How not to book your International Flight Tickets – The Shock therapy

Part – I

Part – II

Despite the heavy rains outside, somehow it was just me in the whole airport who had been so visibly affected by it. After having relieved my bladder and changed my clothes at the washroom, I engaged in yet another interesting conversation with the attendant inside. She told me how people often carried more than 100 mL fluid material in their hand baggage and how painful it was to discard them after the security check. “Such a shame,”she said, “All that expensive Facewash, lotion and perfumes. We can’t use them. We just have to throw them away.”

In the middle of this conversation, I forgot to pay attention to an announcement that was going to change my life. “Dear travelers, we regret to inform you that one of the planes has skidded on the runaway while trying to take off because of which all flights have been temporarily suspended.”

I heard the announcement but stupidly ignored the implication of what had just been said. Meanwhile, my sister finally managed to arrive at the airport. Due to my impulsive decision (blame my bladder) to enter into the airport I was not able to chat with her for long at the gate. Instead we had to talk over the phone while looking at each other through the glass wall. How tragically romantic. After a series of brief instructions, wishes of good luck and selfies, we bid each other adieu only to meet again later the very same night.

Now I was standing in the queue for check in. However, the queue wasn’t moving anymore because they had stopped taking luggage til the issue at the runaway got resolved. Remember the announcement before? I was finally realizing what it actually meant. Minutes turned to hours, and I was still standing at the same spot in the queue chatting with another fellow passenger – both of us clueless about what we should be doing. And it was then another announcement was made – My flight had been cancelled.

The whole ordeal I had taken to come to the Airport played in front of my eyes in sepia. I waited for the announcement to be made again, hoping I hadn’t heard it right the first time. But I had. Wow. At least, I had prevented myself from a being a no-show. Little did I know that that wouldn’t matter after all. I broke away from the queue only to get into another one. My feet hurt. My head spun. After two hours of waiting, I got my flight rescheduled for the next night. I called my sister and narrated the whole story to her. It was decided that I should return and spend the night in her hotel room. I booked a cab, waited even for that for an hour but finally met my sister again and fell asleep soon after.

Me and my sister spent the next day at our hotel room looking at the clouds through the window and praying it wouldn’t rain hard. Our prayers were answered. It wasn’t the sky’s turn to weep anyway. I returned to the airport at night thinking I would be leaving the country in a couple of hours.

I didn’t.

Deja Vu. I had stood in that check in queue before. But this time at least it was moving forward. I arrived at the fork of the queue (I hate it when it has that) and I started competing with the an old couple for who gets into the main queue first. I won. And then I abandoned it entirely later.

Behold the biggest shock of my life – Imagine this; You have a booked ticket to relatively unknown place in England. Since it’s not a very popular destination, there are no direct flights to this place. So your flight takes you to there via different places in different European countries – let’s say, Paris and Amsterdam. You are happy thinking how you are going to get a brief glance of the airports of these two beautiful cities. But here’s the catch – it’s kinda cute that you are dreamy but unfortunately, you are also stupid. Though you have paid a relatively high fare to reach directly to your “dream” city, you haven’t bothered to check if you require any transit visa for travelling from one Schengen country to another. It’s normal to assume that since you are not going to leave the airport you won’t require any transit Visa at all. However, when you assume you make an ass out of your own self. So you are in the International Airport now, all queued up and then an officer comes up to you, asks you to show your ticket and Visa. You do, confidently. “No, you can’t travel on this,” You hear the dude say. “You require a transit Visa for flying from Paris to Amsterdam.” After a few pleas of “Officer, Can nothing be done now?” and repeatedly hearing the word, “No” you decide to cancel your whole ticket and then later you find out that it can’t be refunded and also all tickets directly going to England are overbooked.

