I needed to get to Raghuvanshi Mills this morning by 11 am for work. On normal days this would not be a problem. I would sit in the car, and say in calm, measured tones, “Tulsi Pipe Road, le lo, jahan pe High Street Phoenix aur Collective hai, Jahan hum us din poora din andar rahe aur tumne phone kiya aur poocha Madam, sab theek hain na….”
Alas and alack, this is Ganapati festival time and time for said driver to take around 10 days of his annual leave and go visit his native village. Which leaves me, to say the least, lost. It started with me chewing off the spouse’s delectable ears last night (no, not in the manner you are thinking, gentlefolk) while he tried to read a book on derivatives. A book which demands peace and quiet and no panic stricken wife asking for road maps and directions when it is being read.
“What is the fastest route to reach Tulsi Pipe Road,” I broached gingerly. Me being a non driver.
“Train,” he grunted, fully intent on scaring the blush right off my cheeks.
“Train,” I blanched. True to form. Before I get them righteous folk who give me a dressing down on looking down on travel by local train, let me insert right here, that I do not look down on travel by local train, but I have over the course of the past decade that I’ve stopped travel by trains, lost the essential survival skills requisite to negotiate train travel. I did travel by train every single day of my life before that. There. Now with that out of the way.
“You know,” I said in mournful tone, “Things have changed so drastically since I last travelled by train. Ticket windows have changed locations. Platforms are different. The trains themselves are different. It will be a challenge, but let me try.”
I gave the man a sly look. “What could happen. At the worse, I will get off at the wrong station and get into a cab that takes me to a place I dont know, and strips me of all my jewellery and slits my throat.”
The man raised his eyebrow, looked at me like I had just deposited my brains in the dustbin before this conversation. And the next morning, he dropped me off to my meeting. Of course, he did tie it up with a visit he had to make, but that is incidental.
Yes, yes, tell me again why I love him so much.
I was unfortunately on my own for the return journey. Mustering up all my courage I stepped into a cab. It was a quick efficient ride back to Bandra, where, in the true spirit of thriftiness, I disembarked and got into an autorickshaw for the rest of the journey back to the boondocks where I operate from. Returning back to one’s place of origin is not as terrifying. One knows the route and the destination. It is the going to unfamiliar places without trusted mode of transport that freaks me out.
God help me if I have ever to do a cross continental journey on my own! I can just see myself wondering if I could be driven across.