The Reluctant Traveller – Part II


“The more i travel out, the more i travel within”

“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence

Picking up from where i left last time (Part 1)
The inconsequential stuff – interview ended, and i set off in the city i had always admired from far off.. Dreaming about a city of glitter and glamour, always moving, doing something big and monumental every second..
And what did i see?
A coexistence of the two ends of the spectrum – a city of blinding lights and a city of grime and slosh.
But this is not what i wish to elaborate in this post.
There is simply nothing that can help you understand yourself better than being alone somewhere. I realised it that day.
Wandering around in an alien city on my own, i could think of nothing except the simple joy of being alive, of the common threads that bind humanity, the language we all speak with our expressions, the ……………………………..
I reached a local railway station. Being absolutely new to the system, asked a lady all about it. Now, what i had experienced before was people telling you what you wanted to know, in the fewest possible words and then moving on to their work. But this lady!? She explained everything to me and then even came to show me where to buy my tickets from.

My elders had always told me to confirm stuff from atleast one other source. So i asked another person the same thing i had from the previous lady. Of course the info was same. But faux pas – the lady was walking right beside me and had heard all that i asked the second person! I was duly flabbergasted (wink wink). But surprise of surprises, she half-hugged me and said it’s a wise thing i’m doing. Her words, “haan inse bhi confirm kar lo. Achi baat hai.” My cheshire cat grin must have made it obvious to her what i was feeling.And then came the actual train journey!

I’ve travelled in trains innumerable times before. In sleeper classes of all kinds of tiers, in chair cars, in steam engine trains, but this was so different!

Firstly, all the silver color you would see in a compartment, the seats, the bars, the handles – it’s glam! And the real thing? Standing on the moving train holding just a bar and hanging out! Oh yeah! So filmy! Just what i had seen in the movies! Purrrrffffeeeecccccttttttttttt!!!

And gawd these mumbai women are so daring! They just don’t believe in resting! Unlike any other public transport, the occupancy starts near the compartment door! Only when there’s no place at all near the door do they reluctantly take the seats! Superb!

My idea was to squeeze in the best of Mumbai in the time i had. So i headed for Marine Drive.

Significance – a) it’s the most publicized place in the movies about the city.
b) i had never been near a sea.
c) it was near (and near the sea :P).

So i got off the train and after asking for directions, started walking in the direction of what i believed was the way to Marine Drive. The weather was beyond beautiful! Light drizzle, clouds prancing in the sky, strong wind (which, incidentally, led to severe permanent disability for my umbrella), a beautiful road on my right, nicely carved lampposts, my hair flowing in all directions…….bliss!

I continued walking. Enjoying myself thoroughly. And noticing out of the corner of my left eye the vast muddy ground stretching as far as my rain obstructed view could permit. Why on earth would a space-deprived place like Mumbai have such a vast wasteland, I remember thinking to myself.

A few steps further. There were people sitting on the boundary between the road and the wasteland looking toward it. What’s wrong with them, that’s my brain again!

And then, Oh my god! Is this the sea?! Haww! NO, REALLY!

Turns out the wasteland was actually the muddy sea! No wonder I couldn’t recognize it, I had never in my life seen a sea before. Such hyper idiocy can only be done by yours truly.

So, i started enjoying my view of the sea while walking walking walking…………….

Tell me i didn’t see this coming! Even this post has turned out to be big! Guess i’ll have to tell the rest of the story in another post!

© 2013 Ankita Kala

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