Hiraeth

They often narrated stories about how their perfect place looks like and what they feel in those perfect places. 

I lied down on my bed at night, closed my eyes and wondered what my perfect place would be like.  

I’d hike up in the dense mountains, where only a little sunshine reaches the ground. I’d go towards the edge, look down at the gorge, wait for nightfall, and just sit while soaking up all the light breeze under a starry sky. At that moment, the little calmness that I’ll have, with so little on my mind, with beauty in front of my eyes, I’d find my perfect place. 

I’d dive into the deep, deep quarry, from a really high point, swim towards it’s bed and close my eyes. I’ll keep on swimming until I can feel the water pressure with my closing ears, my eyes getting heavier, my lungs giving out and until the only thing I can hear would be my own heartbeat. I’ll keep on going deeper, towards the dark end where the sunlight doesn’t reach anymore, trying to find the light I’ve always missed. And with almost no air left inside of me, I’ll begin to see little bubbles coming out of my mouth and I’ll start to lose my vision, can’t feel myself anymore, with my closing eyes, I’ll feel the cold water hugging me, and I’ll be calm and I’ll be at peace, and I’ll have all the silence of the world around me and that’d be my perfect place. 

With a sudden pain in my chest, coming back to my senses I’ll start swallowing water, realising that I’m drowning. Even though I wouldn’t want to come back up, my body tries to move it’s hands and legs trying to push the water beneath itself and towards the surface. I’ll have lost all my air and capacity to move, but my limbs keep on pushing down the water and as I reach the surface, I’ll pop out of the water like a whale who was forcefully held under the water, gagging for air and reach back to a place that doesn’t make me feel like myself anymore. 

I’ll lose my perfect place. 

I’ll lose because my perfect place stands only at the end of the tunnel, where some lose the light of their lives and some find the white light. 

My perfect place waits for me. I wait for my perfect place. 

~ Vaidehi Rawat

Photograph ~ Abhilash Pavuluri

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