Travelogue 2 : Italian Experience

A visit to my Italian friend’s villa for three days two nights; it was the most ideal locations an artiste would want to stay and create his work. Close to civilization yet not amongst the screaming urban and modern cities; for me who comes from Mumbai this makes more all the more sense.

It has always been fascinating also intriguing for me to look into the creative process of an artist, especially to know how an artist ‘creates’ his work of art. The point of inspiration, the process of turning an idea into a reality, the technique chosen, the use of the medium to bring out the concept …many such insights. I agree that to be articulate, which few artists can manage, not that I blame them for the creation of art is not a scientific process, is indeed difficult. So to be able to share with no pretentiousness, that consumes all artistes the moment one is asked to talk of their work (ofcourse which was possible by keeping the ‘I’ of the artist aside), the journey in to the matrix of art and the world of the artist -real as fantastical was simply the best thing that happened in these three days. It was insightful discussions over morning cappuccino, lunch, evening cup of chai and dinner.

All art and art talk it was not, for staying with these friends an adorable Italian couple, I got to know a lot about the country, its customs and traditions. One thing of importance to coffee lovers like me that Italians go to, not cafe’s but coffee bars, to have their shot of coffee. I like that, for now, a teetotaler like me would have a reason to visit the bar..Smiles. I have some Had some deliciously cooked homemade pasta, salads made from organic and freshly plucked vegetable and fruits from a nearby farm, Italian soup and goat cheese AND was awakened to the fact that most of Italy and its citizens donot devour pizza day in and day out. Infact it is not their staple food as most of us ignorant fools may have lead to be believed by the marketing world. Just like the french citizens in France are ignorant souls, for they have never known what is a French toast, which ofcourse is popular to the native people of my India. What a amusing world we live in.

The morning of the second day, sipping my cup of Wagh Bakri chai, I sat in the verandah of the house, feeling silent from within, gazing at the azure blue sky that was peeping from the thick foliage of trees. Thoughts of not much consequence crept in and out of the mind. Imagine onself walking on a busy street of humans passing by when we see so many faces, none of them get registered in our mind until a known or interesting face comes across and catches your attention. Such was the morning where I spent an hour or so with this most wanted ‘nothingness’ until the thoughts where to next start to crawl inside. Ofcourse I could not ignore them as I had to move out here the next day. I was determined not to miss out on this Italian trip a visit Venice, I must confess, a city that I have wanted to see for the large part of my life. All of us have dream destinations — and Venice was one amongst them for me. What are your dream destinations in life? If asked to me in philosophical, materialistic or social contexts could procure different, interesting and contradicting answers. Or for all you may know for many of us no ready destination may come in the fore front, which according to me may be the best state of human joyousness to be in. Anyways this destination was in context of geographically places to be seen and Venice was definitely on the list. On the way to it was a city called Bologna which the showed up on site of ‘Travel Italy’ and was recommended by my friend. He said it was nice to get lost in that city so I booked my train ticket on Italano (name of a private train company) to Bologna.

That evening I performed, rather practiced Bharatnatyam. Some twenty minutes was witnessed by four neighbours of my friend who had never seen any Indian dance. At the end of it two of them, who were

extremely moved by the performance, were interested in knowing more about Indian culture and myths. so I was told. Amongst these spectators was a young boy of ten years who was interested in learning dance, and hopefully it may have touched him somewhere because his eyes reflected an inquisitive yet cautious sparkle, in them .

Next morning, as I again made it possible to sit in the verandah, this time chai accompanied by some tasty Italian cookies, the thoughts that kept entering were urging me to start planning the coming afternoon and evening in Bologna. The two sides of my mind — one wanting to just ‘be in now’ and the other wanting to ‘ be in future’- began their arguments. In between this, I do not know why, but I just went and sat under a tree and a certain discussion from a day before came afresh to me. We,my Italian friends and myself , were talking how we- the human race- have let the clock invade our lives so much so that we have become sheer times machines. Knowingly we have started to live such orchestrated lives, to an extent that the moment of being ‘in now’ is so often and unnecessarily, overshadowed or rather over powered by being in ‘what next’. The presence of nature made me once agin realize this fact and its then I decided to proceed to Bologna without planning. I had a hotel booking, a train ticket and money in hand; enough for me not be worried. Thus I left the plan to evolve itself when i reach Bologna.

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