And yes I am missing Melbourne like a lover, the kind of missing that creates an ache right next to your heart, and all you want to do is fly back, wrap yourself in that unfamiliar drizzle, search out the gravity pulling you back and let it hold you inside its Soul, like a secret, like an old love story. (At Changi Airport, 4th August ’13)
Since August last year, I’ve always thought of Melbourne with a wishful sigh. My four days of wintry whirlwind didn’t quench my thirst – it left me wanting more. When I sat at the airport watching an infant sun run her tongue on the metal aircrafts, my throat burnt. I wanted to run back into the speckled shadowy arms of the Victorian buildings under the sweet smelling star-lit shawl of the Yarra. I discovered the city on the my last night, a little tipsy from all the wine at my first tasting at the Yarra –
With a map in hand, I had started walking down Exhibition Street in the blooming twilight. Flinders Street was gorgeously lit. I remembered the previous night, the glitzy South Bank, dinner with my friend Kerryn at Guiseppe Anoldi & Sons, the fiery heat of the fireballs lighting up the chill that clawed down to my bones. Tattooed trams whizzed home and away.I found my way past the Yarra, over the lovely Queen’s bridge and to the Eureka Towers. The view from the The Edge was mesmerizing. I remember sitting quietly, staring out at the pulsating city below, traffic moving in dots and dashes, trains pulling in and out of the station.
“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”
Later I found myself listening to the mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Something fragile in me wanted to cry.
Most of the other three days were spent travelling. The Great Ocean Road was a symphony in azure. I do not know how else must I describe it. The impossibly blue Antarctic beating against stretches of unexplored beaches, against walls of rocky mountains. The twelve apostles in all their regalia, a rain-lashed ocean and cold grey skies – not the conventional photographer’s choice you might say, but art nonetheless. Lorne with her restless rainbows arching up at leisure, yellow combed cockatoos dotting acres of grasslands, the Doug Stirling trail that snakes along the ocean. And the shimmery sunrise from the pier. I walked down desolate streets, past fences borne down with wild roses. I walked along the boulevard, past shut boutiques reflecting my sparkling eyes. Everything was bathed in the scent of fresh coffee mingled with eucalyptus-essence and sea-salt.
And ofcourse, Yarra Valley! It was winter and the vines were gnarled. Fuzzy yellow wattle heads were just beginning to show. A beautiful old lady from Tasmania told me, “You must come here in all seasons to know how truly magical the Yarra Valley is!” It got me thinking of clusters of grapes, the pink sakura, peaches and pears and apples and set me longing painfully. Even the stillness was so perfect.
I want to return. In summer. When the city is throbbing with life. In spring. When the flowers are battling in millions of beauty pageants. In autumn. When the russet of leaves line the sidewalks like a page from a crumpled poem. I want to explore the by-lanes and alleys of Melbourne, discover her chic and quirky street art. I want to unravel her carefully preserved secrets. I want to taste the aura of her cafe-lined streetscapes- with the sun in my hair, and pink lemonade on my tongue. I want to sit at the Arts Centre and pen letters to every person I have loved and to every person who has loved me. I want to experience the bustle of the colourful Queen Victoria Market. I want to lose myself in the charming suburbs of Fitzroy/Collingwood and gape at the buildings that grace Carlton with its Italian vibe. I want to lie under a burning sun at the St.Kilda beach, laugh like a 10-year old at Luna Park and go squint-eyed at wonder at the aquarium. I want to lie under the southern stars on the verdant parklands, recite an ode for every constellation I can name. I want to ride in a hot air balloon at dawn, watch the city rubbing her sleepy eyes in the red-gold glow. I want to watch Federer play at the Rod Laver arena. I want to see the penguins at Philip Island. I want to see the sun rise from behind dollops of creamy clouds at Mornington. I want to see the Twelve Apostles standing tall in a sun ravished sapphire sea.
This list might be breathlessly long. But more than everything, I want to hear Melbourne telling me that she loves me too. I want to feel the warmth of her breaths deep under my skin.
When you ask me my reasons for falling in love with the world’s most liveable city, I lead you out in the moonshine and in a whisper tell you to listen to my heart. I promise you will know how certain cities are absolute poetry.
This post has been published for the Indiblogger “What’s your reason for falling in love with Melbourne, the most livable city in the world?” contest in association with Tourism Victoria.
Watch Tanmay & Rohan in the worlds’s greatest street art capital:
Official link: Tourism Victoria
Answer a simple question “Which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why?” on my blog and the best answer wins an INR 500 shopping voucher!
Deadline: January 4th, 2015, 11:59 IST