July 04, 2005


Even after the considerable heartache, exhaustion and the eight hour delay caused by a ruptured radiator hose, that in turn led to an over heated engine and a blown gasket, the 200 kilometre a side trip to the Air Force station in Ambala was one of the most beautiful experiences that I have had in a while. National Highway number one, once out of the humid, choking environments of the National Choking Region of Delhi, opens out into a wide 110 kilometre per hour stretch of tarmac punctuated every now and then by crowded little Haryanvi towns that just whizz by you, even at 80 kilometres per hour.

The station itself was a world away from the routine and the faces I'd come to know on a day-to-day basis. Of course, being the weekend, there was no flying happening, which contributed to the wonderful and unfamiliar silence. And for most parts the weather was overcast; during the other times it just rained like it does back home, covering the entire area in a panorama of lush green, which is rare scene in most parts of north India. Where we stayed, the room was quite spacious and nice and there was the constant chirping of birds and our bathroom at one point had a multitude of insects, frogs and leeches in it!

To lean on the much abused cliche, like all good things in life, every journey in life, including the trip, comes to an end at some point or the other. After a wonderful period of over a year of being together, another journey of mine, the relationship I was in, also has come to an end. It has left me a lot of fond memories, some of the best times in my life, it taught me a lot of lessons and in general I have grown a lot more as an individual in it. But I have come to realise that I am getting a bit too old to play both sides of the game anymore. It is wonderful to have that out-of-body experience when it comes to perspective, but I don't think I can play it for much longer.

In any case, tomorrow, to lean on yet another cliche, is a new beginning. I start work at the new place with a totally blank sheet. Sometimes I do wonder if I have bitten more than I can chew. But as my dear friend would gladly vouch for, the fact is that I am never found eating with a bite that is less than a mouthful. There is such a lot to be done in the next few months, while all I want is to go back to that room at the station, curl up with a book or start work on my 'always in progress' first story. When I really want a pause, all I get is even more speed. Bring it on, either way it is hard for me to win, eh?

Continuing on the rat race theme, I'd be racing with my fellow rats down to Mumbai on Wednesday to 'scope out' the task at hand and stick on in the city till sometime on Friday. Last time I came there was in 2002, if I recollect correctly, and between the Express Towers at Marine Drive and the company guest house Colaba, it was a divine existence that was only tempered by my unrealistic phobia of underworld dons jumping out of every corner to threaten me in one form or the other. This time there is no phobia, maybe I just should look forward to it. I do need that break and I do feel like running away. But I need to hold my ground and start patching things up together again, starting yet another journey in the process.