When do you leave?. The question, when asked in English, has a broader meaning than the Italian: Quando parti?, which clearly refers to a trip, a travel, a rucksack which is being lifted on the shoulders to go to a railway station or an airport.
I think that Quando parti? (both in English and Italian) has been the question I have been asked the most after: How are you? Is this good? Is this bad? What does it mean?
I do not know why, but I thought about this yesterday, while wandering around the large mosque of Masjid Bandaraya (or City Mosque) here in Kota Kinabalu (in Eastern Malaysia). I enjoyed its silence. The large space that can accommodate up to 10.000 people. The view of the few people praying. Two friends talking to each other. A man sleeping on the carpeted floor. The noise of drops from the line of water taps taps in the room where the men wash their feet and hands before entering the prayers room. The soft wind blowing in gentle waves the white cotton fabric that defines the mysterious border of the area where women are allowed to pray. Hidden from other peoples eyes as it would be an unknown country where a different language is spoken.
All this gave me much peace inside. It reminded me of the same feeling in large cathedrals in the north of Europe, or the large mosque in Kuala Lumpur, or the great stupa of Boudnhat in Kathmandu. It also made me think that in order to feel that, it is necessary to travel, to leave, partire. Fill the rucksack, lift it on the shoulders, catch a plane and land in an unknown place and, inevitably, leave something behind.