There really is something magical about writing and letting one’s thoughts out into the cosmos…no sooner do I spill my funk-beans online…news of my first Funk-buster’s impeding arrival, warms my heart 🙂 I feel light and joyous like a bird that’s just been released from its cage! It’s Pushpa, my helper, arriving back right on schedule. My messiah, my bringer of sanity, my gateway to a free world 🙂
Then the crazy logistics hit me. In typical Sagittarian fashion, I’ve forgotten to tell her which station she needs to get off at! There are 4 railway stations in Goa and now we’re all in a panic as to where she’ll get off and, “How on earth will we trace her? Poor girl, travelling all alone too!” The panic sets in because her cell phone is not working. Both hubby and I have tried her number every half-hour to no avail. The battery’s gone and died on us all, at this crucial hour (talk about Murphy’s Law!). Be that as it may, it still leaves us with no solution to the problem. Finally I decide to go to Margao, the last station on the route and also the train’s last stop. The station is an hour-long drive away and I don’t know the way, so I call hubby’s brother who lives in Margao and who kindly offers to come with me, both to show me the way and help in the search. He’s a gem 🙂
Hubby meanwhile, is off to the port city of Vasco da Gama (named after the famed Portuguese navigator who first landed near Calicut, on India’s south-western coast in 1498), with his buddies from Portuguese class to tour the N. R. P. Sagres, which is docked in Goa, as a part of its round-the-world trip, commemorating that first voyage all those centuries ago. Hubby takes his Portuguese nationality rather seriously. Talk about priorities! So while he’s off on his voyage of discovery, I’m off on my own ‘Mission Pushpa’.
My brother-in-law and niece come along to keep me company. We get to Margao station at 7 o’clock, after ascertaining that the train has been delayed by an hour (which can mean anything here in India!). At the station, the disinterested man in the Information Booth, tells us the train is 40 minutes late and he’ll let us know the platform number when it’s decided later! There’s nothing to do and nowhere to sit. The railway station is a place in constant flux. Nothing is permanent, except perhaps the stalls and their wares; the hoards of cockroaches which scurry around making me nauseous and the perpetual stench of urine. The seats are full of waiting passengers, with varying degrees of baggage, whiling away time, eating, sleeping, playing cards and the like; families with children on their way home after the quintessential Goan holiday, their bags probably bursting with cashew-nuts, cashew-feni, and shell-souvenirs; gangs of workers in their patchy, sweaty attire off home to see their families; the small-town businessmen, clad in vintage ‘safari-suits’, greasy looking and full of self-importance, distinguished by the single smart briefcase or valise; all waiting for a ride to their next destination, which likely as not is delayed!
We stand around watching the comings and goings on the platform and make conversation for half-hour before the loudspeaker overhead, crackles to life and a disembodied female voice loaded with static, announces the arrival of the Mandovi Express (that’s our train!), from Mumbai, on Platform No.1! Yoohoo! We are in the right place and there’s no need now to scale the gargantuan staircase that connects the two platforms 🙂 A good 15 minutes after said announcement, the train lumbers into the station. It screeches to a halt and we split up to look for Pushpa among the disembarking throngs. While I’m fairly certain Pushpa will do the right thing and get off here, deep down, the nervous jitters persist. What if she’s not on the train? What if she gets off at the wrong station? A ton of what ifs, each one frightening. My niece and I walk towards the engine, while my brother-in-law checks out the rear carriages. We see a horde of humanity but no Pushpa. We turn back and my nerves are back in full force, until we meet my smiling brother-in-law, gesturing to Pushpa, who’s following behind 🙂 We smile and embrace, and in that instant I see before me long hours of free time in which to write, read, sleep and just Live!
Suddenly, all is right with the world 🙂