A Tryst With Desire
Run like the wind for a couple of kilometers with three heavy bags through a traffic jam in Pune. Wade and weave your way through the crowd at the station. While trying to figure out on which platform your train with your reserved seat in air conditioning is supposed to be.
See a mass of metal departing. Ah, here goes nothing. The female trying to keep up with you all this time has given up. Or maybe she is waiting for the next one. Well shit, no use turning back, keep sprinting. Man, it is too far. Hundred percent sure you are chasing after the right one? Slow down, realizing defeat. Plus the last bogey is the unreserved general class — absolutely overflowing.
Realize why you are doing all of this.
Sudden burst of energy. Wait, the slab of concrete that you are on is about to end. But the goal is within reach. God forbid you miss. Four, three, two, one —and jump! Open eyelids. Wow, you did it. Now hang on for dear life. Apologize and thank the people for accommodating you.
Sit on the floor cramped, next to the lavatory with the ceiling leaking rainwater. A breastfeeding mother younger than me with her crying baby. Some old local who doesn’t speak Hindi. Dravidian woman with a fractured leg. Islamic veiled girl offering drinking water to all, as the train doesn’t stop until Mumbai and the humidity / suffocation increases. Young professional reading a Chetan Bhagat book, listening to music and sweating profusely. And this ugly dude who was stopping rowdy drunken hooligans from boarding. Zero network and then no battery.
Disembark at Dadar. As usual, can’t walk three steps properly. Need a towel, not a hanky. Roads clogged again. The city never sleeps, but come on, it is late in the night and this looks like rush hour. Use the sealink. A skyscraper near the horizon displays the tricolor on its seaside facade.
Horde of vehicles again near my brother’s place in Bandra, but there seems to be a pattern. Especially concentrated when close to liquor stores. Finally it hits you. Everyone, including a group of policemen, wants a buzz before midnight strikes and India awakens to a new dawn..
..that reminds me, it has been a rough night. Beef, rice, vodka, rum. Home delivered stuff certainly has its advantages. Next thing you know is waking up with a mild headache in Vadodara.
Two days later, she meets you for lunch.