This was the last of the planned Karnataka treks of the year. A lot of permutation, combination happened and four of us got together for trek. Hari - my wingman, Karthi - a regular from my yearly school trekking gang and Siva - friend of Mohan. None knew each other before the trek.
Day 0 - Guilt, Pleasure and Solace
Half your trips are spoilt by your leads. If you had read my trek to Har Ki Doon, you'd remember how my TL spoilt the mood. It was the same, this time too, just that this new person spoilt it a day before. I had to leave early so it felt even more horrible. This feeling of overcoming guilt is such a curious decision. What's worse is I've to decide between working long hours to not feel guilty or be guilty and carry on with what I wanna do. Things would be lot better if I don't work and not feel guilty. But I belong to the latter case.
Anways sitting in Paranur station at 10.15 AM and thinking about future, getting sick seeing tons and tons of people going to the office while I'm waiting to get out from there. So similar to my life isn't it. Every other day I would be one of those people. After the crowd dispersed I was sitting there head down along with my trekking bag, wearing my trekking shoes. Felt so much like M S Dhoni film poster. Sometimes you'd feel like, why not someone shoot my photo in this angle, it'd be epic. It was one such moment.
There were four boys, popcorn sellers, I guess from UP, two of them were fighting with each other, of course for no reason, violence is part of their life. The securities from my office were inquiring about the kids whereabouts and one was telling to each other, "ivangalukellam sapadu kedacha podhumntu irukanga" (they feel that getting food is enough). They were also inquiring, why they haven't gone to school, why they came out of town etc. The kids didn't have proper answer, they started playing (fighting) with each other, and they started playing with their own lives too.
A poor lady who came along with her kid in a shabby dress bought a popcorn, he was so happy, his mother was so happy seeing him happy. Later in the day while returning to Central after having lunch, near the subway I saw couple of people keenly looking to buy a small hand stitching sewing machine. I laughed inside, "Inga vanguravanum ezae, vikiravanum ezae, ithula nama kasta padromnu solitu irukom" (it's the poor who buys, poor who sells, but we complain about our life) Don't know why such varied thoughts were crossing my mind but it did.
Once I got into the train, in which I settled in a seat where sun wouldn't beat. There were regular train goers, mostly sad and dejected. Looking at everybody's face made me even sadder. Chennai being a sultry place, made these people sweat and look even sadder. And of course there were a couple who were getting cozy, not as cozy as go-get-a-room but cozier than aww-they-look-so-cute-together. At that moment I thought how I would have behaved. I think we'd have been the couple where an old lady, if she comes and sits opposite would smile to my girl. Of course I'd have been holding hands but not in a face turning way. Too many thoughts.
As I was reading a lot of Sujatha's short stories off late. I thought everyone sitting there would have been a protagonist of the story, except for me, I was the only misfit there. I decided that I'm going to write a Tamil short story next, I decided even the title and what I am going to write.
An elderly man, around fifty years of age and who looked older than what he really was came and sat next to me, "Sir konjam time mathi thara mudiyuma? Railway time vaikathaenu ethane vati sonaen kekala" (Sir, could you please change the time, I asked him not to keep railway time but he did in spite). I took his phone, changed the date format to 12 hours from 24 hours. Took the phone again to change the date to that day's date and PM to AM. When I asked the date, whether it was 2 nd, he said, "confirm ah second thaan sir, yenna inaki engaluku strike." (It definitely is 2 nd ,sir, because it's a strike for us today). I know that if I look at him or nod as an approval I'll get story but even though I was curious I didn't do it because of the number of people around me. He started with, "thevdiya pasanga..." but post that I didn't hear anything and his voice too got lower. Without much drama I got down at Park station and crossed the road to Central.
I thought of having lunch at the same place where my friend and I had last December before the Kumara Paravartha trek. But when I went there, I saw a restaurant in the street next to it. Sat there for meals but when I asked the waiter to bring meals he saw me with an eyes which said, "are you just gonna eat that". So I changed the order to non-veg meals. It was a simple meals with fish curry and chicken curry apart from rasam and buttermilk. Fish curry was amazing, it had a Kerala style preparation. Sometimes, things sweep you off your feet without your knowledge.