Archive for December 2009
The journey of a thousand miles invariably begins with me offering prayers to all my favourite gods, hoping that I would be blessed with a companion in the train (keywords: despo, cute chick). That Murphy invariably ends up having the last laugh is a different story altogether. As I set foot upon my beloved M-Land, that too a day before superstar’s birthday (Happy Birthday Thalaiva!), the sirs and madams of my alma mater are busy following the road oft taken determined to end up as corporate hooters. Having obtusely incremented my six month long wait by four more days, I was wondering whether the charm of “home” was totally lost on this thick skin. But then, in a truly ‘skies lighten, faces brighten’ feeling, the boyish grin returned to my face the moment I left the portals of Azad.
There is something special about the Tamilnadu Express that words cannot explain. As I stand on platform number seven, (make no mistake, the magically most powerful number and one-sixth of the answer) listening to middle aged women abusing their hubbies in chaste Madras Basha and the local tea vendors trying to explain to the hindi-uninitiated lot that the chai costs rupees six and not five, there pervades a feeling that Chennai would have been proud of. Nevertheless there are those ignominious moments when conversations with co-passengers get a little too personal, and family details start tumbling out. It is at times like these that I have regretted my inability to pose questions in the vein of “Where did you say your co-brother was working again?”, “Oh! Your third sister’s second husband is a divorcee?”. Reminds of the truck which had a “Mera Bharat Mahaan” sign placed just above another one which said “Highly Inflammable”.
I’ve always wondered as to how every moron under the sun gets his own journey with a UOR Alumni who subjects the aforementioned chap to a sermon on the glorious heritage of the institute. Indeed, these are mere euphemisms and literary devices, I surmised. Yet, when I got my own forty two seconds of fame, the experience turned out to be nothing short of disappointing. The gentleman across me, a pass-out of my own department, rather than regaling me with old wives’ tales seemed quite apologetic about the fact that he had not graduated from an institute with a tag as glorious as the one I would get my degree from. The sole consolation came in the form of an apparent affair that a revered professor indulged in, with his lady hailing from a department just opposite the computer centre.
The journey of a thousand miles ended with the train reaching the famed Chennai central two full hours behind schedule, putting an end to the clichéd saga. Offering a stark contrast to the desi-bound hero of many a tamil movie, I wasn’t greeted by the smell of fresh jasmine nor was it the scent of the morning idli that my olfactory lobes picked up. Instead it a heady smell of rotten fish and dung that pervaded the platform, perhaps reminiscent of the octant of my life that I had just bid farewell to. I had read earlier in a beautiful editorial by Dog Day Afternoon’s predecessor, a comparison of Roorkee to a story book that appeared besmirched on the surface but yet even the fine print grew on you as you moved past the introductions. Indeed, my own lovely chapter opening many new eyes and paths, left me with a bitter-sweet smile with its deplorable ending. As the process of reshuffling priorities gets underway, I once again take inspiration from a great man’s immortal words hoping that the remaining chapters of my red-bound story book have something more holistic to offer.
- From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
- A light from the shadows shall spring;
- Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
- The crownless again shall be king