The previous chapters…
The next day was the Safari! At 6 in the morning! 6 in a January Morning! Mufflers, beanies, jackets, goggles, gloves, everything that was brought the days before the trip after months of brainstorming were pulled out as we got ready for the road safari. The open air jeep took us inside the Corbett reserve at speeds of 80 in that morning frost. This was enough for our faces to go paralyzed with cold. Huge pine trees, intertwined with rhododendron lied on either sides as we traveled through the oldest park of the country. The jeep struggled over pebbles at the river side and made way over the tracks with depressions formed by the wheel hoops.
Stumps were placed in the afternoon as teams got readied for a game of Cricket. Sailing sixes, missed catches and loads of excitement marked the matches with our team winning both of them. The bus was getting readied for long travel back to Delhi. We still had time on our hands as we looked around the the forest resort. Again a plate of momos was ordered followed by steaming bread-omelette. Fried in a mix of spices and egg, the omelette was paired up with the toasted bread, all while we sat across the table on the final day of the tour.
The bus honked as we packed our cases for the last time, late evening at the gates of the hotel. It was an overnight journey from Corbett to catch the morning 9.20 train from Delhi to Mumbai. Amidst the fog and a few stops for refreshments, we were inching towards Delhi. Slowly as the journey progressed in the dark of the light, one by one everyone fell asleep.
I smiled as the train of reminisces stopped in the present second. The last 12 days and nights had been incredibly revised back in my head as I still looked outside the misty window at Delhi at dawn. It started here! The sky was opening up as rays pierced through the foggy atmosphere as our bus stopped outside Sarai Rohilla Station. It was the Green and Yellow train again, only this time in the opposite direction.
Later that night, after the final talks at the gates of the train which now had a little flavor of nostalgia into it, everyone started to retire to their berths. It was 4 in night and almost the whole train was deep asleep. The last friend left at 4.30 after some really good talk as I found myself staring at the dark fields and plains outside the door.
Mumbai was inching closer and so was the end of college. Like all good things, the four years were coming to a close. The past fortnight I spent traveling across the state of Uttarakhand with the people that formed a big part of my life these past few years. When in the future we may cross our paths somewhere, we would be undoubtedly brought to this trip that we undertook. The time we spent together at the college would be the cake with the trip being the icing on the top. The train took every sleeping soul together that night, a phenomenon unprecedented and unthinkable in the future. Melodious strumming of the guitar by that music guys entralled us on our way to Delhi as also we met the very Haryanvi Hardik and the super pretty Ananya on our way back. We spent chilly nights around the bonfires alongside foggy roads sipping on cutting chais while meeting our classmates travelling almost parallel with us!
With careers and responsibilities forming a big part of the later life, this trip gave us something to look back and smile. I was fascinated at the whole thought of the unpredictable future that laid in front of everyone of us. How we were brought into this college, most of us against our wishes and how the four years passed by. We grew closer to each other and were making some damn good memories on the way. The laughs we shared, the vivas we undertook unitedly, the bated breathes before the results, the painful submissions, the late nights at college, the hugs at NYEs and at the freshers’, the birthday parties and fussy contributions, the footloose dances at DJ nights and garbas, the little arguments and patch ups, the heartbreaks and newfound romances… That night abroad the express train, standing at that door with nothing but swift winds and staring blank at the dark outside, everything came to back. It was an amazing feeling! College is ending and I’m gonna take back with me so much for a lifetime to endure and to look back to! I plugged on my ear phones for the first time in last 12 days and the song started right in between going as,
“कैसा अजब ये सफर है, सोचो तो हर एक ही बेखबर है,
उसको जाना किधर है, जो वक्त आऐ जाने क्या दिखाऐ!!!! “
Well, to say goodbye is to die a little, but we must walk ahead! Till we meet again…