The shortest journey is one never begun. The story of our next journey – which was to have been uniquely our own as we are the only two travellers – is turning out to be somewhat of a question mark. Will we, won’t we? Or rather, can we, and when can we?
It is not even the ideal journey, planned with great enthusiasm and looked forward to with eagerness. In fact, it raises questions in the minds of everyone who is even slightly interested in our welfare. For the rest, it is simply a matter of curiosity and not concern that we are are even attempting it. Those who are deeply indifferent do not bother with it, or with us.
Of course this is about the big move we have been planning from a very large Metro to a small town in the deep South. It all started as a joke, then snowballed into a big decision made without too much thinking, but hopefully one we can live with. We were helped along by various events in our life of course, enough that we were unhappy enough to look for a kind of distance and lose ourselves in the mundane life we could expect in a strange town which would not be too strange. That sounds like a paradox but language and culture carry a comforting familiarity that acts like a cocoon and makes it easier to slip into a feeling of belonging.
We have been carefully keeping our secret for several months now from all but those who need to know – our three children – and those who would not really care about where we were. Those who did not need to be told were people who would be weaving whole stories and embroidering them with their own imagination hoping to hear lurid gossip about us to add to their enjoyment. I had rather hoped to unveil the facts at a time decided by us and shock a few people. That is the Gemini in me!
But that time, apparently, is not here yet. When we went to the Sai Baba temple on Diwali, I told Him that this was going to be our last Diwali visit here, but now He is having the last laugh. Not yet, He must have thought, without saying anything! All our well-laid plans went awry at the last minute, but we have not been too disappointed because over the years, life has taught us to simply accept and adapt to change.
I am relieved that I can postpone dealing with my fears and perhaps find it easier to move then rather than now. I can have a little more time to clear out my life and set my house and emotions in order. I have more time to learn to become more detached from my feelings, which is after all the main purpose of this move. The physical distance in reality represents the emotional distance from the present and the past.
The truth is that the journey not undertaken is itself a way of learning.