How a Trip To Turkey Made Me a Flâneur
Observing people pass by fuels me with curiosity and compassion
I was always taught to mind my business and keep my vision blindsided. They said it’s a sign of a refined, well-behaved girl. She keeps her eyes pinned to the ground. Mostly like the Mule with blinders, I kept my vision downwards without losing the path. It was also reckoned as the character trait of society-fearing girl. I did that, or simply put I impersonated that. Pinning my range of view to my feet 180 degree vertically also pinned my perception to my ankle, hence I was often told that the ‘woman’s intellect nests in her ankle’.
Forwarding fast to my middle age, I am acutely fond of traveling and excursions. And historical relics of a place ignite my curiosity shooting my serotonin. After almost combing the lengths and breadths of the Indian sub-continent(Superficially!), I suggested my family visit Turkey, this summer. It was a stone that hit two birds, number one, the visit was rich enough to satiate my hunger for Ottoman and Roman civilizations. The fall of Constantinople and rise of Ottomans caffeinates my brain to learn more. Number two, is the fairytale scenery of the countryside like Nevsehir, Goreme, and Avanos. it literally diminishes my glossary.
Yet, the word is mesmerizing!
May be an understatement, but yet the beauty running by through your car window is gloriously dreamy. Okay! So, our first international trip was closed as Turkey. Landing at the airport, my nerves started crinkling their noses(If they have one!)at the colorful maze of humanity radiating their cultures. The country’s historical saga and flabbergasting restorations attract populations across the globe. The sight of different people physically was overwhelming and fascinating. I couldn’t keep my eyes off looking, (translate as staring). Sometimes, my gawk was met with a cheerful hi, and often with a closed-lip smile. Overall, I wasn’t taken as a psycho on the prey for some reasons, fortunately. At the heights, I was dragged by my family because I was busy gawking at the work of art. That work was either high vaulted ceilings of Hagia Sophia or turquoise blue waters blurring the line of snow-whitish horizon. I froze at every bling of beauty.
Absorbed. Clicked. Walked past. Light-heartedly.
However, I froze when I saw a couple French-kissing on the cruise. Is that for real? Middle-aged, yet I think it’s the stuff that happens only in movies. I know, I sound naive and unpolished! But the truth is I found the public display of intense affection riveting. No, I wasn’t uncomfortable! Not at all, I was fascinated seeing the variation of populace on the spectrum of human life, unafraid.
Neither, I am a hypocrite fanatic who invalidates the PDA, nor someone who finds it fodder for voyeurism. On the contrary, display of affection publicly, announces the connection without playing hide and seek. The PDA then became a commonplace site during my entire journey. My family ridiculed me for acting out like a Flaneur. But I just couldn’t resist feasting on the sauve and sweet-tongued and socially-appealing men and sharp-nosed and meticulously elegant and chic styled women, not forgetting the cherubic babies.
The command, ‘pin your vision to the ground reverberated like the reminder bell of an alarm clock often, but to see and cherish the beauty you have to snooze it! Every. Single. Time. The irresistible claustrophobic caves, the alluring depth of valleys and the panoramic Cappadocia. The beauty of this country taught me a substantial lesson of my life, never pin your vision to ground, but look around. The beauty reciprocates, energizing your mental strength.
Learning the art of pottery from the master, who’s dedicated his lifetime to the pottery was confounding. An elderly man, driving force behind the filigree and designs that captivates entire world was a simple and positively art-less(read genuine) person. He didn’t care for the fandom that follows his art, he also didn’t care for remaining unknown to the world. No! He’s cherished by the rich, pottery lineage, but still, I realized what if ceases to live, he’d be forgotten. But yet he didn’t care. Why? Because, he was far more interested in creating artistic beauty rather than worrying for his legacy.
Right from Turkish Hamam to cave dwellings to ceramic workshops, every eye-catching charm might have summoned immense effort. The Turks have so well-adapted to this truth of mankind. To beautify a natural or manmade piece, one requires a work of art with a perpetual sense of perseverance. It is an immortal work in progress, and Turks are evermore ready to work for maintaining and restoring their work of art.
When I emphasize the beauty of Turkey, I take into account the humanity too. When I say beautiful, I also understand that no place in the world is utopic and beauty fades and smirks everywhere. I have my share of hard experiences, but isn’t that everywhere? Human beings are colorful inside out and outside in!
I was taught that Flanerie was socially wrong and unacceptable. But I believe, it is an art, like that old ceramist at the Nevsehir countryside, who ornamented the pottery by his insights in pottery-making. Yes! Flanerie allows you to look and appreciate around. It broadens your vision and makes you acceptable.