Only there is no End (Before I had reached there)
“Like as the waves rush towards the pebbled shores…/ So do my minutes hasten to their end…” Only here there seems to be no end or rest after the end… am hurtled into times that demands I re-live my days all over again in sync with the changes and at a pace that makes you feel that there isn’t even time to grow or feel old! There is no stopping-by to glance at what is already accomplished. Or is yet to be accomplished.
But life is this one continuous tire (some) less rushing through re-adjustments and one is constantly assailed by the fear of dropping dead any moment, leaving tasks incomplete or undone, and the embarrassment of inflicting the burden on unsuspecting and already overworked colleagues.
So am on my way, across the breadth of this vast sub-tropical country, from the lush green fertile eastern river basin to the harsh rocky domains of the Western Ghats, to a different State, in an attempt to re-live a stretch of life all over again,when you think of how it would be the same job, well almost, same routine.That is how it felt, before I reached my destination – like you have got a second chance at something you did wrong the last time, so you can redo it as it should be done, this time.
From Kolkata it is to Pune, from one cultural capital of the subcontinent to another (I didn’t know, had heard and read so much that’s all), from a city that was once the capital of the mighty British Raj to a city that remained the bastion of the infallible Maratha guerillas for nearly a hundred years (this isn’t a travelogue and am not trying to ‘give the history’, but merely recounting how I had tried to use the perspective to motivate me to pack faster , get going etc… ).This was a journey fraught with expectations and apprehensions that time alone could unfold/resolve, I had told myself…
There is no end (After I had been there)
Pune station, it is 5:30 a.m. and the rickshaw-wallahs outside are – well, no one’s trying to hustle me exactly, no one’s tried to grab me or my luggage – yet – and there is a slope, I could slide my suitcase down easily without having to take my backpack off or ask for help.”YWCA near Gurdwara”. He gestured, cried out in Marathi. I hesitated as he looked at me – still no grabbing has happened. Well, this is good, took a deep breath and tried to lug the suitcase into the car, (needn’t have) and was soon off – full speed ahead along the clean quiet hundred year old banyan lined roads. Not another car on the road except my rick, caught a fleeting sight of an old building with ancient old red tiled roof which later became a regular saturday afternoon haunt (for stamps – at the philately section, would buy whole sheets of them with pictures of kuranjis, and roses – these are scented by the way, and then write sheafs of letters, must have written hundreds while I was there, even to people I hadn’t spoken to for ten years!), the GPO of Pune.
Three weeks later, after having settled down in “Rudra” which was to be my home for the rest of my stay at Pune, I had experienced this peculiar feeling of being there and not being there at all! Every little bit of my life had to be reorganized, restructured, rebuilt, redesigned
Where my job was concerned it did seem like a second chance at something I had experienced before. I would continue in the corporate sector, and not get back to teaching yet. Where my personal and emotional life was concerned it appeared I had no past. It stands erased! It felt like I had only just begun!
When I think of Pune, this is what I remember. No other city – and I have been to so many of them over the course of my thirty-six years – had ever made me feel that way, not Bangalore, not Hyderabad, not Delhi or even Ahmedabad. And this is the only place I have no pictures of!