The trouble with magic, I was telling a friend, is that people look for it extensively at great personal cost. Magic in their lives, magic at work, in love. Magic, that extraordinary word, is responsible for the good and the above average not coming through, because people wait for the exceptional, the one that makes hearts explode with an inexplicable happiness. But then there is only one Brian Lara, a single Sachin Tendulkar; magic is scarce. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be magic.
Looking for magic is a bit like looking for romance in travels. Not romantic love, but the romantic notions of travel. Both – looking for magic and traveling – set out into new territory seeking magic, but it is the traveler who is more likely to understand first that magic is occasional and that there is little sense in waiting for it. The journey itself is so tiring, and the experiences so varied, that he is resigned to the fact that magic may not come along, but regardless of this the travel must continue because of everything else it provides.
I haven’t traveled much but the mention of a journey has, for the longest time, set off the imaginative machinery in my head. The romance of travel existed only when the travels were imaginary, the magic existed only because I created it. When the time arrived to physically do it, the endless packing, moving, seeking, avoiding, refusing, catching, clutching, listening, talking, there were only traces of magic, but the experience left me richer, as if perseverance was rewarded with a country revealing itself to me. The more I dug, the more it would give me. Skimming the surface and waiting for the romance of far-off places meant ignoring what lay beneath. Romance didn’t stand a chance.
Magic is no doubt seductive. It whispers in an ear and disappears and, in an instant, you know what the world could be like for you. But reality, I think, though lacking daily magic, has something potent too. It offers experience and learning with no pretensions or deceptions. Life, as it is, is provided as proof that there is more to life than simply magic.