09 April, 2006


... and the train stopped. The screeching brakes and the final sickening jolt had a decisive ring to it. As i stood at the door, I was taken back in time, a very small duration in the grand cosmic scheme of things, but a time that defined me, my character, and my very being.

I think of those clear eyes of mine, the unfettered dreams in them and the fearlessness that is born out of ignorance and inexperience. The beginning of a journey, and a rush of blood to the head, and I am onthe train, riding the wave, so to speak. The world seems all nice and rosy; after all I'm the wide eyed fresher, and on top of the world. And then I step in, those dreams go pop! and I'm faced with what seems like brutal reality... a seemingly harsh, biting, scorching surrounding, and the train starts; now I can't get off. I'm on the ride, for better or worse. I look around; there are other people; I look closer, and I see all kinds of faces; some are care-worn; others, care free; some are worried; some, frightened; and others hojpeful. There are those who boarded long ago, and are de to leave, and then there are those like me, who have just got on.

I am suddenly hesitant; gone is the confidence and the swagger, words hesitate to come to my lips, but my mind is bursting with a barrage of questions, and I wonder, " O god, whatever made me come here?" I make a few acquaintances and a frew friends, I have some guiding lamps, and I find some dead ends. The other travellers don't seem as scary as they were before, as I find my way through the labyrinthine byways of the train. And then, I realise it's time for the first stop, and as I bid my first guides adieu, I realise I feel a little sad, and just a bit lonely. I look at myself, and I realise that I have changed; I am no longer a greenhorn, but I still have a great deal to learn. And so it goes on, I learn the workings of the place , learn of the pitfalls, and the haystacks, of the goldmines and the landmines. As I ensconce myself in my seat, I look out, and realise I see the world with a slightly different perspective, for i know now there is no free lunch, I realise the value of things, like food and money, things which i once took for granted, and begin to respect them. I start adjusting myself, try to fit in, and then i realise that I am no more as pure as the driven snow. I find myself more pragmatic, and a little cynical.
Another station comes and goes, and suddenly, I am taught the meaning of responsibility, not like a toddler, but just by being thrown into the deep end. All along this I absolutely detest the experience, hating every moment, using every opportunity to either run away, or go below, or high above the trials and tribulations. But the train draws me back, inexorably, like iron to a magnet.
There is darkness. all around. I quail. Fear. Desperation. Panic. I'm in a tunnel, a tunnel of my own hopes and dreams and confusions.I grope in the darkness, fearing a total loss of direction and purpose. An then i see a light. At the end of the tunnel. I turn towards it. With hope. but I am cautious, so i prepare myself, hoping against hope that the light isn't actually a freight train coming my way. And then there is light, I feel ecstatic, but lonely, for I have lost my last guiding lights. I feel old now, and bent, but I am experienced, and I am the guide! the one who holds all the keys, the one in charge, and therefore, the one directly in the line of fire. I should hate it, as i have always done, but strangely the feeling is exhilarating and I am actually enjoying myself, not knowing whether I am awake or asleep, alive or dead, and frankly, not caring. All throughout, my only constant companions are my batch mates (and of course those eternal bovines), they exist, I exist, we coexist; that is all. But there is something more to this relationship, for we are bound together by fate. We live together, trying to understand each other, learning from every step and every misstep. It is with these people that I understand who I am, and what I need to be, say or do in this journey of mine.
Then I look out of the window, and i realize, I'm next. It's my turn to get off. The staggering finality of it hits me like a slap in the face. It all pours down on my head, pounding it incessantly, and I am enlightened, for I have understood the eternal paradox of life. I'm ready for the world. All through this journey, I yearned for the end. Now, i'm faced with it. I don't want to get off. This journey has ended too soon. Also it dawns on me that the train has been moving faster and faster with each passing station, with the last leg of the journey being the swiftest. I wish it were the other way around, for now I am sad, for there are a million things i wish i did, and a thousand things I wished I could undo. And then the train stopped.
... and the train stopped. The screeching brakes and the final sickening jolt had a decisive ring to it. I got down, and looked back at the train that I had just left; my heart willed me to stay, but the journey hadn't ended, for the next train... awaits.

1 comment:

Aashish Ramdas said...

ah.. cho chweet..