To even attempt to describe the place I find myself lucky to be in, would be an experiential sacrilege! The sheer serenity and calmness enveloping me at this very moment, is straight out of the pages of a dated Lonely Planet magazine.
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But for the reader to grasp what I am feeling, it is imperative that I commit the blasphemy of my recourse to mere words.
It is twilight, and I am in the older parts of the city (if it can even be called that) of lakes, in an ultra resplendent place of stay. After an entire day of crabby travel, I could hardly believe myself when I set eyes on my fairy-tale room! As I stepped out of it in a happy delirium, I was stunned by what stood before me- an intricately carved stone walled plaza -screaming out stories of past centuries- stories of history and of love. Beyond this sit out, was an infinite view of the lake and it’s gleaming waves, big and small, splashing into the walls of the place I found myself in.
Now, as I sit back on my cushy chair and feel the glittering breeze playing with my hair, I choose to read Viktor Frankl’s autobiographical account, Man’s Search For Meaning, based on his time spent in four concentration camps. The setting and the choice of book, evoke in me, infinite emotions, which become more acute and thorough in the piercing silence that this place has to offer.
As I get about, I realise that Udaipur is most definitely a place that will throw art and culture at you at every step you tread. It’s a place that will haunt you with memories from your own past as you walk in these old world by lanes. It’s a place where you will sit by the ghat and watch the gentle waves of the lake water and will be forced to contemplate on the deeper questions of life- A search for meaning in your life, as Frankl puts it. It’s a place that has the ability to both transport you centuries back in time and at the same time ensure that you will have a good look at your present self- to in turn define your future, all at once, right before your eyes.
But above all, this place has the ability make you transfix your thoughts on your beloved- and ensure you feel an intense void in your soul that their physical absence will bring in. For each thing you think, feel and do, in this splendid place, you will wish for your beloved to experience it with you. For every picturesque sight you set your eyes on, you will miss holding the hand of the being who gives meaning to your life. A being who will feel that breeze with you, hear the distant soothing temple chants by the ghat with you, who will wish on the same sunset as you, who will watch every intricate detail of the lakes’ waves with you by their side and who will also make meaning of this elusive thing called life with you! In this wondrous place you will realise that life’s meaning lies not reaching someplace, but in experiencing the journey -sometimes mundane sometimes exciting- with that beloved, in person or even in their contemplation.
While at the concentration camp, in his lowest of low days, when he questions the meaning of the suffering he was going through, Frankl realises “The truth-that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. The salvation of man is through love and in love. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings the right way-an honourable way-in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfilment.”