What a night. I spent it all arguing with my travel agent (Makemytrip), Jet airways and Air France. Instead of me losing my temper at them, it was them who lost their temper at me. The guy at Air France customer care was exceptionally hilarious. The only people who treated me with certain amount of sympathy were the ones who had screwed me the hardest in the first place – My travel agent. I asked them to book another flight. They did for the next night. So I had to spend double the money on the new flight and I was not getting any refund on the previous ticket. But the story gets better. My sister had already left Mumbai. So I had nowhere to go. I was so embarrassed and frustrated by the whole situation that I was kind of glad that she wasn’t there. I decided to tell no one and I put my phone on flight mode. Yeah, stupid decision. But haven’t I made it specifically clear by now how stupid I am?

Long hours of waiting awaited me. I took my baggage trolley to the seating area. I spent half of the night weeping and half of it trying to sleep with my head on the trolley and rest of my body adjusted in a single seating chair. I was hungry but I didn’t eat. I was thirsty but I didn’t care. I tried to calm down. I tried telling myself everything was going to be okay. But I really wasn’t sure about the authenticity of that statement. I knew talking to my family would have helped me but I didn’t want anyone else to be worried. So, I sat on that chair with my stupid secret that really didn’t have to be a secret and somewhere in early morning, I fell asleep. After two hours of a painful and uncomfortable nap, I woke up to the gloomiest day ever.

*

Part – III

Part – IV

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How not to book your International Flight Tickets – The Beginning

Part – I

The two months that I had stayed in my home thinking I would be reading, writing and even perhaps learning how to play Piano had ended. I hadn’t read. I hadn’t written. I had forgotten whatever I learnt about playing Piano. I had spent my youth and my old age waiting in Bank and begging them to take my request for Education loan on priority. I had circled around the court for gathering weird documents for this loan, I had printed all sorts of stuff for my VISA application and then I had spent rest of the days compiling them as per VISA guidelines. And whatever time that was left after all this, I had spent it on “trying to learn” how to cook and bitching about State Bank of India to literally every person I could.

But all that struggle had finally come to an end. My loan had been approved, tuition fees had been paid, I had received my VISA, I had packed my bags and now I was ready to leave.The train to Mumbai was going to depart at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. I had woke up early despite staying up late, bathed, ate and now I was sitting restlessly with my eyes fixated on the minute hand of the clock and butterflies fluttering inside my stomach. The adventure was about to begin. In five hours, I would be in Mumbai. In twenty hours I would be in Norwich – my current city of dreams. Odd – I know – not everybody is aware of this city’s existence, certainly I wasn’t till a couple of months ago. But there I was, dreaming of boarding the flight to the smallest city I would ever live in. I called the cab, one of the last times I would be using Uber and I excitedly hopped into the taxi bidding adieu to my mother.

Day one of my nightmare had officially commenced. But I had no idea it was a nightmare at all.

The cab dropped me at the Railway station. I excitedly strode to the Platform with my “Norwich dreams” only to find that my train was delayed by five hours. This was the first indication of how things were going to go horribly wrong down the road but though I acknowledged that it wasn’t a good sign but I merely deemed it as a minor setback. I had booked tickets with good time margin between them. So the delay didn’t bother me much. At least till the next hour. Then doubts began to spring in my head like weeds in a garden. I made the judgement call. I decided to take the bus instead. For the first time in my life, I used the station’s wifi and searched for the earliest bus cursing Indian Railways under my breath. Fortunately, I did find a bus that was about to leave in twenty minutes. Hurriedly, I made a dash for the Exit. I paid the Autorickshaw driver three times higher than the regular fare to reach the bus stop, booked the bus with three times higher fare than the train’s ticket price and unknowingly stepped further into the dreadful adventure. I boarded the sleeper bus, fell asleep with my shoes on, only to be awakened by the conductor asking me to take them off and shift to the upper seat. Though a bit irritated, I obediently did what he asked me to do and stared outside as the first few drops of rain hit the window. I had heard the news that it was raining hard in Mumbai – first from a fellow passenger and then from my sister who was already in Mumbai since the previous day – a visit planned to see me before I fly to Norwich. I hoped for the best and took another small nap.

