The Nomad

A few years ago, some time in the year 2019, I was waiting at the baggage carousel at the Chennai airport and it was taking longer than usual. I had some time on my own with my infant, so I chose to sit on one of those steel benches. Suddenly, I saw this woman on one of the benches and I don’t why, I was completely awestruck.

She looked like she’s been a traveller since years. She had a large rucksack bag around her and it looked like she had her home in this bag. Her shawl, a few tiniest toys, her trinkets and a few more accessories told me she’d been to mountains and beaches and whatnot. Every piece around her stood out for its simplicity.

The utensils she used, her water bottle, flask, small snack boxes—all told me that she’s been carrying her food all the while. Dependent on none. There was no stress on her. In fact, she was absolutely calm. Did she have her tickets? Didn’t she have a PR team to promote her travels? How was she so composed? Are travellers supposed to be this humble? It was like she had everything with her. Her heart looked full.

She was reading a book. She had a tiny, basic phone that could just make calls and send texts. She was wearing the most basic clothes (but damn comfy) and a basic watch. It was like I was learning a lesson by just looking at her. She did have a journal and a pencil with it, but nothing beyond that. No social media pages, no to-do lists, no showing off from her travels, no nothing. It seemed, to me, that her travels have made her rich in true sense. Her experiences made her kind and truly fulfilled her heart. Did she ever feel the need to reach out to hundreds of likes on social media? Why didn’t she? I could feel a shiver down my bone and felt a bit of shame. A real nomad, she was a story I will never forget.