More often than not, the concept of going away doesn’t quite sink in until the engine has started roaring.

And it’s only when Delhi has zapped away making way for scatterings of civilization each a few more minutes of darkness away than the previous, that it really sinks in.

This time however, I have managed to surpass all of that and have arrived at a new realization of going away. It’s when you wake up from deep slumber in a rickety bus that’s shuffling your bones from one state to the other and you realize that you are not home. Why? You don’t know why. And you can’t quite believe that you are half way to a destination without really meaning to be there! And then you shrug and go back to sleep because it’s too much to worry about. You just want to take one step at a time.

It was at 9.30 p.m. last night that I boarded the bus. A rickety thing really, but thankfully empty enough to allow me the comfort of spreading out on two seats. Until Chandigarh, where Jeetu and group boarded. Then seat number 16 was occupied along with a bit of seat number 15. Because turns out Jeetu hold the capacity of increasing his body mass besides knowing how to till farms. A young Jaat boy who’s bemused at having a woman by his side. Just as much as his friends.

I don’t know if all journeys end well. I don’t know if unplanned journeys turn out to be disastrous more often than not.  But I don’t want to worry about that. That’s getting too ahead of time. So here I go, on an impulse to Manali because Sikkim stands cancelled.  As of now, I’ll let the shocking and surprising disco of a world of aromas of grated steel, rotting flesh, water logged farms, milk powder, dung, freshly baked rotis of the Indian highways transport you and me to where the bus is going. And let the wind make your face feel numb and your hair all sticky with the mud.

Juggle along because there’s a lot to be seen.

Published by Neetole Mitra