My phone, one of the last few times my Indian number shall be used, rang. It was my sister again. “It’s raining really hard here.” she said. “Even I am stuck in traffic. Where are you?”

“Somewhere in the highway.” I replied.

“Okay, turn your live location on.”

“I have run out of my net pack.” Because who needs it when you are supposed to leave the country in about six hours?

“I will get it recharged,” she replied.

I could sense higher level of adrenaline in my blood but there was nothing I could do but wait. And waiting is all I did for the next three days but of course I didn’t know that yet. What I did know was Mumbai rains were going to fuck me over. And that they did. Soon the roads turned into shallow rivers and traffic began to drift excruciatingly slowly. Panic? Yeah, I was drenched completely in it. But the movie had just started. My sister was calling me pretty frequently now. We were both wondering how I was going to reach Airport at all. Luckily, the bus conductor came to my rescue. “Where do you want to get off ?” He asked. “Nearest place to the International Airport.”

“Well, it’s going to be troublesome.” You think so?

But the bus conductor turned out to be much more helpful than I expected. I spent a considerable amount of time talking to him and the driver when I sat next to the driver seat discussing Mumbai rains, occasional “risks” of helping people (especially a woman – Well I would rather not comment), about Conductor’s brother working abroad and finally about my plans of studying in England. The driver asked me how English currency looked like. After a moment of hesitation, I handed him a twenty pound note out of my wallet. He glanced at it in fascination and to my secret sigh of relief returned it to me. We had reached as near as we could to the airport. I had to get off now. Since I didn’t have any umbrella, the conductor walked me over to the back of the bus holding his umbrella over both of us. He took my luggage out of the storage and again walked me over to the nearest bus stop. I was walking barefoot with my shoes dangling over my neck. The rain was pouring down hard. Five minutes outside the bus and I was already wet. The conductor left me after giving me rough instructions for how to reach the Airport which I didn’t quite understand. All I did understand was that I needed to cross the road to get a Taxi. While walking towards the Skywalk that led to the opposite side of the road, I had the best stroll of my life with the clouds showering their brutality over me for no reason whatsoever (How dare you try to go to England, you stupid dumbfuck!), with my blurry vision (How dare you wear specs while it’s raining, you stupid dumbfuck!), my heavy luggage (How dare you carry so much while travelling to another country, you stupid dumbfuck!) and my wet clothes (How dare you wear clothes that get wet at all, you stupid dumbfuck!).

I was struggling hard to carry my bag upstairs in the Sky-walk. My plight must have been visible all over my face. It was then that I met my heroes. I almost choked on my mental tears of gratitude for them when they helped me with my luggage, first by carrying it up the stairs and then down. However, my troubles didn’t end there. I still had to get a taxi to the airport. And finding one had been the hardest thing I ever did in my life. Maybe after the loan. And after Engineering. And my job. By the time I had crossed the road through the foot over-bridge – I was already wet to the bone and so were my bags. I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to get a cab. I walked up to the middle of the road multiple times leaving my bag into the supervision of a random person, hoping that it wouldn’t get stolen. Nobody stole anything and I finally found a taxi but I paid extraordinarily high fare to the cab driver. I reached the airport – my one and only ultimate goal of my life then. My heart uttered some really creative curse words for the Mumbai rains and the city’s horrendous drainage system but at the same time it brimmed with gratitude for Mumbai people; for all those kind strangers who had helped me. I had been so absorbed in this entire struggle that I didn’t realize that my bladder was very close to a rather embarrassing explosion. I hurriedly entered inside the airport. Duped by the perpetual lost expression on my face, one of the Attendants approached me and asked, “Are you looking for something?”

“Yeah, Washroom.” I said. The same washroom that I was going to use for the coming three days.

*

Part – II

Part – III

Part – IV

How’s life in England?

“So, how’s life in England?” My phone notifies me of yet another text bearing the same question I’ve heard daily since the past two months. And I am left wondering, yet again, how the hell do I answer this?

