Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A Train Journey and Then Some

It’s been only the second time ever that I did a train journey alone. That’s saying a lot for someone who is as much of a vagabond as I have become. I don’t quite know what makes me avoid them, maybe it is the fear of getting my bags stolen; I sleep all too well when I am travelling. I love the romance of them trains, all that deal about chugging along and the rest of that jazz. But unless I travel with company, trains I avoid. Though this morning, a too short train journey happened from Bangalore to Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu from where I had to travel much further ahead.

Sufficiently hating mornings for coming by so early, I finally found and sat down on the side berth, comfortably stretching out my legs. Fighting to stay awake and not miss my station, I even downed a suspicious looking cup of coffee, found it way too sweet but not unbearably bad and even went on to have an early breakfast of really bad idlis. So much for railway food. (What is it about airline and railway food that they just have to make it so disgustingly bad?) So much for my now too healthy lifestyle, the timely meals, yoga and good food routine. Ugh! So much of a healthy thing is surely not good?! (Note to me: find something that can be passed off as a mild addiction, for the feel good factor)

So, the food and a little boredom after watching people prancing up and down constantly, I settled down and remembered the iPod that I had finally remembered to pack (I always leave it behind, always) I can never seem to organize the sequence of songs on it in the way I want it, so some random thing went on to play. I started to yawn so much that the jaws hurt. No, I mustn’t sleep and end up at a different station and have to trace my way back. Not that it would be a bad idea but this time was work. Moreover I am yet to reach that level of craziness. (I mentally heard ma sigh in relief just now at this. Really. I swear.)

So I gazed out and just behind a cropping of randomly shaped stone and boulders, the shapes of which reminded me of amoeba for some reason (that shapeless thing was the only one I could ever draw a little decently in biology), I saw the Eastern Ghats. Good glorious gorgeous hills. Love love love at the sight. I breathed and there was actually oxygen that went in! I forget what song was playing on the iPod, but I think it was different from the one in my head, both were good though. I took out a notepad which has the weirdest assortment of work and personal notes and began writing what I hoped would be a fiction story. But I realize that I have used a lot of those lines in this post and I am really not motivated enough to change either.

Well then I thought that this is how it was all meant to be. Farmers were out early, ploughing. There was a fast wind, a slight nip in it, if I cared to concentrate hard enough. There was speed and new sights every few seconds, villages and fields and people and animals and kids and hills. Common sights everywhere, but when you are travelling, I suppose, you see them with a more curious eye as well.

Then there was music. And writing. Life, I am sure, was meant to be this way, the way it was originally designed. I thought a sigh that slipped by me was one of contentment, got scared and told myself it wasn’t. Contentment of that sort would be the end of the restless, the end of discoveries and the creative. Not something I would ever wish upon anyone.

I glimpsed a different pace of life that is fast becoming a routine, allowed myself a smile and continued my journey. And here I am, sitting in a simple room, fighting off all kinds of insects that are slipping in from the hills and the fields and tall trees all around me. I left the door open to peer into the darkness and try to trace the shapes of the glorious hills now and then, but a large grasshopper came in, hit the fan and broke a wing. A cat came in to eat the insects.

But then I had to work and devote a little less time to chasing them away and following their flight around. I shut the door. Through the little holes in the window screen, the breeze continues to waft in. And the hills never cease enticing me to meet their eyes again. And again.

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