold, loner. Maybe I am. But I choose to be this. ( Iti insists that I’m not a loner but it’s just the writer in me that needs these occasional moments of solitude.)
Journeys, especially those that I undertake alone, give me a strong sense of belonging. Ironically, when you’re on the move, you are without any roots to hold you back, where’s the belonging in that, you ask? Well, maybe that’s what I intend to be. A sprinkling of fine dust on a bright, windy day that travels with the flow of the breeze, eternally.