I somehow knew that every place has its personality. Prague somehow made it so clear. Our wavelength and frequency just rightly matched. We looked into each other’s eyes the first time and knew our heart beats were synchronizing, our breathing pattern rhymed and we understood each other and felt that age old feeling you have whenever you fall in love, “Feels like I know you for so long.”
I was always in a doubt whether I am a romantic or not. People who claim themselves as romance-lovers when talked about their wishes to die together or eat, breathe, walk, live and practically just stick together, I twitched my face in boredom. Sticking a phone to my ear and speaking of love in a mushy voice isn’t my thing either. When I compared myself I decided I was rather a bit cold and not a romantic at all.
Prague told me in a very Prague way, I was. This place doesn’t let you talk much, or proclaim lengthy promises and articulate desires. It just makes you wonder. It creates a magic spell on you when words fall short. All you would want to do if you sat by the river facing the fairyland castle in the evening to see the colours change before your eyes is to look for words–the appropriate words that could reveal all that you feel when you skipped your beats and gasped.
When I returned from the airport after I first hit the ground I met an old man. He smiled and came to sit beside me and talked. He talked about his life, his wife, his interests and places I should visit in Prague. Before he left the train at his stop he did a quick funny dance near the gate to make me laugh.
I was already feeling too welcomed after I got down from the train to look for the destination. A nice lady walked beside and asked if she could help with the direction. In this new place I walked my first steps with her amazed by the friendliness of the people in this land.
Not to mention, these were just the beginning hours. My thrill, adrenaline and irresistible love bursted out as I entered the restaurants there. The fairy godmother swung her wand at the menus and said, “Let there be the kind of food Aparajita particularly likes.” I was like a hungry dog salivating in each meal and chewed the morsel and licked as my tongue experienced multiple orgasms inside.
Goulash was my love at first taste there. It is a beef curry served with a bread like thing they call dumpling. The combination of the soaked dumpling bits in the gravy followed by a piece of the meat all being chewed together broke a hidden code inside my mouth and the door that opened with a click led to the pathway of ecstasy.
Goulash soup is just the gravy served inside a bread made like a container. Roasted duck is another delicacy. Pork knee is one more. Pork liver soup is balls made out of pork liver floating on the soup-top to be rescued. With all these new food to be tried out I was in my seventh heaven already.
To top it again, not only the food, the restaurants and the locations they were in were brilliant. In London if you pick a place with a nice view to add on, you got to take a deep breath and be ready to pay extra pounds for the air that you breathe in and the things that you see apart from the food that you swallow into your mouth.
In Prague even the nicest of the nicest locations didn’t really vary in the prices much. Along with the food I could soak in the atmosphere and keep all my senses occupied with pleasure. The boat restaurant at night that floated on the water with Jazz musicians performing live, with candles on the table-tops and lights on the bank of River Vltava shimmering on the water, bits of chicken and sips of Czech white wine entering the elementary canal calming and soothing my senses…what else were I born to do on this Earth?
One more place I loved was on the hill-top on the way to the castle. You could see the top view of Prague from there, sit amongst a grape vine and sip red wine. The weather was amazing that day and a ray of sun hit the glass to lighten the colour of wine from maroon to crimson. It penetrated the glass and casted a red reflection over the white table like an abstract painting on canvas. That glowing red colour so luring, tempting and throbbing with desire mixed with the evening sun and mild wind created one more magic moment I would always carry with me locked inside my memory cell from Prague.
During the day I went to see the very famous Astronomical clock strike in its hour and the performance and trumpets that followed after that. As the clock struck, the skeleton pulled the bell to remind us of our fixed duration on Earth which every hour got shorter. The figures above shook their heads “No” in denial to death and to embrace life. All I could think was this is so my type of metaphor and explanation. During my first year of design course I remember doing an assignment on “time” where I related death and clock in just so similar way. This is a kind of association that is so easy for me to relate and understand. Prague is my long lost friend. We have one soul that had got separated in the spin of lives and deaths sometime.
Oh and how I hate discipline and fixed identity and civil-perfection. I can never appreciate a typical something if it is not an experimental mixture in its own way in own style revealing its own nature. I like people who are not typical Hindus or Muslims or Christians, or typical Bengalis, Punjabis or Tamils. I like the type of person who is not typically an arrogant atheist but an atheist in quest of spiritualism, not a typical religious moron but a person who thinks and questions and thus becomes a unique mixture from all ages, all beliefs and all styles picking and adorning and changing along the journey with whatever comes.
Dear Prague, not that I know a lot about architecture but with whatever senses I can appreciate I admire you for the different styles you so proudly held to mix match your personality in each phase, in each era that made you so alive.
The last evening before I left Prague, I was like a mad boy in love, madly in loss before he departs and would kiss the face of his lover haphazardly anywhere. I wanted to soak in as much as I could and hold her till the last moment in my memory chord. I went on a long walk in Mala Strana—the narrow lantern lit lanes across the river. It was orange in the mild glow, quiet and magical. I sat by the river and watched the sunset cast spells on my eyes, I walked on the Charles Bridge while the seagulls were fluttering their wings till they were tired and returned home finally. I sat before the magical glow of the Church of our Lady in Old Town Square and felt I was in a Harry Potter world walking and living in my dream half awake and half aware.
The river was perfectly located with the perfect number of seagulls diving in and out and swirling around. The castle across the river was just in the right position in just the perfect location. The people walking by talked just in the perfect pitch as if humming a magic code in murmer. The light in the evenings was just the perfect amount to guide one to walk and yet lose track from reality and be hypnotized into a magic land.
I left a part of me with you wandering in those lanes when the lights go dim at night. In short, dear Prague, I loved you so much.