A Romance like none else

The day I landed at my attai’s place, I was greeted with the question “How was Paris? Was it really romantic? ”, by my dear cousin M, aged sixteen. Now if it had been any other city in question I would have dismissed it as part of the charm of being sixteen and the heady thoughts it brings along with it. I remember how I was at that age; “I am sixteen...” from Sound of music was my favorite then! But this was Paris, a city which is associated with romance by one and all. One always hears of a cousin who took off to Paris to celebrate her first anniversary, or how a friend found love atop Eiffel tower, and then there are some who dream of going to Paris for their honeymoon…the list is never ending. No one seems to escape it. Everyone wants a part of the dream. I used to wonder what was so excitingly different about Paris. I mean why didn’t people associate, say Rome or Salzburg with romance? I for one had always wanted to go to Switzerland for honeymooning, but I digress. So at the risk of sounding rhetorical, what’s romantic about Paris?

Our trip to Paris brought me face to face with the undeniable fact that it is indeed one of the most romantic places in the world, but try as I might; I am not able to put my finger at the one aspect that made it so. May be it was the glitter of lights reflecting along the waters of river seine as the boat cruise made its way past the louver, Notre dame and Eiffel lit up beautifully at night. I remember how insignificant the chill in the air and the resultant shivers became as the boat waddled along. By the time the cruise ended Paris was on already making her way into my soul.

The following morning, we landed at Disneyland. Though this might not have impressed the ones who have already seen the one in the US, it completely enchanted us. P and I, both being ardent Jack sparrow fans enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and related stuff most. I loved wriggling through the dark caves, narrow paths and finding the treasure chest. The Robinson Crusoe’s home atop the ancient huge tree also made a special impression on me. I think it was dusty and deserted feel of the whole place that struck a chord in me. The whole day was thus spent in beating the crowds to the rides and exploring all the wayside shops and restaurants. The highlight of the day was of course the “Once upon a dream parade” which I believe was made all the more special because Christmas was almost upon us. As the parade progressed we saw all our favorite characters come alive and dance under the beautifully decorated giant Christmas tree and it all ended late that evening with us leaving the premises with the memory of Santa Claus and the tune jingle bells on our lips. Though Disney land might not have contributed towards building the romantic angle it certainly did bring in a kind of bewitchment upon us.

When we made our way atop the Eiffel in the morning, the mist and my slightly miffed disposition (I wanted to do the same in the evening and watch the sun set over Paris) threatened to cause a blip in the what had seemed like a fairy tale so far, but it was averted by P’s endearing promise to do repeat the same in the evening .The Sun decided to break about just then and let us bask its warmth as we gazed at the city that has won so many hearts. The view was predictably beautiful but still fell short of what I saw the same evening; the sun fading out as the night set in. Paris started lighting up slowly and soon was a sea of glitter. Those few hours at the top, under the clear night sky dotted with million twinkling stars and the carpet of city lights way under us, were surely the high point of our trip. As P and I took in the picturesque setting I felt the past, present and future merge and melt away. I remember my blood thickening and my heart beating faster than usual, the rest is all a haze as I was too caught up in the moment, a moment which comes by only once in a life time. I knew then that I was firmly caught in the web of magic that the city weaves on almost all who have visited her.

When on one side Louvre shows you a glimpse of art and beauty that is wrapped under layers of history, Versailles takes you right there. Spread across miles and miles it can take you more than a day to fully cover it. The gardens are vast and architecture of the whole place is mind blowing. Though it is situated outside Paris I have to say it adds to the grandeur and splendor of Paris as most who visit Paris never miss Versailles.

Our last evening in Paris took us to a final walk along Champs Elysees. With Place de la Concorde on one end with its obelisk and Place Charles de Gaulle on the other it is known to be one of the most famous avenues in the world. At night the whole place comes alive. The crowds around you seem to fade away as you take in the view; A column of cars moving away from you resulting in a stream of red lights on one side of the road and a column of white head lights of the cars coming towards you, trees with tiny blue lights flank both sides of the road and glittering shop windows of the most famous brands in the world beckon you. Even as I lapped up all that I could that last evening there I did not realize that Paris would soon become a love of a life time, A love that I don’t actually understand. Granted that the city lights, the walk along river seine made me sigh but can that explain the images of romance that conjures up of the very mention of the city.

Today as I wrote this piece thinking I will try and explore that answer. Maybe the answer lies in the fact that Paris is an enigma. A mystery not many can solve, for how can a city filled with smelly corners, walls smeared with graffiti and rude and tight lipped French men cast a spell over us? Nevertheless she weaves her spell around us with her enchanting lights, rich history and beautiful iron lady along the river Seine. So even though most of us land in Paris in search of a dramatic setting for our love lives due to preconceived notions perpetuated by media, books, movies , friends and family, before we know it we are caught in her web and are in love with her for life; A love which will not age, for even though years and winds of change will leave a mark upon you and your relationship, any thought of romance and love will conjure up the unadulterated image of you with your loved one under the starry night in a city that shined so bright .


Arthi Ramaswamy said...

Hey.. i know am reading it quite late.. but ya .. the beauty of this romantic land is the best when u experience it .. and talk abt going for it on ur first anniversary.. :) i did too.. this is a lovely place on earth !!! the lights in Champs Elysees.. is the most amazing .. i stayed right there.. and anytime of the day .. its fun to walk .. i wis i could go there once more during summer.. winter ( in Dec) is a complet diff romance out there !;)

Dusty Fog said...

phenomenal writing. Guess you ought to take it up full time.and please do write more often. long enough break isn't it now?...: )

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