Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reflections - Italy

Today we flew into Milan and en route caught a glimpse of the stunning Western Alps. Snow covered peaks and charming hamlets on the foothills - such a lovely sight! For me, the greatest joy of traveling is the journey itself and is super exciting regardless of the mode of travel. Viewing people and their ways, their surroundings for a few brief moments - wondering what missions they have for the day, what plans they might have for the next hour, week or year, how they influence the color and shape of landscapes they are entwined in, how they feel about their land and their culture, how they would feel if they traveled to where I come from, the remote and gorgeous landscapes - is the very reward of traveling! Like opening shots of many a documentary, the view from the transport vehicle provides yummy teasers and sets the scene for the events to unfold.
Coming from India - ‘a country that lives in many centuries simultaneously’, as deliberated by Amitabh Bachchan in a book on Indian cinema, I may not have been stumped by the complex, the varied, the uncertain and the ambiguous that Italy had to offer across its length and breadth, had I not been conditioned, by the recent years of inhabiting Norway, to expect order and consistency in a mundane setting. It was therefore that when a Ferrari GT was juxtaposed with Asian immigrants vending lucky charms, or when an elderly commuter was replenishing her face with a fresh coat of makeup while a youngish nun brushed past her in a busy metro station, or when well-meaning strangers warned us of pickpockets in the city, I could not but be amazed at the coexistence of such extremities. Like India, Italy is a place where nothing is like it seems and where every moment brings fresh surprises. It might seem like I am exaggerating, but it is only my opinion :)
Solace in togetherness

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