A Memorable Journey
A Memorable Journey
There are some days in life which get etched in your memory forever. 3rd April 2010 was one such day of my life. A perfect trip with a perfect end. But as they say the moon is not devoid of marks even in its most charmed state, and so was not my day.
I am the kind of person who loves to go on filmy trips with cool breeze grazing through the hair, romantic music playing in the background, two love-birds walking on the beach barefooted with dark-blue, star-studded sky over the head.
My trip started at 4:30pm on that sultry evening. I dressed myself in a striking red kurta, sky-blue jeans and a matching scarf. To complete my red ensemble, I consciously put a red clutcher tying my hair high up to avoid its contact with the nape of my neck. Then came the jewellery. I am very particular about it and I would rather not wear it if I do not possess a matching one. I donned a pretty neckpiece which had three diamond pendants arranged in a vertical pattern (It was a gift from my brother), a pair of earrings which I selected from a famous shop. The earrings had a studded disco-ball suspended from the end of a silver ring and as usual a stunning stone-studded bangle in the right-hand and a white-strap Fastrack watch in the left.
It would be absolutely criminal to not mention the diamond-ring gifted by my husband on our wedding anniversary. Since I planned the trip a day ahead, so I had the time to freshly paint my nails. On such occasions, my peach-colour royal hand bag was a prized possession especially when I noticed women noticing it. My headset, a clutch, a small bottle filled with chilled water occupied the silken interior of my posh hand-bag. By this time my husband was ready and got glued to the idiot-box to use his precious time. I chose a pair of red-coloured sports foot-wear to match my scarlet appearance. And just before setting out for the trip, I took a quick bow before all the deities present in the Pooja ghar .
The scorching sun made me conscious of my make-up, though just a little. Speculating to get a seat in the BEST bus, we got on to a 512 which welcomed us with no surprise and twenty people standing on our way to the front gate. Getting on to the bus by the rear end and getting down by the front end is something which I religiously follow just to avoid any unpleasant tiff with the driver. Well, it was a short 10 minutes travel, thankfully (the commotion was getting unbearable). By now, I cared a damn about my already gone make-up. After the bus, we headed for the station. We approached platform no. 2 after getting two tickets to Ghatkopar. Now, this was really a joyride for us. The joy of getting an empty coach in the train was unmatched and I tried hard to hide my child-like grin. A thin ray of sunlight hit me directly on my face forcing me to don a frowning face throughout the ride but it was not a reason strong enough to leave my window-seat.
Alighting from the train was accompanied by the apprehension of getting the next bus. As we approached the bus stop, we saw our bus leaving and it left us with no choice but get into some action mood. We got hold of the bus after a short run. Now, this certainly was a lucky day for us, for again to our utter surprise, we witnessed the incredible sight of vacant seats.
The heat was surmounting with each passing minute. The ride lasted for over 30 minutes in which I did not miss to enjoy the radio songs. Then, after a small inquiry about the ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ temple, we got down at the Andheri bus-stop. And then began the real hunt for rickshaws for half the drivers were not aware of our destination. Fortunately the hunt ended soon and we began the final journey to out ‘T’.
I had never seen so many signals on my way to a mere distance of 2 km in my life. The meter crossed a sharp 15 bucks while we did not move an inch which resulted in a disagreement with the driver as we charged him of tampering the meter. But the man was smart enough to take his revenge by choosing the longest possible route.
A surge of joy hit me as I set my foot inside the temple. The aura was inexplicable and so was my excitement. We reached there at 6:45 p.m. and the main door of the deity’s room was scheduled to open at 7:00 p.m. I got separated from my better-half as the lines were meticulously divided gender-wise, the only exception being the children. The spell-binding chants of Hare Krishna Hare Rama mantra on the microphone forced every single living entity present there to join the tune. Our hands started clapping pretty robotically to match the rhythm. The bhajan charmed my ears and the experience was surreal.
Amidst all that, I took a hasty look at the women present around me. They were the kinds who effortlessly grab men’s eyeballs even in frayed attire while the ones like me struggle to get a glance when best-dressed. I adjusted my diamond ring to place it in the centre to flaunt it (at least).
