"If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction."Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
German Lutheran pastor and theologian
But yet we do it.
At daybreak on the 28th of February, at the tail of an overnight train journey from Mumbai, I sat up abruptly from my bunk like a pearl diver breaking the surface of the sea, gasping for air. That's how I usually wake up from bed - with a sudden spring to attention at the first stirrings of consciousness. Gentle risings with yawns and slow stretches just aren't dramatic enough to kick-start my brain. I always end up curling tighter and slipping back into oblivion somehow that way. The fact that I was just starting my month long vacation just can't convince my habitual reflexes to stay coiled. I checked my cellphone and found that I have waken up about 2 minutes before my alarm was set to go off.
I peeked into my trip mates' bunks and I found, quite unsurprisingly, that they were all still quite comatose - most of them completely zipped and cocooned in their sleeping bags. The night had been quite frigid, and I have people who would swear that it was just a few degrees short of polar. Somehow, I survived with just a T-shirt on my back and no blanket (and quite characteristically, I called everyone who bought a sleeping bag a "pussy"). For some reason or other, I am naturally quite impervious to the cold. Maybe the fact that I spent the first 2 years of my life in Genting Highlands had something to do with that.
Anyhow, I always enjoyed being the first person to be up. I mean, while everyone was still cutting Z's, I get to see this,
I have seen a bigger share than most of sunrises in my time, and many of them I'd consider to be more than just magnificent. I believe that the enjoyment of a sunrise is more than an affair of the eye. I believe that it is a deeply spiritual experience, and you would not find me in a more solemn and religious state of mind than when I am facing east at the break of dawn.
And just how perfect a sunrise is - I think it's all about attitude. Waking up on my own accord without the aid of the annoying beeps of an alarm clock on a train snaking through the scenic mountainous plains of Rajasthan on an old narrow gauge railroad at the very beginning of a month-long holiday... well, it was kind of difficult not to be in the right attitude.
Any sunrise which stirs my insides and makes me want to breath long and deep, to try to take as much of the morning into me - that, my friend, is a perfect sunrise.
I checked on my trip mates again, finding most of them still in deep hibernation. Some were already roused by my jumping down from my bunk earlier with an almighty thump and throwing the shutters open as violently as I could. Hey, it's rude not to share such an awesome view and sunrise, right?
It is the promise of a day anew, every single time the sun peeks from the distant horizon with its rays filtering through the early mist. It is a performance of cosmic proportions - God's, if he truly does exist - and we get to watch it for free every single daybreak. I guess that is always the case with things which are always available and cost nothing; people take them for granted. Like Love.
Nowadays, it is quite possible to just hop onto a jet and fly right to Udaipur with the minimum of fuss and time - and many do. Sure, it's heckuva lot costlier but once folks have seen something they wanted to see at one place, they just want to get to the subsequent place on their checklists as quickly as possible to see the next awesome thing. And mankind just keeps finding more and more efficient ways for everyone to do that. No one wants to take a whole night to get somewhere when there's a one-hour flight available in the nearest neighborhood airport. Sorry if I made airports sound like 7-11's but that's how they feel like to me these days. Flying used to be practically magic, but that's another story for another post altogether.
Those people who chose to fly would have missed that beautiful ride I had through the hills that morning, and I am pretty sure they don't mind that the least bit at all. They can't. No one can miss what they never have.
A journey is what one takes when one goes from one place to another. Let us not not forget that everything in between them are places too. Aside from sunrises, I believe that these are the more precious things people have taken for much less than what they are worth.
Don't miss the train.
k0k s3n w4i