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Sunday, August 05, 2007

A pilgrim through the roads of Mumbai


If it is asked what is sanity? I would say that for me sanity is the phenomenon of experiencing bliss through some set of activities. Surprisingly I achieve that when I stand on the doors of local trains in Mumbai. When the hairs feel the cushion of winds blowing through them, occasionally water drops from heaven kisses my cheekbone; these are the moments when I forget about my home and work. Those are the moments when I’m Rajeev alone. These are the winds of change, which change entire meanings of life. I don’t regret about pending works at office, or reaching home late witnessing the curse of urban traffic.


Through sharing auto-rikshas, buses and locals, while performing the daily pilgrim. There are many wonderful instances, during my daily travel. The most glazing moment comes when I see the runway of Sahar International airport through the windows of the double-decker bus. I get in queue for longer durations only to ensure myself that I get a window seat in the upper bus of the two buses running together.


The sight of runway is spectacular. Straight and parallel runway road, green grass in surroundings, array of small, medium, large and extra large airplanes, airport vehicles and a healthy feeling of ambitious dreams all together. That is why I call it the best ever view of linear perspective I’ve seen in my life. Linear perspective or one point perspective is the plane of reference or view in which the viewer can see objects with only one vanishing point. Indeed! My dreams collectively vanish to one symbol of achievements in life. I haven’t been to airplanes, but till now I’ve seen numerous landings and take-offs.


Really it feels great to see those mammoth creatures flying overhead, either taking or lifting folks. Well, I remember my school visit to AirForceStation Gorakhpur, I was a kid then. The back to back take-offs of three Jaguars* fighter planes were a magnificent experience for life. We were asked by AirForce officials to see the view from a dense-black painted three sided wall. Indeed, that absorbed much of the loud sound. Still we were in decibels of sound energy. I remember we had numerous short pauses in our classes at AirForceSchool, whenever there were such arrays of jaguars went berserk.


About the two storied buses, the upper floor gives a fabulous perspective to the roads; the bird’s eye view. If you sit on the front seats, you will have air coming from three sides filling the boredom of 45 minutes ride between Kurla to Andheri into a journey of quest with innocence. The elevation of merely six to seven feet between the two floors, reminds me Ranganath’s truck journey in RagDarbari. It had a wonderful simulation of Truck (in my case double bus) with helicopter.


Well, being in a metro is very different from my life at my home town Gorakhpur. Two hours of conveyance time to office would mean, traversing a large sum of kilometers; back at my native place. In fact Thane and Andheri are not adjacent sub-urbs. There are many things to thrill on the way; but what kills the most is the waiting time. But also, one can see many faces of life, while travelling in those rush hours of Mumbai traffic. We all working folks, spanned across age group of 18 to 60 will be seen rushing towards daily destinations.


Indeed Mumbai is unbreakable; I witnessed it exactly a year before when more blood was donated than the amout spilled across the railway tracks. Folks get united in the name of Ganapati. Ganapati bappa moraya are the golden words of unity here; one can hear the roars while crossing the Mulund from thane anytime during rush hours. One shouts, many conclude. These are the words of harmony, belief, devotion and mutual agreement/understanding of utilizing maximum floor space with as many pair of feets to accomodate. Indeed, one can understand the value of a small piece of land one posses while travelling through these mass bearers and transporters (i.e. local trains only). Chanting is another lovely feature of this pilgrim. There is a sect, which chants bhajans while travelling the pilgrim. These chants are spiritual phenomenon of this journey. They fill blank spaces® of every one in the scene. They must witness trance everyday after hours of bhajans.


RajeevSrivastava
image sourced: bbc.co.uk
* jaguars are the fighterplanes, named after an agile member of the cat family. Jaguar Fighter Planes are symbol of glory to Air Force Station, Gorakhpur.
® blank spaces concept sourced from “Witch of Portebello”; Paulo Coelho 2007)

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