Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I was travelling from Delhi to Patna in an air-conditioned railcar.  Outside it was blistering heat of late May of a typical Indian Summer. Inside the car a gaggle of infants pampered by their doting mothers sang unmusical notes in relay formation.  Two sets of such young families hung onto a single berth each. From Patna to my native town is another six-hour journey.  Detraining, I squeeze myself into a between- towns minivan.  This is cattle-class travel. An hour later I am sitting in the powerless darkened foyer of the town's old hotel. Sweating profusely, feeling slime covered and utterly abandoned I wait for the keeper of the guest house. I have been in continuous journey mode for some 27 hours now.  My cellphone comes alive. AK Das, dear friend, is looking for my whereabouts. Thirty minutes later he is with me. Another hotel -  spanking new this time - guides me to a well furnished room. I strip and toss my travel uniform in a corner. Half an hour of religious bathing later and wrapped in a fresh towel, I am singing the best notes I remember from an old movie. The conclusion of journey in summer has rekindled the memories of last spring.

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aapki raya ka swagat hai !