Of Journeys and Pilgrimages…

You come alone, suffer alone, and somehow keep moving. You smile, you cry, you sulk and you fight. With all your might. You lose, and sometimes even manage to succeed. The entire process, this solitary journey, is yours. Something that becomes a part of you, that makes you what you are. Your definition. You gloat about such journeys. And if you happen to be extraordinary and your journey unique people even talk and write about it. Such journeys bring a sense of contentment, making you believe as if you are finally full. As if you have achieved something. A rare feat. And then vanity seeps through. You know that pride has managed to seep in but you are convinced that it has done so justifiably. But this is not about such journeys.

Rather this is about the journeys that a family undertakes together. Journeys that are like pilgrimages. You are all heading towards a destination you have only heard of from others. Towards something, you till now have only believed in. Bearing in mind and heart the conviction and in the eyes the hope. You all know that the only way of surviving this ordeal is by sticking to each other. You refuse to look into each others’ eyes. For eyes give away everything. The moment one looks into them. And once you see that weakness in your parents’ eyes there’s not much that remains meaningful. All the stories of valour and hope that they have instilled in you since the childhood seems false. Could, then, you all ever complete this journey? And what will come out of this journey? Will there be a God worth worshipping? Or will you be stripped of your faith? Will you be the same person once this storm is over? What doesn’t kill you changes you for good. And what will happen once the belief shatters? Would that make you reluctant of any such future journeys?

You pray. You hope. You keep moving. Because that is what the pilgrims do. They move against all the odds. Against the wavering hope and vacillating conviction. They let the air dry their tears. They hold tight to each other. Their ultimate and only respite is at reaching the destination. No matter what it has in store for them… And this is exactly how the world sustains. Through these journeys, both the individual and the ones taken together.

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