How’s life in England? Each day, I wake up with a slight hangover because somehow I have developed a habit of mistaking beer for water. The morning begins with me brewing a tasteless tea and slicing an apple, often along with my fingers. Then I connect my phone to the speakers as I eat my so-called breakfast and start preparing my lunch. Two months back, cooking was my least favorite task and now it is my top choice for procrastination. I chop vegetables while dancing to some 2000s rock. I still don’t know how I manage to pull that off. The day progresses as I finish cooking my lunch which is almost never completely consumed by me. I leave some curry for my flatmates. And by the evening, there’s no trace of it left. My utensils are cleaned and neatly placed back in my shelf. Cooking a little extra so that you don’t have to clean? I figure it’s a pretty good strategy to go by. But this is not what you want to know, do you?

How’s life in England? Well, mostly it’s the blue sky and chartreuse grass spread across remarkably vast stretches of land. Each day I discover a new breed of dog. Each day I come across those cars that I never thought I would see in three dimensions with my own eyes. Each day I meet different kinds of people. And almost each day, I write about them in a small cafe with a small blackboard placed at its gate happily flaunting the beautiful handwriting and the supposedly reasonable rates of different kinds of coffees. Hours pass by as I type random stuff on random things and before it gets too cold (and it’s not even Winter yet!) I return to my kitchen to enjoy a multi-cuisine dinner cooked by flatmates. My kitchen is not a particularly attractive one. The dining table is almost never cleaned. Sometimes, the refrigerators stink. Noone is ever able to find his/her plates or spoons or coffee cup on time. When one of us burns food accidentally, we don’t pray for our own safety. Instead we pray for the inefficiency of the smoke detector. I look at the small exhaust, the electric heat stove, the rarely used oven, the toaster that partially works and the silver platform that’s turning grey – This kitchen is as ordinary as it can be. I look at the people I am dining with. This kitchen is my favorite place. But this is not what you want to know either, is it?

How’s life in England? Whenever the sun shines outside my tiny window my heart swells with happiness and hope. And then I think of the pending work, my spinning head and my heart immediately sinks. My table is splashed with my clumsiness. I am running out of clean clothes to wear. The bedsheet of my bed is beginning to stink. The mattress has given me a permanent back ache but I love my tiny little corner. My cupboard is bare but surprisingly, I don’t hate my limited collection of clothes. I am slipping below the poverty line slowly but steadily. However, somehow I don’t hate my depleting financial state. I am not sure why I am here sometimes. To write life? To live life? Sometimes my room haunts me too – to make it more eerie, there are unexplained bruise marks on my limbs. My financial burden haunts me. My insecurity and uncertain future haunts me. My dreams haunt me. But I am here anyway, I guess, happily haunted.

Days in England – It was clear sky a second ago and it’s suddenly raining. And despite the unpredictable weather, I can safely predict that it would never rain when I do have an umbrella with me. The cloudy night sky is bit of a shame but at times when it is clear I can almost get lost among the diamonds shining above, along with the silhouettes of the trees caressing the edges of the river. And then there’s the moon. The same moon I wrote a letter to saying that I would do what I love to do and in some surreal way I am still keeping that promise. I like to picture myself looking at this satellite somewhere someday in the future and instead of the moon, I like to believe that I would be looking at my own present self. We would briefly acknowledge each other, smile and whisper, “It is going to be alright.” The moon is my imaginary time travelling machine. When I look at it now, I suddenly see myself searching for it through the clusters of buildings back in Vadodara or strolling under the moonlight through the peaceful beaches of Goa during my final undergraduate year or picturing nose or eyes on it during my kindergarten days.

