Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Jab We Met Revisited ( not really)

Jab We Met is possibly my favourite Indian movie of all time. There's so much to love in it,and it has some great lines,which, lets face it, can be all we remember about a movie after some time has passed. (Or a day- i have terrible short term memory). Anyway, in the movie, if you recall, there is a lot of symbolism based on trains and well, being able to catch them. Infact; its how the protagonists meet in the first place. Now this post isn't about trains, or their symbolism, but its about how I TOTALLY get how Geet felt when she catches trains and misses trains.

You see, for the past few weeks I have been using public transport a lot. By that I mean the metro and the bus. The metro is not much cause for conversation (yet), because the metro station is well air-conditioned, and the metro train comes every 5 mins without fail. Buses, however, are a far trickier business. First your standing outside, in the full blaring Dubai sun, with no chances of the sun being less in yo face at any point until sundown (today morning was surprisingly mild though). Second, the buses are highly elusive. Here one second (and a half, perhaps) and gone the next- not to be seen from anywhere between 15-30 minutes. This may not be all buses in Dubai, but its certainly the case with bus number 84. Now imagine, getting done from a hectic 6-8hr day on your feet, just wanting to lie down, and then missing the bus by just a slight and having to wait, under the sun in all its naked glory. If you cannot imagine, then let me tell you.
Simply put,

it sucks.big time.majorly.
Its a mix of anger, exasperation, heat and fatigue. Its torturous on every level; physical, emotional, and mental. About after ten minutes of waiting, you think, forget this; lets take a cab. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. One may think, but why not just take a cab? well, money for one. Since I'm here to be a student for a bit, i'd like to partially live like one too. Which means taking the bus to school, and cabs everywhere else (i know that doesn't make sense, go figure!). The days I successfully make a roundtrip in the bus to and fro from school feel way more gratifying than others.
Two, the joy you get from catching the ever-elusive no.84 in the nick of time, especially if you feel you won't be able to make it and some running is involved- is unmatchable. It is one of the greatest feelings of elation i have experienced in everyday life. Scratch that, its one of the greatest joys I've experienced in adult life. Its pure, unadulterated joy. I don't know what that is; maybe its that you know that it had nothing to do with you, and its purely of a matter of timing, and for 5 minutes you feel like the luckiest person on the planet. Maybe because it catches you completely off-guard, and your day all of a sudden has gotten a 15-30 min bump, and now you can nicely be at home and in bed 15-30 minute sooner(and that is priceless). Or perhaps, its just that you don't have to wait today. 

Often, these moments are tinged with little mishaps, and mini-thrills. Once while running to catch the 84, my anti-aging fedora (a normal hat i wear to ward off the sun) fell off in the middle of the road. I ran back to get my hat, all the while knowing that the bus may take off,  only have all the dinner rolls i made in class fall as I picked up the AAF - Ofcourse that had to happen, no hard feelings universe, this was pure comedy. I ran back to the bus laughing, my roommate waiting inside the bus laughing as hard. Whether the laughter was because of the hat, the dinner rolls, and or the sheer absurdity of how hard we had to work to catch a damn bus, that remains a mystery.

Another time, I remember walking in the desert ( between the school and the road is this massive piece of land which i call desert) , and as soon as i got to the road, i see THE bus juuust arriving, and 2 of my classmates who had left at least twenty minutes before I did still waiting. When they saw me running and coming, they looked at me with a  mixture of amazement and envy. One even remarked, twice, "what timing!". It felt as though I had been distinguished and honoured amongst them by some special power. 

Another time, I saw the bus just as its door opened, and i was on there other side of the road,waiting to cross it, which meant that in all probability I would miss the one-second-window i had to get in. The road was also bustling at the time, cars coming without missing a heartbeat. I decided it was do or die. I started crossing the street with the cars coming at me, since surely dying in the process of catching the bus would be a most honourable way to die. In the midst of the death sprint i also started flagging the bus down like my life depended on it ( which it did). While crossing the second road, and running towards the bus, the ' will I? won't i?' feeling transformed to 'I made it!, I made it!'. The theme song from chariots of fire started playing in my head, and I felt like Geet, in the start of Jab We Met, trying to catch the train.

Point being, take the bus- 2.30dhs for an ineffable feeling; pretty pretty great bargain.