Hushhh… I heaved a sigh of relief when I caught my train at the Nagpur station on way back to Pune. In just two days, I had my hands more than full. As train moved, journey of my thoughts also started. This travel was part of a long journey that had begun…
Thanks to the 16-hour travel, I had jolly good time to think. I was glad I didn’t choose to fly to Nagpur. It does save time but train travel does offer relaxing moments. I don’t find train travel exhausting; I feel it refreshes. I often remember words of a political leader who once told me he was happier travelling by train, as on reaching destination, people allowed him to rest thinking the journey must have been tiring. After flight visits, meetings are planned immediately as ‘there’s no question of getting tired.’
“People hardly opt for train travel. Why you?” almost everyone I met asked me this. I knew why I was doing it. I have always loved travelling. As kids, we would often travel to Mumbai from Konkan (where I spend my childhood) at least once a year. Train was a novelty when the ambitious Konkan railway project took off. With parents, I also toured South India, Kashmir and North East. Travelling took a backseat after I started working in Pune. The train travel after a gap of a few years was indeed special.
The difference between family trips and this visit was obvious. Being alone, I could move at my pace instead of toeing kin’s line. This time, I was travelling with a purpose, for a reason. It was part of my bid to reach out to students, youngsters, especially girls and interact with youth from different regions. I carry my recently published book, as it’s a gist of what I have to say. As things worked out there, I was beginning my project from Nagpur. That’s why this travel I referred to as part of a long journey.
I had never been to Nagpur but I had heard about it a lot. My colleagues, who hail from the Orange City, guided me accurately and I was moving as if I was a frequent visitor to the place. I didn’t allow autorickshaw drivers take me for a ride. Hardcore scribes anyway don’t like to move around like novices!
My first programme was at one of the oldest schools in
. Most of the students at the girls’ school came from humble backgrounds. After my speech, I threw it open for interaction. The girls slowly opened up. What these teenagers told me was interesting, intriguing and in some cases, shocking. Some had family problems, others were in love and wished to elope with their heartthrobs and a few felt their families weren’t supportive enough. Some of them were victims of sexual abuse within families. The girls slowly opened up. I couldn’t offer solutions to them all and I must admit I didn’t have them for everyone. But the journeys of these girls were moving. Nagpur
After schools and colleges, visited some bookstores and book distributors. Wherever I went, I arrested attention. Which girl dragging a heavy bag containing 70 to 75 books wouldn’t? The bag was getting lighter at every stoppage. At the end of the second day, the bag of books was empty and the one of experience was full.
Everything went on as planned. On way back, I was looking at my visit from different angles. Expect in such travels, where do we get time to be with ourselves? The train started nearing Pune. Now I will take a rick, reach home, get fresh and rush for office. Gosh! I came to know I had to pick up my bike from my office on way home. The journey was not over!!
This is quite expected in life’s journey. You feel a leg is over but the proverbial tail remains! It’s fun if you know how to enjoy it. After all, every journey takes us to some unexplored corner within us.