How’s my life? Each day I am going older. Each day I am learning something new. Though I can’t specifically point out the change but I can still feel a certain kind of novelty running through my blood. Life in England – It’s the walks among the pretty homes in red bricks. It’s playing with the amber leaves lining the footpaths. It’s being marvelled by the sparrows with orange necks. It’s walking through the trails lining the river. It’s catching a brief experience of forest and making an escape from urban life during those walks. Living here is modern and ancient at the same time. I am simultaneously falling in love in Swedish beer and cutting masala chai found in the streets of India. I am simultaneously falling in love with butter croissant and Latte and also with freshly cooked potato paratha made by my mother back home. I am amazed by the quiet and peaceful locality but at the same time I sometimes miss the crowd and the cacophony as well.

It’s writing, so much writing, reading, scribbling, dancing, drinking and being terrified of the fact that these days are disappearing much faster than they should and also the fact that I would miss this more terribly than I can ever imagine. My life in England? Well, honestly, life seems to be chasing me instead of I chasing it for a change. At first it was overwhelmingly surreal. Now, it’s overwhelmingly busy. Like the gas compressed in a cylinder, it seems like a whole lifetime has been squeezed into a couple of months. Weeks are long but yet they fly by. And sometimes all I do is breathe and watch yet another sun explode into thousands of shades of Crimson and Magenta and all those hues that I can’t even name.

“So, how’s life in England?” My phone is still beeping with that whatsapp message.
“Good.” I text back.

Mountains and Valleys

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Mountains and Valleys;
As I walk across the crowded narrow roads,
Wondering if the trees are too tall
Or the leaves are too green,
Wondering about the animals and birds I have never seen
Trails, stones and grass and leaves
The red roofs and the pretty homes
The monks dressed in red and yellow
The flowers smeared in purple and white,
Snow and glacier, a blissful distant sight,
There’s music in my head
Not the usual octaves
There are dreams in the air,
Such happiness in the unheard sound waves!
Desperately, Oh so desperately!
Let me cling on to the forever of this present,
Let the time run slow
Let the past be gone
I and I, in this moment, let’s just be selfish and not care,
Let’s breath and live and love and let us just  be aware…
Of this blissful peace that we can’t take in,
Of this stunning beauty that is beyond our grasp
A pair of lens won’t capture what eyes can see
A pair of lens won’t tell what we can feel –
The smell of soil smeared on my shoes and my socks,
The tingle of beetle walking on my palm
The pain in my feet when I step over stones
My heart pounding as I walk along the ribbon beautifully spiralled across you,
And yet my ears find symphony in the distant chirping of birds,
my legs hurt, my head spins,
And I am drowning in you
In the deepest of depth, not yearning to be saved…
Good lord! God must have been a sadist!
Why  did you create us when you could create something like this?
To ruin, to destroy, to regret and to deny!
Good lord! God must have been an artist!
A sucker for appreciation, a sucker for some applause!
Knowing the grave consequences and yet creating the cause!

Milestones, along life and along the roads, filled with anticipation and reminiscence,
A cold night of death and pain and miraculous renaissance,
Let me count the stars tonight, both above and below,
Let me sit in the dark and shiver in the cold,
Let me feel the comfort of the pain in my calves and in my heart,
Let me wrap you around as a blanket tonight and weep in your arms,
My tears are of joy, don’t be concerned, if at all you are,
Let me measure the distance in millimeters tonight when finally you are no longer far.

Now you are just a series of images in my head –
Missing out the details my brain carelessly ignored
How do I personify you?
Can a person really be as beautiful as you?
How do I explain the bittersweet memories?
Now you are just a possible food for conversation,
Just a code embedded in the silicon,
Just a checked item in the list,
Just another dust in the mist.

