I was in Paris. Luggage full of necessities, head full of imagination and heart full of hopes that I would finally find what (I thought) was missing from my life: Love. Where better to seek for it than in the very city known for its romantic ambience? Lover or no lover, I was fixated with the idea that being in the City of Love itself will somehow be emotionally fulfilling. In one of the alleys of Champs Elysees overlooking the iconic Arc De Triomphe, I found myself pondering upon my life decisions. There I was seated in a cafe, staring intently at my typical Parisian breakfast – the Croissant. I had done everything right, I then knew Paris like the back of my hand.. Yet.. The emptiness prevailed. For something so hollow, it took up the most room in my heart. Perhaps, I was missing a soft background tune?

I was in Florence. Armed with my excitement and lust for adventure.. I found myself in an arcade occupied by stores selling Italy’s finest and genuine leather goods. As an Italian food enthusiast, being in Florence was supposed to evoke felicity. “One scoop of Pistachio and one scoop of Coffee please.” I heard myself say. Strolling around the quaint little town, passing the Ponte Vecchio, into one of the famous gardens… I was supposed to be in a state of bliss. Why was I not? I was indulging in one of the world’s divine delicacies in the most laid-back environment…

Yet again, the emptiness persists.

I was in London. Seated in the top deck of a double decker, the prominent billboards of Piccadilly Circus stretched out in front of me… I had the best seat and the best view. “The next stop is Selfridges.” announced the speakers. It was the peak of festive sales and I was immersing myself amid the busy shoppers. The hustle bustle of the scene did not provoke the claustrophobe in me, instead it invoked euphoriashort-lived though. I spoiled myself with gifts thinking that I probably did not pamper myself enough. Lo and behold… The sunken feeling grew deeper.

Was it a bottomless pit?

I was back in my motherland. I was surrounded by those who loved me. What then? I was overwhelmed with fatigue; I had had my passport tattooed with international stamps; my phone gallery was then the sole witness to these invaluable experiences and my blistered feet as the physical evidence. But the gaping void was still seeking fulfilment. I was in my house, but I wasn’t really home.

I was in the comfort of my own room on my bed, browsing through pictures, snacking on Belgian chocolates. Despite being half-way through the box, I was still hungry. I was not hungry for more food, but I was hungry for something intangible.

It was blue, it was worn out and it was right next to my bed – it was my neglected prayer mat.

The moment I rested my forehead on the ground and submitted myself completely, I finally found what I was looking for. Tranquility.

When was the last time I felt peaceful? I had been too busy making memories, chasing emotional fulfilment to no avail when the answer I had been searching for was right in front of my eyes. Finally, I was home.