Wednesday, 23 March 2011

On the edge

Pic by Rehab
When she first moved to Mumbai, everyone told her to be careful on the trains. "Don't stand near the door... it's so crowded that you may fall off," they told her. It wasn't an act of rebelliousness or even fool hardiness, but right from day one, she always stood by the door. Right there. On the edge. She loved how the wind whipped her curls - sometimes over her face, sometimes away. In that 40 minute ride, she forgot how sweaty Mumbai was. She forgot the smoke, the claustrophobia, the smell of sewage, trash and too many people living in too little space.

From her vantage point she could see the clear morning sky, sometimes with puffy white clouds. The greenery along the tracks was the most greenery she saw in any one place in the city. It brought back memories from childhood... of walking along wide roads bordered with trees, sheltering her from the harsh northern summers. The fresh, cool air transported her to the hills, to the treks that she went on in the monsoons.

Standing there also seemed symbolic of her life. Sometimes moving so fast that she just about managed to keep her balance; sometimes precarious, forcing her to pay attention to every little move lest she do irreparable damage; sometimes carefree, like free, unobstructed wind; sometimes a wordless conversation with a nameless stranger. Everyday that edge became a different metaphor to an ever changing life.

Each day now, as she walks the 10 min walk to her office, she sighs, almost wistfully, in memory of those two years.


aarti said...

loved it!

rehab said...

Have you really saved time? If you have traded half an hour of reading, smelling, observing and learning with ten minutes of comfort.
Convenience is a function of experience.
I would travel two hours to meet a loved one, but hate the ten minute walk to a job I hate...

Anonymous said...

I leave for work everyday at 8 and am home by 10. I'd probably hate giving up the 2 hours I spend everyday in the train. If it weren't for that, I would never get any reading done. Not even a little bit. And I don't think I could quite live without my regular dose of that.

Lovely post, I could really relate.