Forgive me if you can,
If I tell you that I too have stolen some traits from you,
Ups and lows
Mountains and valleys
My thoughts and my mind
My mind and my heart
Forgive me if you can
If I tell you that I too have stolen the reason for your creation –
Colliding tectonic plates of impulses
Forgive me if you can
If I tell you that I too call myself as unpredictable as you are
I react without complex brain operations after all,
Forgive me if you can
But I dare not juxtapose your beauty on me
Who am I in front of you?
A moving dot of red and black!
Don’t mistake my camparison for conceit
How can I ever inherit your charm or murderous instincts?
Your perfections and imperfections
You are the breathing existence of an incredible irony
An oxymoron magnified
So forgive me if you can
If I don’t sound like an admirer or even  a sound critic
I wouldn’t be surprised if you call me jealous
I am not an ideal lover, never was, never will be
but that is how I love you
I can’t tell you how much
I can’t tell you since how long
but I would just like to leave this mad proposal hanging in that cool calming wind
Where the sound of my thoughts mixed in the rustle of leaves,
in the sounds of the sheeps and shepherds,
I would leave this unheard for you to hear
with tears running down my cheeks
with the words I did not speak,
with the hate filling up my head as I thought of things I shouldn’t have,
and with the way I miss you now when you are part of the past,
Hoping  that you will forgive and understand…
That I love you, always have, always will
with the first painting of my first drawing book, to now and to forever.

Surat rediscovered; Dutch cemetery

Who were those people who had once been so important that their death resulted in the creation of a whole cemetery?

They must have been pretty significant but now as I look around it seems that all they have left behind is a cemetery with disappeared epitaphs, faded hues, discolored walls, plaster rainfalls, broken and exposed bricks and dust covered carvings. The place that had once been built to be remembered forever is long gone forgotten. The place that was meant to be found is lost with time and ignorance.

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As the cemetery stands for its impending inevitable disappearance, as bones lay buried in the coffins patiently waiting for their complete gradual annihilation, we walk above them clicking photos of what once had been beautiful, we laugh because the people buried around us died more than a century ago and we didn’t know them at all, never have we heard about them, never will we. If there aren’t many people around, some of us even dare to make some private memories. Of course disrespect was not even the last thing in our minds but who has ever been able to control his or her overwhelming desires? Sometimes, it seems like a nice place to smoke a joint or two but we are just trying to enjoy our lives a little more, what’s wrong with that? Children come here in the evening to play cricket. Well after all there is nobody to come here with flowers and weep.

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What’s wrong with all this anyway? What is the point in being respectful to people who died more than a century ago and do not come even a mile close to our ancestry? And besides what lie buried here are just a couple of brittle bones, how are they disrespected if we come here to play or to smoke or to snog or to just have some fun?  How are they offended? We never bothered to respect life, we never bothered to respect history, we never bothered to respect time, we never bothered to respect love so why should we respect century old skeletons?  Obviously nobody cares about them so why should we?

And yet when I look at this disfigured place, I can’t help but wander into the labyrinth of my pessimistic thoughts-

Who will even think of building a sepulcher when I will die? Even with these almost one fifty years of ignorance, this cemetery has somehow managed to survive. I wonder a century from now whether anyone will spend even a second mourning over the fact that my grave bears no epitaph. Will there be anyone who will secretly wish that the grave lying in front of him/her could have been maintained in better way? Who will wonder about the existence of the body lying beneath?  Who will? I don’t even think that my grave will last that long. It would be destroyed way before to bury  some new body. These brittle walls tease me, this impaired burial place laughs at me, these dusted fading paintings and carvings mock me and I stand here in awe, in amazement. I ought to feel humiliated. But I don’t. I am not offended at all. Because I don’t care about my fleeting existence. I don’t care if I am not in the history. I don’t care if I am not remembered. All I care about is how beautiful this place had once been. How wonderful it would be if it could be that beautiful again.

Snap out of it, turquoise ink! You know that nothing lasts.

Nothing lasts. Yes. But this place can still be saved, right?

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The great Indian Toilet issue

 

I like to travel a lot. And in my day dreams I do travel a lot. However, in reality I haven’t traveled as much as I want to or I want myself to want to because-

A. I am lazy.

B. I am not very comfortable traveling alone. ( And my friends aren’t always ready to accompany)

C. I can not poop or pee like I do at home.

C. I can not poop or pee like I do at home.

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One of the most underrated thing in the world has been the feeling when you can spend as much time as you can in a loo. Pee, poop or bath ..Do whatever and you have nothing to worry about. That’s a freedom worth fighting for.

