In the past month, I have traveled much and seen much. However, contrary to my aspirations about what travel would do for my writing, I haven’t written much. I’ve been in a bus, on a plane, met strangers and smiled with them, eaten to my heart’s content so much that I would throw up, I have played and walked along the sea, I’ve got wet in the rain on numerous occasions, I’ve seen a fort from afar and been to one. But I haven’t come back and written about it here, as much as I wanted to.

I’ve seen the onset of the rains in my village along the Konkan coast, and as I write this I still see it. Clean, fresh, green foliage lining well-maintained lanes. Narrow lanes meandering through the quiet settlements that villages are. Houses lining up on the sides of these lanes standing calm as the rain poured steadily on their slanted roofs of clay. The white sea dancing on the shore flanked by emerald green coconut trees swaying in the wind under a beautiful grey sky. And not to forget the horses—horses in their stables in front of my house standing and watching the rain with me. If I’ve ever known to stretch out my hand and touch peace, it has been in those quiet moments when it rained in my village.

And yet.

Yet, I haven’t written about it.

Nor have I written about how I revisited Hyderabad; this time with a busier agenda. And how, even with all the work I had, the city did not overwhelm my being. I’ve written about how my last trip to Hyderabad provided me with the anonymity I needed. This time, it brought me to meet some genuine, lovely people who didn’t rebuke me or judge me for being a stranger, but accepted me for who I am. With them I shared stories over delicious meals and lots of coffee. We revisited Hyderabad’s history as we were contained by the city discussing why the city is called so and why the Charminar was built. We spoke of movies and how they made us feel. And when I narrated the story of Dibakar Bannerjee’s film starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Bombay Talkies, it made me realise how life was in the littlest of little things. We laughed over spontaneous jokes in unison which had nothing to do with demeaning someone for our merriment. And I wasn’t surprised at all by how special and at peace the city had made me feel, again. Like I had nothing to run after. Like I had nothing to prove to anyone.

And yet.

Yet, I haven’t written about it.

Nor have I written about how I hailed an auto the other day in Mumbai and how the driver was more than willing to take me to my destination. “Kamai to chahiye na madam,” (I need to earn madam) he said to me. Then, he went on tumbling his life’s story to me—a total stranger. He told me how his first wife died when she was 7 months pregnant due to a snake bite. How his second wife ran away from his ancestral home in his village without informing anyone and came to Mumbai. How he didn’t know what to do and that he made a living by driving an auto in Mumbai because the farming in his village didn’t get as much money for sustenance. How he ferried customers all day long so he could make a living for his parents, wife, and three children. Why he told me all of it, I had no clue but I listened all the same. When I reached my destination, I wished him well and went on my way. As I walked into the premises of my old organization, some distant happiness tugged on me. I thought to myself, “Everything is bigger in memory.” I met old friends who hugged me, we smiled, talked, and laughed. They accepted my loud voice without complain, so much so that P (who I’ve written about earlier) recognized my voice in the canteen as soon as I entered it. When I went up to the counter to say hi and order, he said he knew I’d come and he’d heard what I wanted when I told K about it. I couldn’t help but smile. Friendships make us warm.

And yet.

Yet, I haven’t written about it.

There are so many experiences I’ve collected in the past one month that I would have loved to narrate. There was mirthful talk about Jaipur, Agra, Hollywood, cheesy TV shows and upcoming trends. There was a cackle of laughter and board games being played into the night. There was history enveloping us as we walked in the rain on its footprints. And then there was appreciation and acceptance. However, things bound me down and I haven’t grabbed a chance to empty my cup here.

Past months have been tough and weighing. It was almost like I had accepted the burden of life. Then, a small voice in my ear whispered—not yet. So, every time I feel like it’s all too much to bear I stop myself and say: Here’s the thing about riding on a Bullet under a canopy of trees on a rainy night, it’s marvelous but you’ve got to put up with the cold.