I had done 15 mins of meditation and some good deep breaths. Since I had decided to venture out today I knew my morning mindfulness would pay off. I was in two minds. Should I take the metro or Uber?
I went for the former. Now that metro station near to my home can take me to places that have metro connectivity. Suddenly I noticed that all the places appeared to be within reach. My destination was just a 10-minute walk from the nearby Metro station. I informed the person that since I was taking the metro it should be safe for me to get there on time. I stepped out of the house at 8:55 AM. A walk to the metro station nearby was for 9 mins and I was just in time to catch the incoming train. It was my first trip on this stretch which got connected with the rest of the metro layout recently. So I was not able to tell my friends upfront at what time I would be over there for the meeting. This was in sharp contrast to my experience in Munich in 2007 where my colleagues used to take a print of the Metro timings with door-to-door details. It includes details of the feeder bus and walking timetables. I am sure we will soon get there in no time.
I got on the train at 9:09 AM. I took my pen and noted it down on a little cue card inside my wallet. Noticed that there were free seats and I took one and that is when I decided not to put those earbuds and kept my cell phone inside my backpack. It was 25 minutes of rich experience. I saw myself in the midst of a kaleidoscope of life’s moments. It was about media and entertainment. Media because most of them were on their phones and either hearing songs, cricket highlights, or playing games. I saw earbuds of different colors and shapes all around. I saw the diversity. Different languages, Different dresses, and Different types of songs. I was sitting next to an elderly person. I noticed that he was preparing for a party in the evening. The number of calls he was making and the way he was mentioning the details of the evening menu, I could make out that he was the host. He even nudged one person to reverse his decision as he said, ” Electric train, the metro is there so why don’t you drop by”. Electric train, was he in Mumbai? Before the metro came in we all knew only about Mumbai Local trains. A couple with two kids was sitting facing me. I got a picture that they were in a picnic mood and were showing the kids places outside continuously in the stretch. The kids were fully attentive and nicely asking questions.
Elderly uncle by now has put on his earbuds and I guess was listening to some classical music. The way his hands were falling on his thighs as they say, ” knowledgeable rasikas put thalams on their thighs”. I forgot to mention that I gave my seat to another elderly gentleman who was by now wondering which thalam is his fellow passenger listening to. It was a sight to watch. A few seats away, I saw a middle-aged person babywearing (the practice of wearing or carrying a baby in a sling or in another form of carrier). Baby got up in between and was grabbing hand holders one by one and having a gala time. I was reminded of that line from Fooled by Randomness, ” We are still very close to our ancestors who roamed the savannah”. A lady was holding her bag with the message “Happy heart, happy smiles” which to me nicely aligned with my RICH philosophy. It was time for BTS (Boy Band) fans to enter the scene. I tried to make sense of those code languages between them only to be disappointed. By the looks of it, they were living by this motto…
As I exited out of the gate after 25 minutes there was that thrill of reaching on a Sunday morning without much trouble on the way. It was the first time in 10 years I had taken a local metro trip where I was observing so many things around me. I started traveling in outstation trains alone when I was 21 years old and those trips had a profound impact on my life. You meet so many people and those were the days without media and there was only entertainment by way of sharing your life stories, reading each other’s papers and magazines, and finally sharing snacks or food if we become very close with your fellow passengers. I have always enjoyed that sense of instant togetherness. This short metro trip gave me enough to cherish for a good Sunday. Most importantly, I reached my destination without breathing deeply…As Anna Funder nicely said :
I like trains
I like their rhythm
I like the freedom of being suspended between two places all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I am going…