This post is cross-posted from the Tata Jagriti Yatra blog. I’d written the post during the yatra, and it was published in the blog, back then. Looking back at my archives, I thought this post is worth publishing. 🙂 You may find the original post here. There’s another post of the same name in this blog – a post that dates four years back. Even it’s on the same lines. 🙂 You might want to check it out here.
I’m no stud. Plagiarizing the title of Kiran Desai’s booker-winning piece wouldn’t make me one either. I’m that random guy you’d find on every other sleepy, small-town in India. I’d be sitting next to you on the public bus, sipping tea (aptly paid by a couple of borrowed one rupee coins) by a chawl, or even aimlessly roaming about on a crowded city road. “Another brick in the wall.” as you (a.k.a. ‘the stud’) might put it. You’re welcome; your gratitude for my praise is duly accepted and acknowledged. And before you brush my compliment off, dismissing me with the ‘brick-wall’ figure of speech, let me shed some more piece of info, buddy. I’m a tad different. I’ve this not one among these regular red bricks you see piled up by construction sites. I’ve a distinct shade of orange.
It took me a nation-wide train journey to fully comprehend the implications of my difference – A journey, which not only made me bankrupt and awakened me to the point of enlightenment. Bankrupt, because the organizers snubbed out my humble pleas for sponsorship and I had to bust my life’s savings for it. Enlightened, because even though I’m penniless, I’ve found my calling, and I’ve learned hundred times more than what they teach you at those B-schools.
Apologies for the digression and the hyperbole – but then again, you might’ve had an insight into the nuances of my simple mind. And allow me to get back to where I started off – the booker winning book’s title. I plagiarized the title because it was the phrase that made the most sense to me, given the chaotic circumstances. With your due permission, I shall elaborate on what actually transpired.
Okay, so to cut the human excreta, this train journey which instilled high hopes in me, not to mention romanticized notions of the country, was marked by the four letter word L-O-S-S. Materialistically speaking, I lost more than what I gained. Did you hear the song about a raspy-voiced guy singing about the things he’d lost in the past seven days? If not, shame on you. Feed yourself some staple food from your country’s watched movie industry, st-ude (st-ude = stud + dude, for further references). And since it’s been exactly seven days into this ‘Yatra’ and I’m sort-of maniacally-obsessed by the song, being the random movie-obsessed guy that I am, I thought I’d make the fact public, just like the raspy-voiced guy.
It all started on day 1, with an irreparable tear on my brand new Alen Solly shirt. Obnoxious optimism (with due regards to Mark Twain), made me attribute the primal loss to bad karma. With the smile back on my face, I leaped onto the train and set off. Then on, virtually, there was no looking back. Each day meant the loss of a new item. My favourite Nokia 3110c, my toothbrush, an unopened Reebok tee, an IIM Bangalore watch, my towel (lost to laundry), countless pens, medicines, and God-alone-knows-what. When I say the list is endless, it actually is.
It’s bad. Or rather, it’s *insert-expletive-here*. Each day, you wake up to check your purses, bags, and pockets, only to realize that you’ve another lost item. And the panic starts. You feel the trepidation in your arms, which is surprisingly infectious. Your arms, legs and your entire body, in that order, feel this blitzkrieg of adrenaline. And then, you start foraging. Your mind’s eye rushes through your memoirs of the past couple of (awake) hours, tracking your (invisible) footprints. And then, like the Na’avi from Avatar (watch the movie, if you haven’t), you leap off in pursuit. You overturn all the bags, books, blankets, soiled socks, stinky towels, and every other thing that blocks your line of sight. At first, your roommates are empathetic and willingly join-in. But with time, they realize that this is cest la vie for you. And then, you’re at the butt of ridicule. Progressively, you disappear into the ambiance as a lone maverick being, showing proof of your existence by making periodic appearances at the announcement desk beseeching the announcement of your latest loss.
If serious doubts about my optimist claim have started cropping up in your mind by now, chill. The sole reason why I never stop my search is because I know I’d find my stuff someday, somewhere. And yeah, I’ve already found most of them. Yet, each day beckons to a new loss, and I’d have to balance the pursuit of loss with the pursuit of inspiration, which I admit, is quite tasking. Yet, it’s no daunting task.
‘Cause if a brick like me can multitask, so can a stud like you! ☺
If you find some of the items that I’ve mentioned anywhere around (not necessarily in the train), do give me a buzz. I’d certainly appreciate it, not just verbally.
I actually ended up finding everything I lost on train, while plenty of others didn’t. 😛