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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Midnight in Paris

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A river cruise on the Seine was the perfect way to be charmed in the city of romance


It was almost midnight as we boarded the river cruise. There was a mild chill in the spring air. The night was mostly clear with a few wandering specks of clouds here and there, and the moon perched high up.

As the boat set sail, she rested her head on my shoulder and whispered, “This is it, we are in Paris”. Indeed, many years ago when we were two smitten lovers with not much to claim other than a handful of dreams, we often used to picture ourselves walking through the streets of Paris someday.
And now, here we were, as life partners (and parents of a gorgeous seven-year-old boy), sitting hand in hand on a midnight river cruise through the heart of Paris, a city that has forever remained synonymous with all that is glamorous and dazzling in the modern world. It’s a haven for those seeking a refuge from the mundane, and an indulgence for the ones who cherish a romance (like us). Paris, as we experienced it that night under a soothing moonshine, was breathtakingly wondrous.
There was an irresistible dazzle to the city as we meandered along the famed Seine River. The city looked ornate, like the words of a timeless love ballad dripped in a runic fetish. The night played the perfect seductress too, with a breeze light enough to quaver our hair every now and then.
In the midst of this entire spellbinding pageant sat the two of us, riddled with goose bumps, as we tried to take in every bit of Paris. A lit up Eiffel Tower glittered steadily in the background as we rode a sleepy Seine.
Minutes into our hour-long cruise, the clock struck 12 and the iconic Eiffel lifted its prowess a notch higher as it broke into a shimmering display of milky white lights. It was a moment to behold, a surreal trance of sorts that renders you incapable of drawing in a breath. A moment that overwhelms you to the core, yet you don’t choose to resist it for you want to have more of it – and that’s what we both did. We put away the cameras and let the city enthral us with its magic, as we tried to hold on to every sight that met our eyes.
The entire city towers around you with its ambience and architecture, as if to distract you away from all that is less than perfect about life and this world. The boat gently sailed under a series of bridges that were breathtakingly glorious in design and aspect – every single one of them. Along the banks of Seine, on each side, we were treated to opulence and grandeur in every building that we looked at.
There were palaces, cathedrals and museums, all doused in lights that added to their poise and enigma. We went past city gates and structures that were erected by the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte and suddenly every inch of our skin was full of goose bumps, yet again. The architecture all around you in Paris is overwhelmingly grandiose, yet contrastingly tranquil.
Then, if at any moment you chose to look away, you couldn’t escape the views as Paris chose to shine through the shivering waves created by the irreverent rudders of our boat. “Can’t we shackle time and make it stand still in this moment,” she said in my ear. I had no response, for words escaped me. So, I held on to her hand and pressed on it gently, in agreement.
Thirty minutes into the cruise, the boat turned around and started making its way back. It was well past midnight now, but sleep escaped us both. As we headed back, the Eiffel loomed tall, like a beacon. The half-moon sat stubbornly to its right and a pack of stray clouds floated in its vicinity. Paris, and Parisians, would have been in deep slumber that moment, but here we were, a bunch of dreamers, treading unapologetically through this city of love and dreams.
Then as the captain manoeuvred the boat to its anchor point, we stood up and looked around one last time. I held her in my arms and together we held back our breath as we gulped in a last snippet of Paris. We left the cruise after an hour that night. Yet, it lingers on, spraying us with memories of that magical night every time we sit together and reminisce about our holiday.
Not everything about Paris was glorious and enchanting, but for an hour that night, it was flawless.

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Sanam Sharma
A typical middle class guy who is abundantly opinionated, moderately flawed, and adequately grounded

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