Keoladeo National Park, a set on Flickr.
A few frames captured
This was a journey that was being planned an expected for quite sometime. All excited and a bit unhappy too as a few couldn’t make it finally. Yet I took the first leg of the journey on a interstate bus to Hospet. The Rajhans didn’t have enough space for my Delsey strolley suitcase, so it got lodged on a vacant seat beside me. A few stops during the night, a few lit cigarettes, couple of cups of tea from the roadside dhaba, and the eastern sky started to lit up. Started getting calls from the party coming from Kolkata on train, which was supposed to reach before me, but reached 3 hours late, and the welcoming party that was restless for the late arrivals.
Two days of extravaganza, experiencing a new culture, the two main characters covered by haldi at midnight and getting public bath of boiling hot water and ice cold water, eating a few kilos of sugar as blessings, getting showered by colored rice (instead of flowers that we are used to), and a procession of well wishers later, I have experienced on more style of marriage. Before this I have experienced a Bengali wedding (obviously), and Punjabi, Bihari, Marwari, Oriya, Arya samaji, Sikh, Muslim and Christian weddings. Yet this was different.
Met an Amma who is double M.Com., speaks fluent English, calls herself mad as she feels everybody else is mad too in their own way and who called me a superior being fit to be Guru, as I chose to sit on the ground, while everybody was sitting on chairs and sofas. The party that got ready to embark on the next phase of the journey was larger, as it also included me and a few more from the bride’s family. The train was already two hours late when it arrived. Yes train, after the bus, the second leg of the journey was scheduled on a train, a 36 hours journey that ended after 42 hours.
In a way, this was the journey of introspection. Lots and lots of time in hand, out of my castle and among people who are among the closest. A few unscheduled stops in between, a few sajne data (drumstick), and sajne phool plucked, lots of good and bad stuff to eat (jhalmuri, chapta chana, chana jor garam, mungphali, buiscuits, chay, coffee, and thali meals that none but me could digest). A dense fog, unlike any usually seen in eastern part of the country delayed the already delayed journey, but as a boon we reached kolkata in the wee hours of the morning instead of midnight as we were anticipating.
A couple of days of hectic activities, people converging in, some to meet social obligation, some to be part of the enjoyment. Meeting a cousin after 15 long years, his wife and kid – the item girl at 3 for the first time. Jethu’s (that’s me for the item girl) name getting used both to feed her as well as making her dance, my moustache getting invaded by couple of tiny hands. And getting another excuse for the gang of Bhawanipore college to meet. Saw the triplet of one of the faithful gang member, and they became the star attraction. And in between noticing the behaviors and responses and reactions of all around on a socially misfit person.
A time taken off for the shoulder bearer who went to meet the closest friend of all the years that passed. And utilizing the time to wait, to take a tour of the place that once I used to call mine, for more than a decade. Most of the things have changed, only a few known faces litting up in recognition, a few trees nodding their head, a few broken park walls, and wooden garden fences that has only deteriorated. Exchanging words with someone who has watched all those assign by on the street – the neighborhood “Iron Man” (presswalah – for the un-initiated) Somnathbhai.
Emotions, realizations and questions those were the crowd in the mind after the CD was cut to hold the 414 images snapped on the Nokia camera phone. A marriage and an anniversary of Marriage 39 years old, and it was time for me to fly; fly back to my castle.
It was that foggy night on the train, when all were asleep, except one figure standing on the open door, peeking out to see which way the train was heading. Only the floating clouds of fog told him that there are more questions than answers. A lure of disappearance in the enchanting darkness was broken only by a sudden beaconing of a vermilion streak. The lure was broken, yet the mountain of questions kept mounting. Will the deluge stop, or will it only drive the crack in the belief into a heap of rubble. Even the Horus of Egypt had to die because of poison in the battle.
Fighting the time to reach those answers; swimming in the tidal wave of questions. Will there be enough time to reach? If it is just a wait for this life, why shouldn’t one start the new one? Groping in the darkness, bouncing inside the four walls a voice trickled in – promising answers. Answers that I “will” get. Are they already coming? Are those loud and clear ones the answer I should take. Am I missing the obvious? It seems that the fight will go on. Is it the resurrection of Horus? Or is it just another battle and not the end of the war. Only the time will tell.
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