Thursday, July 26, 2007

To Alandi and back

Was a strange and thought-provoking trip. Here's why.

- Spent Rs 1,200 on hiring a vehicle that would take me to Pune. Am unduly optimistic that they will reimburse me. And if they don't, I really don't think I care that much.

- Once we reached Aundh, the driver began to get a bit fidgety and asked me twice, at interval of five minutes between asking, "Madam, station hi jaana hai na?" When he asked me the third time, I snapped and asked him if he was learning my answer off by heart and would he ask another question please because that's not how you play 20 Questions?
To which he said that he had a stomach upset and that he wouldn't last out till Pune station arrived. "Main aapko auto mein bitha deta hoon, paise bhi bhar deta hun, please madam," he whined. Fearing a major stomach explosion, I agreed. Took an auto ride to Budhwar Peth on his money.

- Once there, there was no room booked in my name at the tumbledown structure that masquerades as Basera Lodge at Budhwar Peth. Turns out the office thought I was arriving in the evening, not at the crack of dawn at 9.45 a.m.

- Was told to report to the old Sakal office, where they handed me keys to a new company flat they've purchased just across the street. Good flat and all, liveable but not too cosy.

- Washed my face, changed my shirt, walked 10 minutes to the PMC bus terminal and boarded a bus for Alandi. Took exactly an hour to get there. Spent over three hours there, got my story, spoke to this one and that, then took the one-hour bus back to the flat. All on an empty stomach.

- Got back, had lunch, went back to the flat, slept well till 7.00 p.m. Then the horrible homesickness that grips me every time I'm in Pune gripped me till I went back to zombie auto-standby. Snapped out of it only after I started frantically reading reports and books and whatever I could lay my hands on. Speaking to Sandy only made me lonelier but also a bit better.

- Office the next day. Spent the whole day filing the story, which was not really as complicated as all that but just couldn't get my act together. Then attended a presentation on infographics, got my story approved by the big boss, then took the bus home.

- Felt as pukey as dammit in the bus, on three separate occasions. But have such tremendous control over myself that I quelled the rising bile in my throat every time.

- Got back safe and in time, then took the lonely train back home. Was as tired as anything. Then once I got off at Borivli station, I suddenly realised that I had forgotten to take my nightclothes off the rack on the back of the bathroom door. Which means the cleaning staff at Sakal are going to find a pair of new undies, an old green T-shirt and a pair of skimpy turquoise shorts in the bathroom, if they haven't already.

- Woke up this morning tired but otherwise okay. And now I find that getting out of bed this morning was not the best of ideas. The journey has left me feeling drained, befuddled and drowsy. Also, I am short of one cute pair of shorts.

Will post the story I filed after Sunday, which is when it appears as a full page Sunday Special Report. Yippity yay!!

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