#9: Reclaiming Sundays

Izmir – Istanbul

*The post is titled so after the most wonderful Sunday I spent in Istanbul. May there be many more. Amen.*

Although, I have 3 entries written for the last three days I spent in Istanbul, I have decided to keep them hidden inside my notebook. Here’s a retrospective post instead of a reflective one.

On my last day in Kusadasi, I watched the sun set over the Aegean and walked around the dimly lit paths inside the hotel compound. It was a lovely hotel right next to the sea. The next morning, I was driven down to Izmir from where I took a flight to Istanbul, where I was supposed to spend the last 3 days. These 3 days, I did not have a guide nor the driver and not even any familiar faces. I was to go around the city doing as I pleased. Suffice to say that I absolutely enjoyed myself. On one Sunday when I was in Istanbul I hopped over to Beyoglu, went over to Ortakoy and went all over as far as the trams took me. Yes, there were shops and boutiques lining Istiklal Street and glass blowers and artists mushrooming in Ortakoy. And yes, I also sat down and watched the Bosphorous – that jagged, important, and dark blue slice of life tossing and tumbling in its own high. I shopped to my heart’s content, and came back to the hotel each night like a local coming home.

A couple of things that I felt while I was away were – ecstatic, content, bewildered, amazed, soaring, and sometimes, even lonely. After a whole day of going around and touching everything that was just imagination, I used to come back to the room and sit alone. India, being 2.5 hours ahead, would have already gone to sleep and all I had was myself. On some nights, in those moments, I would feel the need to have someone around. I used to miss N, Bookhads, Boy, and even think of how things would be if my family or foster family were around. Then, in my head, I would hear all of them say the same thing in different ways – This is your dream. You live it alone. After that, I used to write whatever crude words to express my elation and drift off to sleep.

When I was planning this trip, a lot of people told me that it was going to change my life. Some said I would find the love of my life. Some said it would change me as a person. Some said that it would change my perspective. Some said that I “needed” it suggesting that I was somehow cuckoo and this was some sort of healing mechanism. It may have been an iota of all these things, but none of this was wholly true. From where I look at this solo trip that I took to a foreign land – it wasn’t an escape from the drudgery of everyday life or a medicine of sorts. I undertook this because I wanted to do something wholly for myself, and myself alone. As a person, I’ve always kept spinning up these dreams that would come true someday. But then I thought that “some day” could be today. I was sick and tired of everything being in the future – being that a writer, having a house, travelling the  world, meeting that person – but all of it someday in the future. One day I asked myself, why not now?

Now that I am back, people still ask me how it changed my life. I can say for a fact that I’ve started believing much more in the things that I want from my life. Especially because I’ve seen that one can have them. Maybe, that’s about it. I think it’s always going to be special because it’s my most extravagant gift to myself. I have felt so loved, pampered, and taken care of. Funnily, I did it myself.

With that, I close this travelogue. May there be more stories and new countries.

For now, it’s NaNoWriMo time. Frustrated posts about how I can’t write could follow. 🙂

The road back home is always shorter.
The road back home is always shorter.

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