Thursday, May 28, 2009
She walked along La Ramblas, watching the performers and applauding them in her mind. She liked this colorful street, full of hopeful artists and starry-eyed tourists, fancy-looking restaurants and inviting bars, the colorful market with paraphernalia lying around. She had a tempting glass of Orange juice, and then a rarely delicious vegetarian lunch made for her by the Indian-origin manager at the market. He even paid for her food.
And then the typical DDLJ stuff happened. She entered the Metro station hoping to get to one of the destinations which was a must-see according to the Lonely Planet guide. Lost in her world, she stood staring at the Metro map, trying to figure out the way. He stood right next to her.
She didn't know for how long they stood, aware of each others' presence, and yet avoiding any awkward communication. Finally, a chance glance where both were caught
She: Do you know how to get to place X?
He: Ya, do blah-blah-blah
She: Oh thanks
He: You traveling by yourself?
She: (A succinct) ya
He: Wanna join me? I am going to go to place X eventually. Until then, we could go to this highly recommended place Y.
She: (dammit... hot guys and chance encounters are difficult to turn down.. and this was a chance encounter with a hot guy.. so hesitantly..) Alrighty
They talk and talk... he is a chef in a restaurant in England. She, well, for him, is 'into computers'. It was a fun conversation... and a little company doesn't hurt.
They saw the colorful musical fountains, and had food. They drank a little Cerveza and then finally talked through the night.
That was the Barcelona she had seen. In May 2008.
Cut to Scene II.
Barcelona again. May 2009.
She recognized parts of the city. She wished she remembered more. But cities were rarely places to her, cities were a remembered by the feelings they triggered in her, her opinions, her inner voices.
This time, she had company. 3 friends. She saw Antoni Gaudi's Casa Battlo again. They had Cerveza, and vino, and went clubbling. Just the stuff tourists are expected to do when they land in big cities, especially Spanish cities known for their night-life.
They danced and danced until time lost its significance. Was it daylight? Or did she stop seeing stars?
They traveled to their castle-like, museum-like hostel, and crashed on the bed.
Barcelona, this time, was sight-seeing, eating, drinking, dancing, getting friendly, getting flooded by feelings of empathy for friends, crashing and hang-overing.
The sights of the city are juxtaposed by two snapshots in time. The mind channelizes its energy in trying to force out a decision: "was it better now, or did you like the previous experience?". The comparisons and debate continues with thoughts running into dark pits of unguarded territory. The 'responsible' version of self says "why compare? what's the point? Everything is good 'in its own way'! They were 2 different things, cant be compared".
Would one like to be the Kareena of Chameli singing 'bhaage re mann', or would one rather be Saif of DCH singing Dil Chahta hai, kabhi na beete..?