I have always been a gypsy. My family tells me, as a kid, I'd find it difficult to sit still. They'd try to tempt me with chocolates and toys. But no amount of bribing or coddling would ensure my immobility (unless I was asleep of course, the only time my family could catch some much deserved rest).
So there I was, a curious little brat, stopping in the middle of the street to watch couples fight, peeping over tables at restaurants and solemnly pointing out to food stuck in between teeth of the diners, peering at kids my age get excited over toy trucks and doll houses, and keeping my folks on their toes with my suspicious silence and sneaky disappearances.
Nothing could hold my attention from wavering for long though. I'd soon want to move on to some other thrill. Perhaps it was a keen sense of learning, an unquenchable thirst of adventure that propelled me forward, or perhaps I was just born that way, a curious cat searching for new possibilities in everything she saw and in everyone she met.
Growing up didn't help much either. Of course, I had my share of fun like all other children my age. But I was still distracted. The constant search for something else...something more...something different was on. There were days I wanted to slip away from the harsh wrath of reality into a cushy zone that could truly make me happy. A private space that would give me the comfort of home, and yet satiate my hunger for adventure, rejuvenate my spirit, and set the world in magical motion. Some place I'd leave with the silent promise of returning as soon as possible, and wait and want to go back again.
In hindsight, perhaps the quest for such a thrilling adventure land would have started and ended in my overactive imagination if it wasn't for my older sibling. It was she who got my interest piqued, and much to my chagrin, proved to be my 'Pole star' guiding me into the 'Narnia' of my imaginings, a wonderland that actually existed outside my dreams and made me instantly fall in love with it.
My happy place was right there---in my very own house. How exciting, I thought. It had a special login system. I could enter it from literally anywhere in the world. I felt like a happy snail, content in carrying it's home on its back. My 'happy place', full of surprises, would be furnished differently every time. The moment I entered, I'd be subjected to beautiful revelations, scintillating surprises, and needless to mention, oodles of adventure waiting for me.
I would never tire out here. My intrigue and interest would soar with every visit, and I'd come back for more every single time, just like I'd imagined. This was exactly the kind of happiness that I'd imagined, and I'd finally found a place that warranted it for keeps.
Since there, I've always been visiting. I spend hours at a stretch there. Sometimes, the entire day. At times, the whole night. The interior keeps changing, but that gives me the opportunity to live a million lives. Perhaps that is the secret---the provision of a chance to break off from the drudgery of a mundane reality and experience life in another persons shoes, if only for a while.
As a child, I loved eating alphabet soup. I remember sieving the noodle-letters and eating them first. The enthusiasm for the vegetable broth would eventually fade, and I'd try to find reasons to skip finishing my dinner. But during that brief period of strain-sieve-swallow, I'd be happily lost in the jumble of words formed from the alphabets in my soup.
Years later, words still brings me the same kind of joy I'd experience as a child. As the popular maxim goes, 'Old habits die hard'. I open my bag and fish out my current read. A small voice from between the pages beckons me, causing my heart to flutter and fly.
It's time for the snail to disappear into its cocoon. It's time for me to slink into my happy place.