As I stormed off my place, to catch a train, the only thought was to cool down and find some peace. I started walking in the direction of the station. On my way, I realized that it was the eve of Hanuman Jayanti. I felt the sudden urge to visit the temple. Hanumanji always lighted the correct path for me. I made up my mind to visit the temple early in the morning, carrying forward Dad’s tradition and being there in stead of him. As the temple came into view, and I saw the decorations, a faint smile touched my face. All those fond memories. Years of growing up, with the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti being no less than a landmark. The times when I used to gape at the idol flying in the air, made that way to delight children like me, the times when I sat there with a harmonium, the times when I offered prasad to the devotees; came rushing into my head. Half of the temple area was closed down for decorations. I murmered a short silent prayer and came out a little satisfied.
I headed towards the station. I had my first class ticket, and anywhere in the Western line to go to. Checked the time, it was a few minutes to 9 pm. The train that was scheduled next was a slow train. I had hoped for a fast one. I inquired about it but the lady had no idea. I looked around to ask someone else, but no one seemed friendly enough. The train came, and I boarded it, planning to return in the same one, via Churchgate. But that plan will never see the light of the day, will it? On my way, I read A Dance of Dragons which was fortunately saved on my cell phone. As I paused and wondered on the doings of Tyrion and Jon, the railway stations flew by, one by one; unlike Daenerys’ dragons, who haven’t been described much in the fifth book so far. I decided to get down at Charni Road, since I wanted to eat something delicious, and Girgaon Chowpatty seemed like the place to be at. I got down on the platform and for a few seconds, I trotted on in the wrong direction. There was just one bridge that I could see and I was moving away from it. I turned back, came outside, started walking in the direction of Churchgate. My thoughts, along the way were confusing. Fragmented. Sooner than later, I realized that the Chowpatty was in the other direction. So little and less I know of my city!
I decided to continue to walk. I was walking along the railway tracks, and the sea front was on the opposite side. As soon as I found a Xebra Crossing, which was after I had crossed Marine Lines, I went to the other side and walked along the seafront.
It was different. My mind was silent most of the way. Random musings lingered, but the sea and the waves and the sky and the stars soon pushed them away. The water and the sky looked alike- coated with a shine that made me wonder if the sea was one giant rock of ebony. I kept on walking, looking for a familiar spot. I could find none. Tried to catch the names of a few buildings. Sonawala. Zaver Mahal. Kapur Mahal. Timecheck- 10.12 pm. I went on, looking at the large Union Bank neon sign that hovered at the top, far faraway. I spied Nariman Point from a distance and the majestic buildings that shone with golden light in the night.
At one point, a lane to the left seemed familiar. Like I had walked on it once. The next left turn proved my assumption to be correct. I was near the Pizza by the Bay. Thankful to find a landmark, I slowed my pace, picked a spot and sat on the edge. All my while there, I was trying to harness the superpower of Storm. (from X-men) I called out the waves silently, to make them splash hard against the rocks, but in vain. I tried to find a center; a center of force, through which I could channel my imagined superpower and unleash it on the waves. What happened was expected, which was nothing. During the process I had closed my eyes a few times and was unaware of my surroundings. I looked at my left, and a guy was looking at me with intent curiousity. He had a smirk on his face. Creepy. Timecheck- 10.31 pm. Time to go.
As I hopped down, a whim caught hold of me. So many times had I thought of getting dinner at Pizza by the Bay. And here I was. I could go. Alone. Checked my wallet. Three hundred plus change. Hell, I had my debit card. This was it. I could go in there, like a boss. Have the meal of my life. I even thought of asking some random stranger to accompany me, but then thought better than it. Finally, like the coward I was, I gave up.
I eased my way towards Churchgate station. Bought a pack of chips even though I was sick of them. What else could I do? I hadn’t eaten anything since morning, and townside seriously lacks all the roadside eateries you would usually find in the suburbs.
The train on Platform number 1 was a slow one, and this time I decided to let it go, despite the late hour. After a few minutes, a Borivali Fast was indicated on the board. 10.49 pm. The train journey passed in writing this.
I have no idea why I put this all down. But the truth is, I have never felt as free as I felt in those few hours. A free spirit, a vagabond. Happy.
P.S. I returned home safely, a few minutes before midnight, carrying a Cheese Pav Bhaji parcel. 😉