Sunday, August 19, 2007

The paths we take

THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT empty roads that has always fascinated me. The view they create for the one who treads on them sometimes translates into so much more. Their triangular sloping face that seems to disappear into blissful nothingness. The majestically well aligned pathway that welcomes the traveler who has made a choice. I think for most people roads are about destinations – but the way I see it, they are about the journeys themselves. The reason I wanted to pen this feeling of mine was two fold. One, I wanted to rediscover that void in me that has been waiting for a complimentary feel of nothing to pass by it. Sometimes there is nothing more complete than a road that seems to have no travelers. And two, I have now actually started living in a place where such roads exist. In a world that is filled with the lack of space and patience, it is quite rare to find alleys that are both welcoming and not pretentious.

That said, I would like to document three such path ways that caught my attention today. I was on my walk towards a popular tourist spot in Copenhagen called ‘The Little Mermaid’. The fact that this place is always packed by eager tourists waiting to be snapped next to the statue of a nude mermaid is beyond logic. Nonetheless, I too decided to do my bit in being part of what is almost tradition in this city. Although I did not manage to get too close to the mermaid’s statue (since I somehow lost context of it and also there were so many click-happy cameras that I suddenly lost interest as well) I did manage to capture some serene pathways and alleys that reminded me of the difference between being alone and being lonely.

The first one here is a small shortcut that connects me from my apartment to Østerport station where I get my train to work each day. There is always the main road with its bustling action and whistling cyclists, but there is something about this rather quiet alley that seems to prepare me for the day. I have walked through it during a strong sun and an equally strong rainfall and both times – I felt cared for. The random graffiti that adorns the sides of this otherwise clean path seems to be symbolizing the two amazingly well hidden sides of this city – the submissive and the rebellion.

Second on my list is this pathway that leads to the ‘The Little Mermaid’ on Østerbrogade. Laced with overwhelmingly well aligned trees that seem to offer an ear to the silent soul and dotted with remarkably peaceful park benches, this path is definitely one for the lazy afternoon or the tired evening. The beauty this path oozes with can be seen only when the sun is filtering in through the friendly branches that look down upon many a soul that might pass it by. I almost made myself a promise today that I will visit this path each weekend and walk all the way till the end of the street just to be graced with the whistling shadows the trees so generously offer. I hope I am able to keep that word and contribute to the several hundreds of feet that adorn this pathway each passing day.

The final path I wish to share here is this one within the park itself. East to the ‘The Little Mermaid’ is this gravely road that bends and dances its way all over the green fabric that surrounds it. It cuts through several small man made ponds where mischievous ducks flap water on their peers as keen photographers try to capture the action in their lenses. This one too, like the other two, seems to offer more than just a shaded walkthrough.

I guess one has to be alone on such paths in life, to be able to relate with the lonely ones. Yes – the difference becomes increasingly clear in such silences that speak louder than words.

Here is to more such pathways that inspire just by existing. Alas! If only everything was this noble.


2 reflections:

MBM said...

Very Well written...

Empty roads makes a number of impressions on different people. Being alone in a lonely path yields the painful feeling of lonliness. It's so strange that this feeling of lonliness follows like a shadow all the way through the journey for life long, but still encourages to acheive better things in life.

On the other hand being alone emphasizes being apart from others and does not necessarily imply unhappiness. Perhaps these serene path ways are the best examples which makes us realise that being alone could also be so peaceful.

"I guess one has to be alone on such paths in life, to be able to relate with the lonely ones. Yes – the difference becomes increasingly clear in such silences that speak louder than words".

The above lines are so true and meaningful... In fact to understand the significance of these paths, one has to be alone on such paths of life. The path we choose has to be one which brings peace to us as we walk through.

shakri said...

Well said Madhura. Your points echo what my piece was trying to capture. Empty roads do leave lasting impressions on the traveler. The difference between being alone and being lonely becomes quite apparent on such paths.

Your response is truly much appreciated. Thank you.