Monday, September 15, 2014

Couldn't have said it better...

“My sense of abandon has increased. I’ve let go of a lot. I’ve become easier, indifferent to things I was giving too much importance to, some people in my life mainly. I feel like I’ve cleaned a lot of my clutter and unfortunately most of them were people. One thing I can say with a lot of assurance and confidence and something I solidly believe in is - if you lose me in your life, it’s your loss because I’m all about the people I know, I’m all about the relationships I’ve been in. I have given and will always give the people I love the world on a silver platter. So all the people who have forced me to let go of them, I believe it’s their loss and that’s the only thing I will say with arrogance. I will never speak about my career or my personal space or my professional ethos but the one thing I can say with arrogance is that if you lose me you lost a huge amount of something concrete in your life. That being said, I can never lose respect for those who have impacted my life, because I’m not an easy man to befriend so my loyalty will always stand with friends new and those I have lost from a distance.” - George clooney

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chapter 8: Humanity

"I needed to escape so I traveled to Minori, the only place that was familiar to me. Minori was one of those towns where old world charm defied the future. It was divine and romantic with scattered shades of reality like one of Blake's paintings. It is a place you have to see to believe. I went there for silence and to find peace in my soul but I came back with something more.

As I walked the town's narrow cobblestone roads, I met a homeless man. His name was Carlo. Carlo was a free spirit. He traveled the world sleeping on sidewalks and documenting his journey, trying to find his place in this world. He started his journey at age 30 and now at 65 years old, he made it to Italy. He made his epic journey possible by playing for change and selling portraits of people. He also worked as dishwasher on weekends so he could get free food from restaurants. He had it all figured out. What intrigued me about him though, was his confidence and the fact that feared almost nothing. He had been to prison more times than he could remember, he made a home for himself on the sidewalk undeterred by passers by and he hadn't showered in 3 months.

Carlo's lifestyle was something I wasn't familiar with, so I asked him why he chose to do what he did and he explained to me that he had tasted success as a musician and as a restaurant owner, and though success was sweeter than he imagined it left him with a bitter aftertaste. You see, Carlo made himself successful so he could take care of his family but he lost his wife 5 years into their marriage. The loss of someone he cared deeply about set him into depression and that's why he gave it all up, because at that moment he lost the meaning to his life. Then I asked him why he slept on the sidewalk, why not just rent a room and he told me its because he believes his wife is watching over him, and when he sleeps under the stars he feels closer to her. Needless to say, I was speechless. After nearly 3 hours of sitting beside him, listening to his stories my faith in humanity was almost restored.

I was so enamoured by Carlo's stories, I couldn't let him sleep alone on the street. Being the stubborn man that I am, I forced him to join me for dinner. After dinner, I took Carlo back to the Villa where I was staying, and I made him a bed in the balcony so he could still have the view of the stars but more importantly so that he could shower!

After he showered we sat down to talk, I told him he was welcome to stay here anytime and that I wasn't doing him any favours or charity, to me this was the start of a beautiful friendship. A deep and a dark one, just the way I like it. This prompted Carlo to ask about me, the medals and some of accolades and pictures on the walls left him wondering who I was and what I was doing in Minori. He asked about my life and what I did and all I could give him was vague answers that didn't amount to anything, I couldn't give him the answers he wanted because I never existed then. I told  him I was a ghost and just as I expected the next day he left, without saying goodbye, without saying anything.

The first thing they teach you is that you can't have relationships, you can't get close to anyone and I have learnt this time and time again. When people give they expect in return, that is how trust is built. I was told I am hard to trust because I never open up. I've often wondered how true this is, and i will leave you with this thought. If I thought the same way as most people do, I would have ignored Carlo when I saw him on the street. People are extraordinary and sometimes you must take that leap of faith in order to unlock their story, even though it might seem impossible."

Side note: I know the ALS Ice bucket challenge is a big thing at the moment but before you donate do your research. Only a very small percentage of your donations go to research, most of the money is spent in marketing and other expenses. If you want to donate to a good cause, I suggest donating to the Being Human Foundation. Unlike most charities the Being Human Foundation doesn't ask for monetary donations, instead they encourage volunteering and other forms of social charity. I've supported this charity right from the start and I can vouch that it is legit.

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