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It was a chilly and rain-soaked evening in Cappadocia, Turkey - the same day that we had checked in to our hotel. Not having much to explore in the neighborhood, we decided to stay indoors instead. The idea of signing up for the Turkish Cultural night suddenly dawned upon us. Not too far from where we were putting up, we arrived at the venue after a short cab ride.


While walking down the hallway, I could hear the indistinct sound of people talking and giggling inside - the room where the performance was supposed to take place within the next hour or so. An open space with sitting areas seamlessly arranged, keeping the center area empty for the performers. Tables were laid with great care too! From a distance, I could see plates filled with local appetizers and drinks on the other side. Looking around the room, I noticed people from all parts of the world. While they were not familiar faces, there was still this sense of comfort knowing that I wasn't the only foreigner in the room.


Lights were dimmed momentarily, and the announcement was made in style just before the performance began. There came the 'glowing' performer! What a treat to the eyes that was! 

Cappadocia, Turkey
Hajia Sophia, Istanbul


Back in February 2020, with the news of people contracting Covid-19 across the globe doing its rounds, it meant we needed to pull up our sleeves and show that we were prepared enough for our upcoming trip to Turkey. It came with its perils, nevertheless. 

One of our first touristy stops in Istanbul was the grand Hagia Sophia or Aya Sophia that stands right in the heart of the city, and the tall minarets are almost always visible from a distance. We were skeptical of moving inside a crowded place filled with locals and foreign nationals. But we had traveled all that distance! Not going in wasn't an option. 

Much to our surprise, this place wasn't all that congested and people were maintaining social distance in every corner. The strategy was to keep moving around and not let the crowd get to us. At one point, we even moved to the second level for a better view of the gallery below and to be able to stay as far away as possible from the others. I couldn't stop myself but simply marvel at the architecture and let my mind wander away thinking about the rich history behind it.  


Thriving and dreaming big - that's what my mantra has always been! You can start small and work on your dreams as you move along. I find others' success stories fascinating; I find their struggles relatable; I draw inspiration from their successes and struggles. That's what puts me a step closer to achieving my goals in the end. 

At the same time, it shatters my heart into pieces when I see someone's been caged up or kept aside from the other meaningful experiences. I question myself - why can't he dream like anyone else? When I see someone's deprivation from living his life or achieving greater goals, it makes my soul cringe. 

Walking back from our quick visit to the Galata Tower, Istanbul, I found him on the cobbled pathway that afternoon. It wasn't warm outside but staring blank at him as he paced himself for an uphill walk made my eyes tear up briefly. He was tired from his day job; he wanted to look beyond those empty lanes and where people had places to park their vehicles; he wanted to look straight at the Bosphorus - he wanted to stop for a while and dream. 


Wish I could find out more about him that afternoon; wish I could tell him that it's okay to dream without the fear of failing. But I couldn't.

Galata Tower, Istanbul
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