Diaries by Madhura
These days travelling is quite a norm. We travel for office work, to visit family or to spend a holiday. I am also no exception to this norm. And I have some beautiful memories associated with travel.
While traveling by public transport on a particular route every day, one tends to see familiar faces. Human beings like to live in groups and this basic tendency allows lots of friendship to flourish. I also happened to make friends in this manner, albeit with people of higher age group. The conversation will thus begin-
“ Dear girl, I see you regularly on this route. Are you a college student?”
Here I need to mention that my petite Bengali frame makes me look quite young compared to my contemporaries from North India, specially the Punjabis and Jats. Hence although I had completed four years of job, I was easily mistaken as an undergraduate student by the Punjabi aunties or Haryanvi uncles.
Initially I took the pain of correcting them and explained the demographical differences, but later I found the entire process cumbersome and just flashed my office ID.
Once these people came to know that I was from other part of the country, they would take all measures to make me feel at home ( in the bus of course). If I would miss the bus any day, they would message me to know whether I was well. I would try to reciprocate by treating them with the famous Bengali sweets from my home state.
They would often refer me as the “ Gudiya Madamji” meaning little Madam. These people were real source of comfort when I stayed at the outskirts of the National Capital, New Delhi.
Later on, when I had moved to Central Delhi, my mode of transport changed to Delhi Metro. Delhi Metro has a huge network crisscrossing the entire city. There are numerous routes, which are designated by different colours. The trains would be jam packed during office hours, making it difficult to even stand. While traveling by the ladies’ coach, I often saw women carrying small stool for sitting since their destination might be an hour away.
One such Metro ride introduced me to a friend, whom I cherish. I often saw her on the platform while returning from office. One day I saw her boarding the train from the same home station. Next day I gathered the courage to speak to her. It turned out that we stay in the same complex. After that we often returned together, chatting like teenagers all the way.
While these were all about friendship that bloomed on way, let me end with a hilarious experience of mine. I was traveling to Thiruvanathapuram from New Delhi for a training. I was to take an Air India flight, via Mumbai. It was quite an early morning flight. Those of you who have taken early morning flights would know that the airport offers a wonderful view of the rising sun. I was standing in a serpentine queue in front of the Airline counter, mesmerised by the nature. I was so engrossed that it took me quite a while to understand when one of the Airline staffs approached me and asked- “Beta- aap kaha ja rahi ho?”(Where are you going dear?) I fumbled, couldn’t remember where I was heading to. Thankfully, I was holding my ticket and I looked at it and told him my destination. Next he asked via which city is my flight traveling. I couldn’t remember this also and couldn’t find it on the ticket. It took me great efforts to remember that the flight was via Mumbai. Later I felt so stupid about the whole incident. I was a regular flyer, frequently traveling to Kolkata to visit my family. By default that should have been the first name coming to my mind- but it didn’t. Secondly I had visited my sister, who stays in Germany, a couple of months prior to this incident. That was my first international travel and it went without any hiccups. And here- I couldn’t remember where I was heading to!!!! Irony anyone?
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