From the Old Silk Road

Will history be kinder to me than it was to the ancient monoliths that defined the ages?

Sharika Hafeez
Globetrotters

--

A random picture of me (the author). If you look closely at the rocky mountains, you’ll see the shadow of a pathway cutting through them — a part of the ancient Silk Road | Photo by Haala Marikar

I am dozing off, my neck lolling about inside the speeding bus, when my friend shakes me awake, her voice brimming with excitement.

“It’s the Silk Road, Sharika, look!

I am disoriented, groggy, confused — but my fingers tingle with excitement. Before we ventured on this journey, we looked up all the historical sites we would be passing by, and we knew the Silk Road would be one of them.

But the coaster bus does not stop. It does not so much as slow down. The Silk Road cuts across the mountains in the distance, and our coaster is blaring Tamil songs, oblivious to the thousands of years of history it is passing by. My companions are either asleep or singing along. If they share the excitement of my friend and I, we are not a part of it.

It takes me a moment to comprehend the significance of this moment.

A network of pathways that connected the civilisations of the East and the West. A spiderweb of rocky roads that tethered disconnected ideas, linked different dynasties, and intertwined varying cultures.

I think of all the merchants who had once braved these snaking pathways, in small clusters and caravans…

--

--

Sharika Hafeez
Globetrotters

Writer. Physics student. Under the inky-black sky, with a steaming cup of chai in my hands, I watch the stars and I write.