If you have watched Wake up Sid, I hope you remember this... A lone small town girl comes to live alone in a busy city like Mumbai. She being a journalist writes an article on her life in the city of dreams.
Whenever I watch this movie, I will turn nostalgic and the memories of my first journey from a small town in Kerala to Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai will come into my mind. I was 21 years old at that time; old enough to take care of myself and differentiate between what is good and bad. Above all, I was not scared. Why should I be? My tickets were booked, my cousin would be waiting to receive me and I knew where I should go and whom I should meet!
Everything said, I was scared too... It was my first lone overnight train journey. What if I sleep off? Chennai Central was the last stop! What if someone steals my baggage? They have better things to do!
My dear heart and brain were busy bickering and I drifted off to sleep, unmindful of the cacophony. But only after setting the mobile alarm!
I gave a wake-up call to my cousin, as requested and I eagerly awaited the destination. I got down the coach with the hope of catching a glimpse of my cousin. But he was not there. Then my mobile buzzed. He said he will reach in ten minutes time and I was asked to wait in front of my coach. I obeyed. And I was not scared! I called my parents and told that I have reached safe and tactically lied that my cousin has reached and we are walking towards the Exit. I didn’t want to worry them.
I felt glad when I saw him. He said that he is coming straight from office and that he has been working day and night because their project was going air. He admitted that he hope that no problem comes up. Then he took me to his tiny abode. We chattered and recalled those old days when we were young and the games that we played. I felt at home!
Later, I got ready to my institute. And my cousin declared, “A call from office came. An emergency.” My heart started racing.
My travel was planned in a short-notice and my cousin was busy at office. If going to the institute is of utmost importance to me, it is equally important for him to go to office. But, how will I go? I shuddered.
“I will drop you at the bus stand and you can catch bus from there”, he said. It sounded simple and I agreed.
But the bus stand was humongous. Almost as big as an airport! I thanked him. I also asked him not to worry about me and that I will keep him updated. But I was scared! I started praying within as I pondered to the bay where the buses to my destination arrive.
I know Tamil – to read, wriute and talk. Yet when I talked they asked, “Malayali?” I realized that I am a misfit! Finally, I found the bus whose conductor assured me that it would take me to institute. I asked him to let me know when the stop comes.
As I stood on the crowded bus and as the big-big buildings went past us, I started feeling lighter. The scary thought of someone kidnapping me or hoodwinking me was still lingering in my mind.
The conductor came running to me and said, “I forgot. It was last stop”
My eyes started becoming moist and I quivered. He asked me to get down on the next stop and told me the directions to reach there.
A girl, a few years older than me, offered to walk me to institute. She said she works in a hotel near it. I nodded. I trembled and fumbled. I struggled to make each step. I was very scared.
Then, I sighed. I told myself that I am with me and I can’t be scared when I am there! Yes I uttered that complicated line to myself.
Finally, I reached my institute. I thanked her. And as I entered into the prestigious institute, pride was alluring me. I realized that I can be independent and that world/people are not as bad as others say/hear.
From that day, till today, I no new place has scared me. It has only appealed to me. I believe that incident taught me to swim glidingly. But not by offering a life jacket and strong hands. But pushing me into the middle of an ocean and asking me to fight the waves and reach shore!