Wednesday, March 2, 2011

a life turned around

Can a trip change your life? Or least for a while. Well, it did change mine. I was at a stage where nothing was going well. Everything was extremely monotonous and mundane. I was certainly heading towards depression if nothing else. I am not a pessimist but life certainly wasn’t peaches and cream. I prayed for a tiny miracle and it came true. I got an escape. A tiny vacation. My head told me to accompany the kids on a trip to a remote desert of Pakistan.
I hurriedly packed my bags, borrowed a camera from a close friend, bought some snacks, charged my phone and with an adventure set in mind, I headed towards the bus. It was on a clear morning that we embarked upon a journey of seven hours. Ipods charged, bags of chips opened and with the stereo blasting in our ears, we watched the sun go down and come up again.
I had never seen a desert before. Never. I had been to the mountains several times but the desert never really interested me. Surprisingly as we approached the dry land, my eyes did not for a second leave the window, courtesy of my traveling partner who very willingly gave me the seat to witness spectacular sites throughout the trip. The sand dunes of the desert are like huge piles of dry, dusty sand that are as high as hills and extend for miles at a stretch. Little patches of life growing on yellow land are going on for hours and hours. Hungry camels nibble on leaves and shrubs. Small children run barefooted with goats and hens as companions. They stared at us as our bus crossed their path, some smiled, others mistook us as foreigners.
This trip also proved to be a reminder of old art history lessons that we dismissed as boring and unimportant. In the museum of Umarkot, I stumbled upon the original text of the famous Akbernama, a biography written under Akbar's rule. The tattered, sacred text of Persian before my eyes was more precious than anything I had ever seen before. Not just that, the museum housed currency from the mughal period along with miniature paintings. All of this was ducked inside of a large beautiful fort that gets lost somewhere in the darkness of night. From the top of the tower, the entire town can be seen, light emerging from small mud homes and tiny buildings.
The best moment of the trip was near a quiet lake with the sun going down, forming a huge splash of orange and yellow across the sky. We went to a place called Nagarparker, not far from the place where we were staying. Nagarparker can be a tourists delight. The hills there are more beautiful than ever and boast a rocky terrain. Below are huge rocks that make the view more picturesque than one can imagine. Right over there lies a quiet, undisturbed lake whose water only moves when frogs decide to jump into it. I sat there as long as I could, just watching, trying to capture as much as I could. One can actually get lost in the serenity of that place. It was maybe a small glimpse of heaven.
In the middle of that lovely scenery, sits a Jain temple in ruins. Beautifully carved into rocks, it stands straight and invites attention. As you go closer and touch the craftsmanship of mankind, it takes a while to absorb so much beauty.
It was during this time that I really understood a part of me and a part of life. As the kids traveling with us sang, danced and gossiped, I contemplated throughout. For the first time in my life, I did not notice the people around me. I did not feel lonely when I was alone. I did not feel the urge to talk to someone all the time. I was lost and so absorbed in the presence of nature that for a while nothing mattered. I had private conversations with God. I told him how beautiful he had made everything, how much thought went into it and how thankful I was for my life.
I realized on the trip how much I truly enjoy traveling. I loved that we woke up early morning and heard the cry of animals somewhere in the distance. How fresh we used to be at that time and how spectacular each day's view was.
I guess, somewhere along I finally discovered what I want from life. I was unhappy, unsettled and ungrateful. I was angry with myself for being single. I was upset at my family for pushing me towards a relationship that would have been a complete disaster and as the wheels underneath rolled everyday, so did my thoughts to a different level. I came to the decision that single hood wasn’t a curse after all but rather a blessing. Married cousins told me how lucky I was to just pack a bag and leave without any worry.
On my wall are small post it's that redefine the goals of my life. One of them was to be happy the other to buy a Mac. Alhamdolilah I have both now. They say happiness is short lived but as long as it is alive even for a short while, one should make the most of it.


  1. My parents would never let me go to a remote desert in Pakistan. Never. :(

  2. haahaah.... i have been traveling to remote places since a long time and this one was with 20 kids, two teachers and a guard. so it was very safe. i'll post more pictures of my adventure!