Friday, November 07, 2008

The trip to Shantiniketan

Gosh, we can not believe it! The trip is finally happening. Here we are on the train (Ganadevata Express), 5 past 6 in the morning and in the golden sun the train is pulling out of the Howrah humdrum. P is trying to hold the window up with her hands since it will not keep open by itself. I , who is sitting next to P, is trying to tell P that it's futile and she need not go through the ordeal and that it's fairly chilly anyway. Next to I is me looking out of the window at the steel sheds along the railway, somewhat blurred in the morning mist...yes, the window lovingly held open by P. Next to me, in the seat next to ours (which is a three seater) is D with that unmistakable happy grin that says Yay!

That P would come with us was quite a last moment decision. I had bumped into her at Ranikuthi while returning home from M's place where I had gone to collect my camera batteries. We were talking and she said, I can go too. I'll confirm once I talk to the parents. You're kidding me, I'd said. Not, she persisted. Anyway, so she had informed me late in the night that she would be joining us for the trip. What a pleasant surprise! For all of us actually. Since Di and M could not come with us owing to an unfortunate event. And even the bald A pulled out at the last moment because of unavoidable office assignments. So, we were all extremely happy that P would be coming with us.(That is not to say that we would not have liked her come with us if the others had not backed out.) We had woken up three in the morning, me, D and P and come to Howrah together. I reached in time too after a lot of adventure. But then I would not be I without the bizarre adventures. We had gotten the tickets and boarded the train. Found comfortable seats too. So, all good.

It's been about half an hour since the train started moving and I can see D dozing off on a grown-ass man's shoulder. The man, in question, is sleeping too, arms crossed. The three of us are taking pictures of one another and of D who seems to be suckling in his sleep. I moves around to capture Dhruva's weird expressions to her satisfaction while I eat chocolate biscuits and cakes. Now P's perseverance gives away and she lets go of the window and goes off to sleep with her head on I's shoulder/the window(alternating). I falls asleep on my shoulders while I, the responsible one stay awake looking out for my dear friends and our luggage. (The discerning reader will realize that the arrangement is not really as bad as I make it out to be and they will know why.)

Now before the reader's mind starts going haywire in wild fancies, and while the others are still asleep, I invite you to come take a look at the luggage we are carrying. I is the tidiest of them all. The Adidas knapsack on her lap is all she is carrying. That includes her huge Nikon D40 and a large water bottle. Both P and D tie for the second place with moderately-sized bags. I am the black sheep with a mammoth bag that holds enough change of clothes for all of us for about a month. But this was not what it was meant to be like. I had initially planned to carry my 2.1 Creative speakers with me. So I had used half of the bag for packing and kept a neat half for the speakers(and the woofer). Just when I had managed to unplug the speakers from the computer and after wiping years of dirt off them was trying to put them into the empty half, the mother entered the room. 3:15 in the morning. Early morning pleasantries later I was desperately tucking clothes and things to fill up the empty half. So, there. Oh and oh wait, I has woken up and is looking dishevelledly around making sure everything is in place and she has not been abandoned on the train.

She says now it's my turn to sleep and I am no one to refuse. I will go to sleep now, but not before I have had shingaras that are been peddled and hawked. I says she can have a bite from mine but she doesn't want any for herself. P is asleep and D says he doesn't eat anything that needs to be chewed in the morning. That figures, me and I chuckled.
I have finished my shingaras and gulped down some water. Now, dear reader, you will excuse me, for I must go sleep for some time while I and D stay awake to watch over me.

To be continued...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Is there a word for a happiness that is ever present and continuous? For absolute security and faith? For unquestioned, uninterrupted care? I have this feeling that I have broken on through to the other side of reality. My reality doesn't look real. Yet it's as real as a steel knife through the viscera.

May be the word I am looking for is Peace.