As I was naval-gazing on how my perspective should be positioned in Kolkata hereafter, our chauffer Jumon had already parked the car in the designated garage of our apartment complex and I was home. A warm and ritualized gesture of Jumon not letting me offload luggage from the boot, was and has always been very humbling. This was one of the sweet entitlements which I missed in my solitudinous life. Not only did I park my vehicle then, I also dragged my suitcase to the first floor which meant that the lurking thought of the mundane rat race had started to become prominent.
I had lesser than a month before my solo expedition was to kick start. My levels of interaction with my traveler & childhood friend Kat, increased substantially for periodical re-assurances (a typical aftermath of social conditioning where re-assurances render a sense of comfort) and of course to help me with my travel lay-outs. I believe that one can gather strength by voicing out their vulnerabilities to individuals who let your uninhibited self flow at its own pace. It of course comes with a caveat i.e the sense of ownership one takes on their actions. I also think throwing a solution at every instance of voicing out, is not necessary, unless sought. That according to me is unsolicited. Having said this, I feel its an innate responsibility to be able to choose your set of people wisely, who let your sense of coherence remain intact which might seem incoherent to others. Kat belongs to that wisely lot who helped transform my visualization into manifestation.
As days passed by, 16 corrugated packed boxes arrived into Kolkata which was my additional baggage from Chennai. The task of accommodating the contents in my mother’s scheme of life felt herculean. I convinced my parents that “organizing a home” was my forte and sorting of things would be managed efficiently and with utmost fairness. A list of existing & newly arrived goods that needed to be sorted, were penned down. Ma would invariably deny to dispose off things, and that by logic, would lead to inconsequential tiffs. And guess what? Till date, not a single question has been raised on things which were disposed. Their existence at home had become a distant memory and is now erased completely. The benefactors amidst the salvaging & disposing of things were our house help Jhorna and chauffer Jumon.
In the midst of all the activities, I called the head of The Himalayan Village School quietly to ensure that my name was included in their list of volunteers and that I had a place to stay. The thrilling state of being unconventional was accompanied by a streak of insecurity. My traveler friends were pro-active in advising on essentials that were important and required in a back pack. My family decided to buy me a sleeping bag which would keep me warm in temperatures as low as 5 degree celsius and that gesture was indeed a pleasant surprise! They had been apprehensive about my solo trip and more so that it would last for 2 months. Quite understandable from their viewpoint. However, I could feel that things had started to pan out as envisioned. Tangibly & intangibly!
And finally, the day had arrived. I would head dive into the unconquered zone. Jumon carried my back pack on his shoulders from the apartment to the car & loaded it in the boot. I watched his slightly bent body from a distance and saw myself carrying that load on my shoulders for the 2 months. I pondered on the sight and asked myself, “was he weak or was I strong”? He then drove me to the Howrah station & ensured that I was comfortably placed on the side berth of an AC II Tier coach in the Rajdhani Express… and bid good bye.
It was a train journey again. And I had the time to be slow. I started my journey to New Delhi, my first transit destination. With an apprehensive heart, and a refreshed mind…
Proof read by: Maryann Joseph
Art by: Avidip Kundu