“This is it… I’m so screwed” I told myself.
You know there are moments in life when your mind goes blank. Fear grips you and you’d have reached a point of no return. There was no turning back. I stood frozen in time and I was lost wondering about the next set of things to do.
When I boarded the train a few moments ago, life seemed far simpler. Pbbbbsfftt, I remember calling out on Mumbai’s Saturday commute rush. The train was not empty. It was packed. A bloke like me who enjoys the creature comforts of his most beloved car, public transport has always been something that has never been my first choice.
The beauty of a new city is that one cant carry the creature comforts from home to wherever we go. I looked around and I was not impressed about the number of people on board that train. My condescension got slapped two stops later. The train no longer felt empty. I saw hordes and hordes of people magically squeezing themselves right into the compartment. It made no bloody sense. The entrance was clogged with blokes hanging. The passage was clogged with far too many folks standing. None of that seemed to matter. People kept pouring in and the traffic didn’t seem to stop. It didn’t want to stop either.
I grew concerned about the folks joining in. The fear came in later. Soon at this stop, I witnessed something that was nothing short of a miracle. People were entering and exiting the train at the same bloody moment. I mean I crib about folks not wanting to let me out of an elevator which supports a maximum of ten people. The train was out right crazy. Folks seemed to be leaping out of the train to get out of it. I had never done anything like that in my life.
Every inch of my civic sense felt violated. This wasn’t right. And then my thoughts took me to what really mattered. I forgot about what was right and wrong. My worries were about how was I ever going to manage getting off that train. I can’t tug and push people. I’m more of an excuse me guy and when snubbed, I’d rather write a long SARCASTIC blog which makes no sense to the one I’m trying to offend. Yes. Those are my skills. I have words. I have the ability to mask words. Good luck using words like, dude, ever heard of civic sense? to get off that train. No amount of funny lines were ever going to help me bail out.
Math has never been my strongest skill, but in my moment of panic, I was close enough to arrive at sensible numbers. There was a tube diagram explaining the distance between each station from Church gate. I soon deduced that If I managed to disembark by a relatively empty station then I could take a cab or a rick to get to the final destination. At that point, I had lost faith of ever getting down at the station where I was supposed to. I respect the courage to never give up. I also did respect the realities of being incompetent enough to snake my way through that crowd.
And so life’s funny twists kicked in. Beyond a certain point, I think it was Mira road, the train decided to declare itself as a fast train. Bada bing, four stations were to be skipped and the next was Andheri, my destination.
“This is it… I’m so screwed” I told myself.
I had no choice now. My plan A had obviously bombed. Plan B was to ride along further down the line and get back to Andheri. In my moment of panic and numb fear, I decided to give things a shot. I thought there was no point in giving up without doing something. And with that, I mustered all my courage and shed all my sense of decencies and roughed and I mean ROUGHED my way towards my right. I found a nice spot near the door. I could almost taste the air of freedom.
For the first time in 30 minutes, I smiled. This was damn easy. I felt silly worrying witless about things in life. I promised myself to stop worrying like how I did. Still, things were way too easy. This was not the pattern that I had come to observe in people when they were about to exit the train.
‘Andheri KIDERich Hai’ (which side is the station) I enquired. The unkal smiled and said, that would be towards your left.
My heart sank! I was at the wrong end of a rather jam packed crowd! BLOODY HELL.
Anyways, once bitten is still once bitten nonetheless. I knew what it felt to rough my way around the crowd. I decided to try it one more time. The train still had a way to go before it reached Andheri. And so I bulldozed my way through it. I think folks immediately spotted me as a tourist. I was probably the only one who felt apologetic about cramming into people. I kept apologizing and excusing myself and begging folks to make way. Yup. I wasn’t one of them. That being said, the folks were kind. They obliged.
Magic happened from that point onwards.
I found myself at the very center of a heated conversation about how Mumbai got this crowded and bad suddenly. A lot of reasons were cited. I did the unthinkable. ‘Yeh IT wale.. sab ke sab’ and I started off 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 (that roughly translates to its because of these IT companies that things are bad)
And before I knew it, I was their FRIEND. I was offered a free consultancy on how I can get down at DADAR instead and either take a cab or take the metro back to Andheri. I found myself talking about the rains, the food, about the city that never sleeps and its people who never ever give up.
The conversation kept me distracted from the destination. Before I knew, I had finally reached Andheri. What happened next, is something that folks will have to experience. No amount of words can ever do justice to describing that experience.
I stood facing the door. And the next instant, I was out standing on the platform breaking the air of freedom.
I lost myself and found PARADISE.
That sounds like a nice day spent travelling by the train. Is it not the case with us in our lives? We are all but lambs when we start. We dream, we aspire, we have our fears and doubts. There are folks who bully us. There are folks who support us. What is absolutely certain is the fact that like the Fast local to Church gate,
“Either you stand where you’ve always stood, cribbed, whined, complained, feared, given hope and done absolutely nothing at all. Or you have a choice to do something , to fight for what you want to, to fight the way you want to, to still hold your principles precious, to be unstoppable but not like a wall, but like a flowing river. You do what it takes, WHATEVER it takes to reach your goals” .. and once you get there, there is but the air of freedom waiting to surround you.
Cheers to the city that reminded me about how we never give up. We don’t give up when we get scared . Especially when we get scared and things start to look bleak. That’s the moment that deserves every ounce of our courage. and indeed, PARADISE FOUND