Returning to reality after my afternoon nap always felt good. It was, sometimes, even better than waking up in the morning. With the sun stretching his legs after a long days work leaning on the golden fields, silhouettes of birds marching home, and plants slowly nodding off with the smooth caressing wind over their shoulders, the evening was upon me. I would then get dressed and start my pilgrimage.
This wasn't a pilgrimage to the gods in the traditional sense. This was something more special in a lot of ways. The pilgrimage stared at my university hostel and was just over two hours long. I would start walking through the empty road towards the gate with the sky trying on an exuberant coat in red. With that view my journey became buoyant. I was gliding through the air, taking in all that nature had to offer on both sides of the empty road. The next stop was the comely river that brought life to the small hamlet quite literally.
The river was nothing short of exquisite. The fact that the river was so beautiful and full of life had a lot to do with it being empty for almost half a year. When it resurged to life every year, it invigorated every living soul on the way. One could sit on the bank for hours and still wonder why time is so slow. The river had all the answers you ever needed, all you had to have was the right question and enough patience to understand what the river had to say.
Passing over the divine river, I reached a junction with a few shops along the sides. There were children running about, playing various games. Their parents were still hard at work, even after work, to keep their home alive. The village was far from modern society and the people there were farmers who labored hard in the fields to feed the sophisticated modern society for wages that wasn't enough to buy the produce of their own hard work. They relied on cheaper, government subsidized food material to fill their stomachs enough so they can go to work the day after. But you wouldn't see any of those woes on their faces. I'm not saying that they were always utmost happy about their life but you could tell from their eyes that they looked at the light and not the shadows.
Walking forward there was nothing but me and nature for kilometers. The river on my right and shrubbery on the other. But a few minutes along, there came a large, old banyan tree. A tree that was a significant stop on the way back. By the time I am on my return journey, the sky would have put herself to a sleep pulling the blanket over her. One could see the lights beyond through the small gaps in the blanket. This was the time when a bevy of fireflies swarmed the banyan tree. The tree looked like it was decorated for Christmas. I still remember standing beneath the tree with my best friend wondering how a whole university never saw that scene. That view could brighten even the darkest of days.
Then comes the fields. Those fields are the physical rendition of the saying 'as far as the eyes can see'. It literally spreads to the the fattest extent your eyes can see. It felt never ending. The fields on my left meant that my pilgrimage is nearing its end and that I am about to reach my destination. My wandering mind slowly gathers itself at the thought. I can slowly see the shops as I walk the curve. My pace slowly increases at the sight. A few minutes later I arrive at the junction and walk towards the shop that my eye had locked onto for a few minutes and my heart for almost a day.
The person at the tea shop would recognize me immediately as my pilgrimage has gone on for months now. He will get me the best tea that I have ever had in my entire life. Tea for which I travel about eight kilometers everyday on foot. Tea so tasty that I, a person who hated tea so much that I literally was scolded by my parents for throwing it away, drink at least three. It is indescribable how it tastes. When you sip it, you feel a warmth fill your body, a warmth passing through your vessels to every part of your body telling you that everything is OK, like a warm hug from your mom. The world stands still, including your body, it is only your mind that is comprehending the fact that you are feeling what can be only described as heavenly.
With the third tea inside me I would like the day was worth it. Another meaningless day given a meaning. Exiting the shop meant only one regret, the regret that I did not drink one more. Walking back, the world seemed so much more brighter. it would be pitch black most of the way back due to a lack of street lights, but that never bothered me because the view was much better in the dark. Silhouettes of all sorts made appearances. Walking back through the gates of my university, I felt like I could take on the world. Finding a familiar face inside the university, my night of discussions, about anything under the sun, starts.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2020:
Very descriptive and an enjoyable read. Good tea, one of the little pleasures of life.