Sunday, August 28, 2011

That Thing Called Hope

The other day, I was thinking that hope was like God. If I had believed a great deal in God, that is. With hope, like with God, you fight and throw a tantrum when it doesn’t work out and when it does, there isn’t mostly an acknowledgement. Maybe hope is another name for God. I don’t know today, let’s not get into that.

A week from now, I am travelling to Varanasi and Bodh Gaya and Sarnath and Patna. Needless to say, I am terribly excited and the restlessness has set in. The tickets and a place overlooking the Ganga booked. I am itching to start, for it has been six month since my last major trip, six months too long. But for perhaps the first time, I am wary about the hope I have from this trip.

From the time my family and I started travelling, I have been in charge of the itinerary and without an ounce of modesty I must say all those trips have been huge successes. That is because I scourge through the net and through books to look up things. But then, there is so much that I end up reading that the element of surprise is no longer there. I think I first experienced it with Shravanabelagola and then with Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur. I had such expectations from what I had read that the actual place was a tad disappointing. That is what gushing entries in blogs or pictures from Google images do to you.

The only place that went way beyond my expectations was the North East. That might be because there isn’t much written online about them. I am glad for it; the NE remains a very special place.

With Varanasi now, I have hopes and I have my doubts. It is one of those backpacker paradises with bhang and ganja and long haired sadhus. I am prepared to meet with the crowds and the filth that’s so much written about. I am prepared to not be able to take a boat ride on the Ganga; she is in spate right now. I am prepared to be hounded by shop owners and touts offering ‘sightseeing’ and best views and best prices. But just this one time, I don’t want to be disappointed.

Varanasi was an old plan, just like most trips I end up doing. At the cost of sounding corny, I admit that a few months ago, I began to get this urge to go there, for no apparent reason. Or maybe it was because of misplaced hopes elsewhere, I cannot say. I am not a believer in the God calling you to his place kind of deal. But well, for reasons I shall not explain here, I wanted to go see the oldest living city in the world, though nothing there, I hear, is over 300 years old.

I am telling myself this will be one of those search for something kind of trip. Not instant nirvana, I’ll leave that to the long haired hippies. But I have this strange feeling that I am looking for something and that I shall find a hint there. No, not answers, I don’t think there are any. Not meanings of things, I think we define our own. But something I could call by different names. Maybe hope. Maybe faith.

I don’t want to be let down. Just this one time. If only to prove to myself that it is still ok to believe in hope and to have faith.


Captain Nemo said...

If there is one lesson I've learnt from my mom and some experiences in this life it is - that faith will never let you feel let down...
Have faith and let the supreme light shine on you when you reach the city.
Have a great trip and enjoy yourself, stay safe...

Deepa Bhasthi said...

Hmmm I have a knack of putting my faith in the wrong places and people! :)
But thank you. I hope to have a great trip.