Beijing through the madness was what I wrote two years back. Madness it was again, to land at 5PM China time and then not knowing how to reach Zhengzhou, which is the capital of Henan. Strangers again it was who offered to help, on the start of this little journey of five months. I remember standing at Beijing's West train station. Lights in front. A mass of people who move through its huge iron gates. Waiting for tickets. Waiting for the next step.

The stranger, a Chinese friend's friend was desperately trying to arrange tickets. I sigh and wish that I could have known the language. Wish that I could have planned it better. Wish all the little ifs that we wish for when things don't go quite as we intended on a journey. And I turn to my right, and peeping through the pillars, through the inky black of the night was the full moon. I looked at it then, it somehow seemed bigger, almost ready to just leap onto the ground.

At that point I realised - that this was the whole point. That the purpose of this journey is not to wish but to have. That it is not important to travel as much as it is important to be able to leave the time to gaze at the moon, to wander with the stars no matter where we are. Was it any wonder then after that we get two bus tickets that land us in Zhengzhou on Monday morning?

Perhaps, it is also no wonder that I could see the sun rise over paddy fields on the same morning.


Beijing through the madness two years back
is online here: The chaos settling into the calm


words: Smitha Murthy, India (China 2004)
photo: Dorothee Lang, Germany (oil on copper)

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