Suddenly I was alerted by something. It was a minute left to 7. The long wait was eventually over. The curtain was removed with a loud roar of Hare Krishna mantra and a worthwhile experience of being alive suddenly gushed through my body. All we witnessed was a splendid- spectacle. The sight of gaudily-dressed Krishna was charming.
I was all engrossed in the prayer service when my attention was drawn by a lady standing to my right. Her appearance betrayed the fact that she belonged to Mumbai. And though she participated in the bhajan but she consciously chanted the Hare Krishna mantra not only in a different tone but also in a different rhythm. Another remarkable thing about her was haywire head movement. Her behaviour revealed that she was trying to make a room for a devi-possessed state. Apparently, she wanted to be noticed and she quite succeeded in her attempt. Towards the end, when the aarti reached its pinnacle, as expected the lady in a quite scary way was moving her head in countless complete circles. Nobody, including me dared to go near her and control her and I turned my face away to avoid the situation. But then when I turned back, I saw a girl, in her early twenties and pretty tall, holding this lady with full strength with a serene smile on her face. The white tilak on her forehead gave an impression of her being a member of the temple. I cannot forget that glowing face and her amazing audacity to make that move. I wanted to help her in controlling the lady but something held my feet. In the next 2-3 minutes the lady was successfully brought under control by the girl. The security guards did not miss the chance to comment on her sarcastically. Sadistically enough, I also wanted to join them.
Then after taking a final bow, I joined my husband and we moved out of the temple through the gallery which was full of ISKON’s items, available for sale. The end of the gallery was occupied by some really tempting food items. After fulfilling our eating vices, we headed towards the exit. It was time to head to the beach, which was the main attraction for me. After enquiring about the beach from a couple of people, we reached the venue.
The cool wind grazing my face filled me with freshness in that sultry evening. The scene was unparalleled and soothing. The beautiful sequence of lights at the edge of the other end of the sea was a visual-delight. It did not take me seconds to take my shoes off. Needless to say my husband did not; rather he gave me a frowned look when I did so. We started walking. I still remember the acupressure treatment given to my feet by the sand. I enjoyed every bit of the moment whereas my sweetheart was over occupied by the apprehension of getting the bus back on time. On my insistence, we sat near the beach for some time. And then it was time to leave. Half-heartedly I bade goodbye to the roaring waves and as we approached the road, my eyes stopped at the gola-cart. We decided to take the kala-khatta golas from among a list of flavours given. The one name which attracted me was ‘the traffic jam’ flavour. Pretty understandably the name was chosen to identify with the day-to-day traffic-disaster faced by thousands of travellers in Mumbai.
We were enjoying our golas comfortably seated on a concrete bench near the stall, when we saw a family of three opting to go for the golas as well. There was an elderly lady, a young newly-wed girl and her husband. The fact that the lady was the newly-wed’s mother-in-law was apparent from the latter’s behavior. After having a quick analysis of the girl from top to toe, I got back to my gola-indulgence.
I saw my husband struggling to decide which part to start from while I sipped it quite skilfully. I was alerted when I saw a group of street dogs approaching us. They were apparently attracted by the other stalls near ours. One among them did not belong to the group and so was bitterly threatened by the other dogs. The expression on the outsider’s face was scary and daunting. Alerted by some intuition, it took me very little time to decide and convince my husband too to move to another place.
No sooner did we move away from that place that the four animals got involved in a fierce fight and the ostracised one was pushed towards the elderly lady standing there. Before she could realise what was happening, her legs slipped and she fell over the dog. My hair was raised to the ends to see the scene that followed. The lady was literally stuck among the dogs and what exacerbated the situation was the fact that she was lying on the ground. I saw more than one dog stepping over her body to find a way to escape. Flabbergasted by the turn of events, even her relatives were left dumbfounded. It was then that the son and the daughter-in-law came forward to her rescue. It took her more that 1 minute to get back on her feet despite the help offered. Ostensibly, it was the embarrassment and the creepy feeling of just having experienced the animals’ leg on her skin that shook her more than the bruises. She was shuddering even after getting up. The nearby shop owners were kind enough to offer her a chair and water. And I could not thank god enough for having prevented that disaster from occurring with me. I thanked my presence of mind. And as we headed back to our home sweet home, I kept cherishing the sweet moments of the day!!