Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Istanbul Waning

I don’t like quiet mornings in empty places.

Dusk is my favourite time of day; the light is different then, special. Dusk captures the essence of Istanbul- its temper, its force, its raw sense of life. The light bleeds then like spilling gooseberry juice, and as the air cools the city sighs.

I was on a ferry a few evenings ago, doing the cross-continental hop between Beşiktaş and Kadıköy. There’s something wonderful and slightly terrifying about being stuck in a vessel in the middle of a darkening sea with 500 strangers who just happen to be sharing the same linoleum with you.

Often the strangers are the most interesting part and I love to observe those few minutes of their lives; to watch the graceful tea sellers doling out steaming çay to sleepy commuters and to try to spot a real newspaper in between the comic strips and sports pages.

As the ferry edges closer to the dock, most get up, too quick to crowd and form a panicky queue. But a few stay behind: the old, the bored and the melancholic, stepping slowly onto the plank and taking a last look at the lemon light before resuming life outside the ferry.