Thursday, June 26, 2014

Of Places in Between

I have to admit that I used this title for this post in order to spark off interest. If a certain Lazywiz read the name he would surely remark that it is a forced title for this post. Still today is a nice day. I was asked by my India Forum IPK crazy friends to join their whatsapp group and beacuse of this unexpected welcome into their group am feeling all warm and happy, so indulging myself with this slightly whimsical title. But before starting to write I did spend some minutes bragging about this interesting developement to my other whats app group which consists of 3 of my 5 college friends.

A place where journeys begin. A place where stories end. A place where sabbaticals start and the same place where life resumes. Railway stations, bus stands, airports.. then don't they qualify as 'places in between'?

A few weeks back while standing in an airport I was looking around. I remembered those exam topics - "Draw a scene of a railway station". If the kid was intelligent he would draw a book stand, few beggars, a Punjabi Sardarji family with twin kids. And my imagination was already running wild. What else could he draw. A group of excited school kids with a harassed pair of teachers.  A few college boys sitting on bag packs, off to give another entrance exam. A man in a baggy black coat, supposedly the ticket collector. Coolies in red. Some old, some too lean. Lost tired faces of people lying on pieces of cloth spread on the floor. People bustling about in a hurry.  Irritated grumpy mothers. Fathers trying to slide away to smoke a cigarette. Kids busy in their own world. A big party off to attend a wedding. If you were lucky you would be able to identify the bride thanks to her mehendi adorned hands.

On one such railway station as Aarwen stood dazed, the train whistled and moved past her. She looked at Lazywiz and found everything almost spinning, losing focus. All she knew was she didn't want to board a train that would take her away from him. Maybe some passerby looked at her and cooked some story in their mind just as I do when looking at others.

Simran ran as she was about to miss her train..her ticket to a month of freedom with her friends.. and Raj held out his hand and pulled her on a journey of a lifetime.. Later Simran again ran as her father gave her away to Raj who was again ready, holding out his hand. Dilwale dulhaniya le jayenge stills plays in some Cinemas.

In Jaane Tu Jaane Na, a surprisingly cute movie, the shy hero serenades his best friend by breaking all police rules and running into an airport.. tera mujhse hai pehle ka naata koi.. yuhi nahi dil lubhata koi.. jaane tuuuu... yaaa jaane naa.. In fact the whole story is recounted by their friends to a new member of their group in the form of flashbacks while they sat on the very same airport.

Dil hai ki maanta nahin, another sweet movie had a bus stand. A lazy, over smart journalist met the hot headed runaway daughter of a tycoon  in a crowded bus stand. In another bus stand Veer asked Zaara for a few days of her life before she went back to become someone else's wife.

I thought of movies, but then as I looked around I saw real life stories play out in front of my very eyes. 

An old Indian woman in a saree had baloons in her hand. Were her grandchildren coming for a visit? A Japanese diplomat received a grand welcome which was video recorded by a man in formal attire. Were they about to sign the next big deal in business? An Indian father ran and hugged his daughter and smiled at his wife. Had he missed his wife while she was away? Their back facing towards me stood an extremely handsome looking couple. Is it okay to admit I kept trying to peer and take a look at the girls face?

My reverie was broken by the shrieks of two young couple as they welcomed another young couple (friends?) with bouquet of flowers and loud yells. A lot of selfies were clicked, a few pictures taken from cameras. Some video recordings also happened as different people met their friends, families, strangers. A quiet pretty looking young girl was accompanied by an Airline official and handed over to a decent looking lady. Both seemed unsure of how to react around each other. The lady could not decide if she was allowed to place her hand on the girl's shoulders. I romanticized thinking maybe she was the mother meeting her grown up daughter for the very first time.

When I was small my father would go often on tours. My mother and me would drive down to the station to receive him. My mother would enjoy looking at everyone arriving, at the dresses the ladies wore. She would guess where the families were going. She would make frequent trips to check the status of the train. I on the other hand do not like moving about once I am seated in the car. So I would roll down my window and enjoy reading my Nancy Drew book.

If we went on trips I would visit the bookstalls. I would marvel at the young boy managing the stall who knew the name and location of every book. Archies, Agatha Christie my favourite picks for travel. My mother would want to get down at each station, get excited about the food, tea stalls and any other even slightly interesting thing. I mostly never even moved. Only when the train would start and there would be no sight of her would I cautiously peep out and confirm if she did get onboard the train. In a train I like to sleep to the rocking motion. But during the day time I love looking out of the window. In the plane I just sleep.  

When I stand at the bus stand the few days I take the bus I think the same thing. These are places in between. You plan your evening or you plan your day. You move away from office and reach home. Sometimes you leave your city and enter a vacation destination. You come back tired. You could leave in anxiety or full of excitement. while you wait at these places it forces people to read, relax while waiting or simply learn to be patient, listen to music, spend time with each other. In your thoughts as you get ready to travel you make decisions, sometimes resolutions. Start and end of a journey always has the opportunity to get to try out something new. Or atleast that is the impression that I get.

No comments :

Post a Comment