Coming back to your life after an extended holiday abroad is almost like waking up from a long dream. Everything is new, strange, surreal – and yet familiar and starkly real. As I drove from home to work on day one, there was a tremendous sense of peace and calm. A sense of belonging, a certain ‘rightness’ of everything being exactly the way it should be.
I am reminded of an attraction called Extreme Log Ride at Sentosa in Singapore, where my kids and I watched a 4D film which was a roller coaster ride by a log through a lumber yard and river. Your seat moves you forwards, backwards and side to side in sync with the visuals on screen, dropping you in fits and starts every few minutes. It’s frightening and exhilarating! The kids absolutely loved it.
I enjoyed it too, but to be honest, there were moments I was petrified. And yet I could not take my eyes off the screen; it was like I was frozen in my terror. As a tool for keeping my sanity intact, I kept reminding myself: “This isn’t real, this isn’t real. You can switch it off any time, this is temporary. Nothing is going to happen to you. You are safely strapped in. This is just a ride.”
Even in those few minutes of noise and crashes and chaos and jumping seats and a voice telling me it’s alright, I had a revelation: “This is life, isn’t it?” The sages talk of the illusion of this existence (‘maya’) — our personality is finite, our circumstances are not permanent, our emotions are fleeting. Ultimately, it’s going to come to an end, and yet ‘we’ go on. We just exit – and continue. There’s no end, really. Just one ride after another.
Returning to Delhi after 14 days in Singapore was like exiting one ride, to enter another bigger and longer one. Despite its fits and starts and sharp turns, I am grateful to note that I am at peace with it.