(Hagia Sophia, Istanbul at dusk. Pic David Spender (Flicker)
Istanbul is my fantasy. Istanbul is the lover I have never met. But I have loved wholly and substantially. I have spent long nights reading Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul. I have spent hours day-dreaming about Istanbul. I have longed for Istanbul.
Istanbul has been too near yet too distant for me. All these years. On a sizzling hot May night this year, I had booked my ticket to Istanbul. For a week long visit.
And then the bomb blasts happened in the city killing 11 people. I hoped things to improve. Then the massive airport suicide attack happened sending shock waves across the world. Still I wanted to go ahead. And then couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine called up very early in the morning telling me about the military coup. And then as they say, rest is history.
Few days back, I cancelled my ticket. The cancellation money for the Istanbul ticket got deposited in my account much sooner than I had expected. This is one ticket cancellation that brought tears in my eyes (Aah.. and I thought I m inching towards detachment).
I feel, places are like lovers, You might be ready for them, but they might not be ready to embrace you, let you to explore their inner soul.
My young colleagues decided to cheer me up and gave me a little note saying, “Istanbul told us — it’s seeking you too. Just wait.”
Yes, we are all actually waiting for one thing or another. In transit, always waiting. Waiting for tomorrow, happiness, love, sometimes death too.
I am waiting for Istanbul. Till it’s ready to embrace me. Inshallah.