Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Caught the Homeward Wind

- from my "On the Road Again".
Whew! Finally got to Old Delhi…”The City Of Djinns” as Dalrymple baptizes her in his book. The city that never sleeps, never tires… always moving, hustle and bustle forever. I glanced at my watch and realised that I had less than 30 minutes to make it to the station before I missed my bus home. I got an auto-rickshaw to the Tourist Station at 30Hazare from the outskirts of Old Delhi. All along the way, I was thinking of a back-up plan if I missed the bus …it was that close!
When I got to the tourist station I sought out the driver, a rugged old man in a worn-out khaki suit, and inquired as to how much time we had before we roared off. “Paanch minute baetee”, he answered with the typical Delhi slur. Five minutes! All the while, I had been sweating like an ice-cream melting in the Sahara. I strolled into the backyard. “Toilet-Only Staff” it said. I looked around and quickly slipped inside and latched the door. I stripped in record time, took a shower, dried myself as much as I could with my handkerchief, aired my jockeys and then…out! All before you could say “Obaid! You desperately need a bath!!!” Since the last four days, I had been continuously travelling by rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, the Indian Railway, the Metro and now I was to board an inter-state tourist bus.
The air cools down a bit as if to soothe my morning rush as I light up ‘half a ciggy’ with a bottle of chilled ‘mountain dew’ and try to jot down some sleezy lines before the engine roars to life and off we go again like a projected cannon-ball. “Well darling! Love has caught the homeward wind now”…
…Watching the world unfolding as we head on, fading thoughts flash through my mind, milestones whizz by, the summer sun shines high as banyan trees bow over my blazing path sheltering whatever remains of me on my way home. Sometimes, I wonder…How far is ‘away’, and how near is ‘home’… which turn is ‘right’ and which not.
A map of life, a map of life,
Where can I get you for a dollar and a half...
These lines spring up in my mind. Hmmm… "Map of life", I try to push it into my long-term memory as the title for my next set of lyrics…
… A long road stretching out before me, an engine roaring to life beneath me, a sky that opens out above me as a doorway to the cosmos…a part of the world around me, a beautiful destination ‘open all’ just for me, a light in my eyes and the peace of the heart, some titbits... I guess it doesn’t take much to make me happy!

2 comments:

suicidalsam said...

what do you mean by "The City Of Djinns"

Obaid. said...

"City of Djinns"?. Its the title of a book by William Dalrymple like i said. A book based on life in Old Delhi. He beautifully switches between fiction and history. Great piece of work! A 'Djinn' is believed to be a creation from fire.