Exactly two months before I was getting ready to leave to Germany for my masters, my elder brother told me, “Everything changes once you step out of your home to achieve something. It is like breaking out of the cocoon, wanting to enjoy the colorful world around you but only when you fly will you understand that home was a lot better. Mark my words beauty isn’t about the color or elements around you but the self-discipline and inner peace within you.”
As I listened very keenly, he continued, “I might not have traveled around the world but I have been in a hostel for many years now. Always remember no matter how worse things get around you never give up and never change yourself because wherever you go, you are always someone special and always try learning the best from everything.”
Two months passed by and I packed my bags. Brought jeans for the first time in my life. Twenty-one years in India and I never needed the thick bottoms that would take away so much of my pleasure of winds tickling my legs even though they were most common in his country. Hugging my parents as they embraced me back, I left with my sister who is pursuing her Ph.D. to Germany.
Everything was new, right from the cold climate to the new language and never in his life did I wear so many clothes to just stop shivering in the cold winds. In India, most say the summer season is worse only because they haven’t felt the winter for real. The first two days I did do nothing but stay indoors enjoying the warmth from the heaters and on the third day, something curious happened.
On my walk to the city center of Leipzig looking at the magnificent stone sculptured churches that were beautifully crafted and enjoying the cold winds tickling me under my thick black coat while watching cute babies running around. The best thing I liked was their smile as cute and sweet as a baked cake creamed all over and I knew well enough that innocence is what gifts them such beauty.
Picture Credit: R. S. Chintalapati
On the roads beside the footpath, there was a path for the bicycles, besides the bicycles path was the path for the cars and beside the car’s path was the path for the trams in the main streets.
The wide roads helped all of the vehicles share the space and as I walked with my sister to the city center to buy the winter collection of shoes and jacket before it got even colder and December was just three months away, I could see not even a handful people in the street.
I didn’t like the atmosphere. Maybe because I was new to it and I couldn’t imagine staying in Freiburg where I’ve secured an admission. Though my sister tried to make it sound as amazing as possible mentioning the black forest and the ideal location of the city since it’s close to both France and Switzerland, I’ve had my reservations.
On our way, I could see shops on both sides of the street alike India but the surprising aspect was that I could see a few buildings built with stone.
One of the best buildings I’ve seen as soon as we reached the city center was the Deutsche Bank. I couldn’t help but feel that it resembled Gringotts. I’ve even mentioned, “Perhaps Rowling admired them too."
As we entered “Peek and Cloppenburg” only because they had a winter sale going on, I heard a woman singing as she sat before the store. Her voice was as sweet as the honey and as she played the piano as well.
Honestly, what she sang made no sense but I could admire it for its beauty. I’ve loved listening to her so much that I stood in the small crowd that stood before her.
I could see a hat in which coppers were being dropped by people who loved her singing. I’ve waited a while to see if she would end and then I could place some money but neither did she stop or did she take a moment to peek at the coppers she had earned.
All she did was to enjoy the cold wind and sing the songs that meant many different things to many of her audience. I felt she was lost in her own paradise and I was pleased as to how much she enjoyed her work. She was in a blissful state.
I felt like through her smile, voice and the voices of the piano were whispering the truth of life. That night I could still listen to her before I fell asleep.
Until we started our journey to Freiburg, I did visit the city center as many times as I could and a few times, I could listen to her. It was the winter whispering the mysterious beauty of a noble soul.