And no, I am not kidding. You know I am not kidding.

It’s such such such a great relief to be able to pee or poop at a nice place. And there is no nicer place than a home or maybe a five start hotel. But we can not really afford a five star hotel every time we need to do our business. So, yes, using the loo at home is most economical and hygienic option.

I have thanked god for various things; I have thanked him/her/it for such loving parents, for wonderful siblings, for equally awesome friends, for good grades at school, for barely being able to pass the semester exams, for a beautiful dress or a shoe or a bag or a fountain pen but I have never thanked him for a nice clean toilet and that’s what I am going to do today.

I thankest thee, O lord – whoever thou are “the creature upstairs” for a good washroom. I shall forever be grateful.

But the sad part is that not everybody in this world has a pleasure of a good toilet. I have been among the lucky ones in that regard.

The act of peeing or pooping should bring out the emotion of great relief but in India, it brings out the emotion of great dread in many many people. And that is because they don’t have access to a good toilet toilet at all!

And the story doesn’t end here. Because of the unavailability of toilet not only are the people not able to pee or poop comfortably, they are also sometimes stalked  or looted or eve-teased or raped or murdered. Yeah.. how you ask? If you don’t have a toilet at home, of course you have no option but to go outside and search for secluded private place.

Did someone just say SECLUDED AND PRIVATE PLACE?

And if you are a woman…

Wow.

 

It’s a shame. And we all are acutely aware of that.

The reason that I am mentioning all this is not because suddenly I feel like doing some serious talk over some serious issue. I don’t do that. More like I can’t do that. But this huge concern over the great Indian toilet issue began to hover upon my heart and mind when I found myself in a rather interesting situation when I was traveling a few  weeks ago. My stomach got upset at the wrong time and at the wrong place and it was  uh..well.. a memorable experience. But on the positive note I managed things quite well and I am still in one piece; Safe and sound. When I reached back home after this interesting journey of mine, I felt so good, sooooo good seeing the nice clean bathroom  that I began to feel sorry for those who don’t have access to hygienic loos. It’s as essential as the food we eat. It really is. In fact they are more essential than food. When I am not at home I eat and drink according to the availability of the hygienic toilets. If it’s not there than I limit my food and fluid intake. So, I can quite safely conclude that my diet depends upon the toilet.

Is it all conveying too much information about my private life?

In the era, when people post there interesting photographs at Instagram, mention where they are heading to, where they are, what they are eating, what they are watching, what they are listening to, how they are feeling at every instant, I think it never is too much information. So, yeah, according to me I am good to go.

And as of the Great Indian toilet issue, I do feel that I should do something about it. Contribute somehow. Make this country a better place to live. But as of now, it’s just in my head. I hope, I hope that I will come out of my laziness zone and actually do something and not just think or publish a post about it.

What a better place would it be if each one of us actually does what we think we should do. What a better world would it be!

 

 

 

 

 

Finally home!

So, here lies the answer of how we finally got home.

A little precap;

Last time you checked we had landed on the Vadodara station. Our tiring journey from Delhi to Vadodara had finally come to an end.

(^To know more details you can read this- What the hell is she talking about?)

But the movie had not ended.

Our destination was Surat, not Vadodara.

We had this general ticket. And even though it takes just about two hours to reach Baroda by train, the prospect of getting into the heavily crowded bogie with our heavy luggage was giving us goose flesh.

But quite bravely, first we did try to sit in a general bogie.

However, the bogie we considered as general was not really general. It was reserved for army and people related to army.

So, when we tried to get in, we were, in simple words, thrown out.

Three individuals who looked hopelessly tired and worn out in every freaking possible way and all these “army” people had got to say was- “Get out off our bogie!”

What kind of army were they if they couldn’t help out a fellow civilian!

Shame on them!

But god was smiling on us from above.

A much more comfortable journey was waiting for us.

