This is my entry for a contest organized by IndiBlogger and http://www.yatra.com
Paris will always, always be the first place my mind would run to at the word ‘travel’
This is love before first sight. There are some things you love just from all that you‘ve heard of them, you have a picture- a pretty one placed neatly in the leaves of your memory album. The picture is beyond technology and everything; it lets you step into it. You accept the invite and jump in letting the world around you change magically. Paris has always been my secret land of bliss.
When eighth standard French lessons took me on a promenade on the grand Avenues des Champs-Elysses ornamented on both sides with short barked and large headed trees and buildings that reek of luxury and affluence, which led to L’arc de Triomphe that stood proudly flaunting its magnificence, yet humbly guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier who had lost his life during the First World War and respectfully venerating all those who had fought in the French Revolution, I fell in love. I fell in love with this city, its profound past that had left around traces of itself causing its people to reminisce and its tourists to get curious, its richness that I believe is explicit, its language that sounds to me like liquid marshmallow in pastel shades flowing in fast and slow gushes – a description I cannot rationally justify and its people that I believe should be brimming with pride and its love that I know so certainly is in its air in abundance. I knew that Paris would see me someday staying in its abode, living a temporary but typical life of one that belongs and adding love and mirth to the ambiance thereby making up for any other incompatibility that may stand out and would accept me with its welcoming peck and an accompanying Bonjour.
I would go with my friend, the best one, the same one that’s insanely unreasonable at one point, unbelievably affectionate at another and crazy fun at all other times.
With my strange inability to keep my eyes open and stay conscious while inside a plane, I’m a complete dud for a flight-companion. As typical of me, I’d be a curled up mass, asleep with an embarrassing expression and a diagonally plummeting line on my face formed by drool – a picture that the world and I would see the next day, on Facebook, thanks to you-know-who who had earlier been considerate enough to take a minute off the air-hostess and all the flirting to click a photo. During the long wait for immigration, I would tell him all about Paris including its pronunciation and the evasive silent ‘s’.
We would walk out the Charles du Gaulle airport, discussing the name, collecting free travel-brochures along the way and planning dinner that night. We’d check in to a hotel and quickly walk out luggageless, eager, ignoring the mandatory post-flight change of clothes that cleanliness dictates. We’d walk where the road took us – this would be a planless night, a night to linger, to see the city, breathe it in and fall in love for real, this time. We’d walk past cafes playing slow French music, vendors shouting out French words I would hardly get, dapper men with sharp features, hot women in fashionable clothing and peaceful homes. We’d find a little café at the corner of a deserted street and we’d order for fresh vanilla ice-cream and some steaming coffee. We’d huddle together, to mitigate shivers of the evening chill. I’d look up and all around for a picture to add to my memory-album.
We’d wake up to a crisp, sunny morning. I’d wear a beige ruffled top and a floral skirt. I’d carry along my fav jacket. He’d wear something insignificant, looking at which I’d wonder how one cannot want to be at his best on such a day. Shooting him with some expletive filled sentences, I’d walk out with him into the day ahead. I’d try hard to read as quickly as possible, the French words on hoardings as we zipped past them. Some would bring back to memory French lessons, others would go away meaning nothing. We’d visit Le Louvre first, to stay indoors during the day “To avoid tan” he’d say sounding girlier than I ever possibly could. I wouldn’t mind though, I’d want to wait for the romantic evening to set in to visit the Eiffel Tower.
Le Louvre and the glass pyramid adorning its entrance would bring back Robert Langdon’s adventures to mind. Mona Lisa would look just like it always did – expressionless, yet so profound. We’d gaze for a while. We would spend sometime at ‘Virgin and Child with Saint Anne’ , ‘The death of Socrates’ and many others. I’d declare ‘The Raft of The Medusa’ (Le Radeau de la Meduse) to be my favorite. We’d walk out slightly in awe, slightly in the excitement of the plans ahead.
Later that evening, we would go to the Eiffel Tower. I would look at it in sheer admiration. The place would be thronged with people quite like me, feeling wonderful to be living that moment. The moment would fill me with emotion, all the emotion I had always associated with my travel plans. This would feel like the perfect point, the perfect place to shed a tear. I would hug the friend, who’d then make a face at my interruption of some serious lens focusing he was doing for the perfect picture. He’d hug back, responding to my overwhelmed state. We’d get a picture clicked by a polite French gentleman. I would know so certainly that this would go on to stay the best moment in life, for a long time.
We’d then decide to go on a cruise on the Seine. I’d gaze at it, thinking of the picture I had in mind when I had studied of the Seine’s exquisite and tranquil view and it would be just that, in actuality. We’d take a cruise offered by Bateaux Parisiens, beginning at ending at the Eiffel. We’d find our receivers to listen to the guide’s commentary. With the illustrious description and the guide’s deep voice, we’d get a glimpse of the whole of Paris. The soft lights lighting up the night would add to the picture, making it unbelievably romantic and beautiful. The mellow, wobbling waves around would make me fall in love another time (I’ve always had a thing for water). I’d remember how my french ma’am told us, back in school, that water – l’eau – is feminine just as all beautiful things in the world are. I’d smile at the memory.
I would go to bed content that night, knowing I had probably lived the best day of my life.