It was my first morning in Paris. I was staying in a hostel in Montparnasse. Having arrived in the dead of night, the anxiety of reaching my hostel at the right time had blinded the eyes I used for capturing the beauty of a city. This is how its like when you travel the unknown lands which speak unknown languages. At first, the eyes only show the safest route for survival. We all have a thousand eyes I think, and every situation calls for its own set. In love, they say we go blind.
The morning I stepped out on the streets, I immediately lost the identity of the 28 year old Indian government officer who had resigned from the services and was out in Europe, escaping.
I became this writer, who strolled the streets of Paris, eyes searching for nothing, but mind going neurotic in search of the next part of his story. Multiple stories in fact. A writer, who fell in love with every third person crossing the street. Writer who thought that the little girl randomly breaking into a dance was the most beautiful thing in the world. Writer who wanted to hold his girl’s hands and walk those Parisian streets because he was unbelievably inspired. Writer who chose to be alone because he wanted to find out who he would end up with that day. Loneliness embraced to kill loneliness, he was a very alien creature.
I think I’d name him Mark. He was a complete foreigner, raised probably by a family with a military background but chose to be a writer. It took a fraction of a second for this 28 year boy from South Delhi, to become this writer in his early 40’s from southern France.
I took the tube and went to the Notre Dame. Strolling the little nostalgia shops, I heard the sound of a piano. Right there on the street, she sat there with her grand piano, playing the tune of “Greensleeves’’. He stood there, recognizing the tune instantly.
Had this been any other city, this beautiful tune would have penetrated the being like an arrow shot at an unprepared, sleeping guard. But this , dear reader, was Paris. Paris has a background score playing by default I feel. A music more graceful and more sinister than your imagination can ever conceive. Her tune of Greensleeves gelled with the atmosphere effortlessly. The old lady shopping for flowers did not turn to see her, the little girl dancing did not change her steps. Mark stood at a distance, gazing at her. Their eyes met.
Some requests do not need words. He looked at her with a gaze which begged her to keep playing this tune forever. At that point,for him, his life did not matter. This moment where he looked at her as she played her piano, and rest of Paris went about doing its own thing, was so complete that it took away the fear of death from him. He thought to himself that if he died at this very moment, his soul would have the scent of Paris and her tune of Greensleeves would still be playing in the background.
Mark was in love again.