Sunday, August 17, 2008

Where I Belong

The following is an excerpt from my travel journal:

16th of August, 2008

The cab drove away, leaving me standing with a large black hard case on my left, a smaller black canvas bag on my right, a black laptop bag riding on my back, and a black messenger bag swinging from my shoulder in front of the bright, neon-lighted entrance of the Mangalore Central. There is this eddying pool of emotion somewhere deep in my stomach that made me feel restless, glad and accomplished, all at the same time. There's no reason why it should be, but it felt just like coming home.

For a few seconds, I just stood there savouring that something in the air. Was it the possibilities? The sense of destination? Whatever it was, it was satisfying. Then I walked, dragging the dead inertia of the past two-and-a-half years with me. This is too much baggage, I thought to myself, and I wasn't just thinking of my circus of black bags.

I love going to a railway station with a ticket clutched in my hand. It gives me purpose, tells me that I'm going somewhere. It's not like getting into a car or sitting in an airport terminal. There is something intrinsically realistic and sensible about trains. There are tracks - and you don't go off them.

I was hungry and tired. I was hungry because I skipped dinner - packing up the last vestiges of my life in Manipal at the better part of the day. I was tired because I only slept for two hours the night before and the one hour I took at 2:00 pm didn't even begin to compensate it. There was a paper on Paediatrics, Medical Ethics and Palliative Medicine I had to study for. Fast forward to 8:00 pm, eight hours later, in front of the neon-lighted Mangalore Central, I was at my absolute limit and my mind was swimming.

But I was there. I was back at where I belonged. On track.

The first order of things was to get my hunger fixed. I bought a tin foil dinner box from the railway catering kitchen which had a big E.B. scribbled on the top of it. It stood for Egg Biryani; spiced rice, sautéed onions and two whole boiled eggs to call my own. I found a seat between two Indian men who looked as if they were waiting for something other than the train, erected a little barricade with my bags in front of me and tucked in with gusto. Now that's a word I have not used in a long, long time; gusto. I need a lot more gusto in my life.

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At 9:00 pm, the 6628 West Coast Express pulled into the station and came to rest groaning beside Platform 1. I found my berth in the S2 Sleeping Car, an auspicious number 7.

At 9:30 pm, the view outside the window started to move and I was confused for a minute before I realised that the train was pulling out of the station. It had something to do with my mind flickering like a computer running on too few overworked processors, I guess. Time to stop writing and get that fixed too, I think. Come 10:00 am tomorrow, I'll be in Salem where Phoebe's waiting for me.

Today is the first of my last days in India.

9 comments:

fubi said...

yay! ur finally here *smooches* xD

fuolornis said...

enjoy ur trip man! and have a good time with phoebe

p/s: they were cleaning your room went i to acharya today

- yuhhui - said...

I like your style of writing! keep writing even when u're in melaka. =)

- yuhhui - said...

hey, i need your help.. can you recommend me a good hostel - with good facilities, short walking distance and clean rooms? =)

k0k s3n w4i said...

fubi: :D

fuolornis: we're having the best time of our lives here :P u too, with ur girl!

- yuhhui -:well, according to phoebe, sharada's ur best bet if you want a single room but it isn't very near. abt 10-15 mins walking. Indira's nearer (6-7 mins) but aren't as good. the ultimate is Chandrashekar hostel (or its sister, New Chandrashekar). it's almost right in front of the dissection hall and lecture halls, but the price is insane.

- yuhhui - said...

hey, thanks so much for the advices. Is Sharada clean? Erm. how about New Ac? the prices quoted in the booklet and the sites are in indian rupees right? They never specify. New Ac costs about 60,000 annually ( in indian rupee i think). is it worth the money?

Yen said...

I have something for you in you mail box. It a pretty urgent matter.

YEN.

k0k s3n w4i said...

- yuhhui -: I haven't seen the booklet but I s'pose they are in rupees (dividing the amount by 11 should give u a good estimate in ringgit). New AC's for boys only and phoebs said that Sharada is clean. none of the hostels is really worth it, actually. just pick one, weather it for a year, then hunt for a place outside.

yen: going now to look into it xD

- yuhhui - said...

Oh crap. New AC is for boys only?? =( I ticked that !! Crap. Anyway, thanks for the advices. =) I appreciate it a lot. Thanks !!