And I am glad that we didn’t get into that bogie. Those army people can go fuck themselves ( I have never said this before but I think I will mention it once hoping that it would be enough for all my previous and upcoming posts- “Pardon my language. I swear a little when I write but I can’t help it. )

So, the train we had almost boarded departed. But there was another train that was about to depart soon. What we did was -we sort of bribed the TT, requested him to give us seats if they were available. (We here mostly consists of my brother and sister, I was just a silent spectator the whole time)

As it turned out, the seats were indeed available. And we got to travel the ending two hours of our journey breathing the cool conditioned air.

Of course, we had to pay for that but okay we were happy.

Money CAN buy happiness. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

So, this was how the battle ended and a new era had begun in my life. New era is not an exaggeration or just something that I used as a comic literary tool. No, I meant it.

The train journeys will never be the same again.

The Patna City will be never be the same again.

My sister’s life (and mine and my whole family’s life as well) will never be the same again.

It is indeed the dawn of a new era.

And adding cherries on the top is this year…

This year; Oh! It has been a mother of changes! And not just this year, my whole college life (so far) has been dynamic in a way I had never imagined it to be. Of course, I had dreamed of a huge, humungous group of cool kids that I would hang out with. A trip every weekend or every month. Party every night. Amazing hostel life. Countless love affairs. (Oh! why not confess it?) And even with all that I would somehow, be a good student with a future (as bright as sun) as a good engineer.

None of that shit happened.

None of that shit is going to happen.

What happened instead was something I could have never seen coming.

People changed, Circumstances changed, Thoughts changed, Dreams changed, Beliefs changed.

And I never got to be cool.

I never got to be smart.

I never got to be a hero. (I never wanted to anyway)

I never got to be a bitch. (I badly wanted to be a bitch. Being bad is so cool!)

I never got to be what I wanted to be.

But what I got to be is someone whom I had never imagined before;

Me.

Who would have thought?

Ask the 5 year old me about how I see my life fifteen years later and you will know the difference.

And that five year old me is sitting right next to me asking- Who are you?

They are not kidding when they say that college is all about discovering yourself. Three years and I already do not recognize myself.

I have finally discovered it.

I have been too busy screaming sitting on the roller-coaster rides to realize that what I have wanted all along is something quite different from what I wanted myself to want. Who would have thought?

And that is why a new era has begun.

An era wherein I am not somebody’s daughter, not somebody’s sister, not somebody’s student, not somebody’s friend, not somebody’s “utopian vision” but me.

But me.

I hear some of my friends telling me their amazing tales of their awesome happening college life. Until now I was envious as I had found mine quite boring and dull and undesired. But not anymore. My life is not stagnant. It’s always changing.

It’s ALWAYS changing.

I have wasted too much of time not realizing that.

So, here comes a new sun. A sun filled with hope, with new dreams and a new life.

And a new era dawns in my life.

If you have been traveling pretty much the same path as mine then I suggest that you stop now and look back. I hope you will see the things that I have seen.

I hope you see the five year old you standing there barely recognizing you.

Talk to him. Listen to him and you will know the difference.

 

Anyhow, I was finally in Surat I guess. And the Patna chronicles, hereby, ends.

Of course, there should a special edition covering my sister’s wedding out pretty soon. But I can’t say. I don’t usually get to know the stuff I am going to write about until I am writing it. And when occasionally I do, I don’t write it at all.

So, would I really be writing the tale of my sister’s wedding?

We will find out later.

Anyway, back at the topic of my return journey.

The term battle is undoubtedly a little exaggerated for that but traveling such long distances in India is indeed a very painful task.

And it might not be a battle but it is close enough. Therefore, when we finally reached home I did find my inner peace.

Of course, it got lost again pretty soon.

But it was good to be back home.

It is good to be back home.

Though it is a completely different story that now I am pushed into another battle ground but I think that’s just life and the point is -this story has come to an end.

The conclusion being; my vacation has been quite memorable. How about yours?

Signing off,

Theturquoiseink