Have been here in this place where they call Turkey, Istanbul for a few days now. It didn’t feel like I have left home, nor did it feel as if I am in a foreign country. Looking at my notebook where I had diligently listed down the places I had stated that I would visit, I realised that I visited not even 10% of them, yet visited those places which I thought I would not. In a very strange way, my plans were all ‘screwed’ up, but I did not feel that anything was ‘screwed’ up. I wake up in the morning, head upstairs to the terrace for the same breakfast that they serve every day, to be greeted by a lady there who serves as a chef (for breakfast) and also a cleaner at the hotel. She cannot really speak English, but she tries her level best to articulate so that I could understand her, and each morning, she would ask me, “eggs? Is one enough? It is small” she would tell me. And I would smile and tell her, “Yes, eggs, and one is enough.” Today, having been there for the third day, she stared at me for a little while more and told me, “You are lovely.” Such sweetness manifested. I smiled, nodded and said, “thank you”. It was pointless to argue with that, as those words would not have been expressed if she wasn’t lovely herself. It is always, always the lover meeting the beloved.
And as I sat quietly, enjoying the scenery provided by the terrace, I could see how it starts its storytelling… like how I am a woman, seated up a terrace all alone without a care in the world – either wishing the beloved was here, or grateful how this can be experienced, or how wonderful to stay here forever… and it goes on and on… putting a smile on my face as I simply, watched it as it is… how it finds its own storyline whichever way it decided to head, delicious.
After I left the entrance of the hotel, I didn’t know where I was heading. I just walked, and walked aimlessly, stopping occasionally for a picture or two, totally forgetting that I was indeed a foreigner there. I didn’t feel any different. It was as if, I was one of them, or just there, the perfect place in that perfect moment, nowhere else to be… until someone looks at me taking a picture, and then he asks me, “do you want me to take a picture of you?” offering his assistance to have my photo taken with the object of my photography experience and then I am suddenly the “the tourist” again.
As I sit here, lying on my bed typing this out, after replying an email to a friend on when I should be heading ‘home’, there seems to be a struggle, as if, not really wanting to be in the future, but merely savouring what is in the now, here… within awareness. It is not about Istanbul, or Malaysia, or even Hong Kong… it is simply being here, now and home within itself that there is contentment.
I have to share that I am never short of company too. When no one is around, then I know, no one needs to be around; and when I need a cup of Turkish tea, the kind receptionist offers to make me one and stays a little longer to have a chat with me, asking me what I do for a living and etc etc. And I’ve come to see, that this enlightened person, is also aware that it is ideas in the mind that makes one feel this or that about other people or a situation. It was like a kindred spirit meeting another. And then it was time to go back to the room, because the cup from which I was sipping Turkish tea for the second time is empty. No one was online, and there wasn’t much on TV. I lay in bed, just waiting and waiting for that voice to tell me what to do next. And it says, “Off all lights and go to sleep” and it was done what it was told.
What a wonderful story, unfolding again and again by itself. There is nothing to do, except to wait for it to speak and wait for it to respond. I didn’t have to be in charge anymore… or rather, it is liberating to know that I had never been in charge. And all this time, I am watching… she is so beautiful, in the way she flips her hair, how she listens, how she walks and stops and simply stare into space, smiling… it is total vanity… yet that is the truth, it is beautiful everywhere when it is beautiful in here.