Great accomplished writers and philosophers of the bygone era had aptly said the road to the station you aim to reach will be filled with trials and tribulations. Well, I had not realized that this statement would actually be so universal that without dwelling much into the philosophy could be experienced by all. Philosophers accused of dealing with topics often out of common min’s reach would be immensely pleased to see their saying be fulfilled with utmost precision(literally) in one of the most populated city of India, Patna. All you had to do was travel on the road to station (I mean, the Patna railway station).
Long before the rival parties came together and separated yet again all in the name of developing the city of Patna, I took an auto to reach the station. Under the ‘strict’ rules being followed the autos halted a stop earlier, entry ahead was barred due to some reason. I was left with no option but to board a hand rickshaw who owing to the situation demanded a hefty fare. Again, I did not question after all to reach the final station it was necessary to shed your dear earnings, your lust for money.
Sitting in the rickshaw, I scanned around and adored the trademark of the place, a temple and mosque standing together in unison. But my attention was quickly diverted by the honking of a private Scorpio car. Such was its haste to reach ahead that it failed to realize there was no way out through the jam except for patience. It was merely acting as a source of pollution but it did not matter, the people were used to it.
Cutting across the sea of people I moved ahead. People in this city always seemed to be going somewhere. I could see men covering their faces with the symbolic red ‘gamcha’ while the skin conscious girls wrapped in ‘chunnis’ looking more like ninjas fighting against the heat from the Sun. I was pleased to see that the Patnaites had a natural talent to utilize every commodity to the utmost level. The road was not only being used by the vehicles but equally by the pedestrians, numerous stalls offering fruits, street chaats, juice to boost your through your tiresome journey. The footpath had developed into another mart offering cheap products. Even a display of slight interest in any of those items meant that it would acquire a place in your bag after a series of bargain and persuasion by the sellers.
The arrival of seasonal fruits too was rejoiced in every way. The advent of litchis meant the entire road was flooded with its green leaves. Surely, the easiest trick to make one’s city a green city. My rickshaw had a tough time to carve a path through the leaves. However, what stole the show was to see a man heading towards the station with his share of burden, a large size blue ‘American Tourister’ suitcase. I could sense the amount of trouble he was facing while pulling his suitcase as it went rickety rackety through the pile of leaves. I thought of the advertisements promoting that the suitcase was tough enough to handle the city of Istanbul had not yet tasted the flavor of India.
My thoughts kept wandering and reached to an article I had read a few days earlier. Patna boasted of getting successfully rid of cattle from the highways. Oh! How I missed the humble cows now to chew away the leaves and clear the mess.
Moving away from the leaves and animals brought me to the more social beings-the men. You could always find sufficient number of Roadside Romeos loitering around dedicating some lewd songs to every girl passing by. Men riding the bicycle were also not far behind. They would have a smile fixated on their faces for ever girl , some of them even waved or moved ahead passing filthy comments proudly. These men believed in no discrimination, every girl, every woman for them was an object of equal interest.
Amazed and happy that I had hit a fortune as I was able to gather so much of information and experience in just few hours I finally reached my destination. The ‘Azaaan’ from the mosque filled my ears. The call of God had finally come.
Like a true Indian, I bargained over my fare with the ricksha-wala and then took a last glance backwards. The shopkeepers, the ones travelling in cars, people on roads each of them were lost in their own lives, each having his own set of desires to fulfill. Their lives were entwined with this road. For some it showed the path ahead, for some it was a source of income, for some this very road was their home. It brought them happiness, gave them a chance to dream, made many self–reliant. The road was a small peek through of the larger world filled with laughter, hope, disappointments, grief, dreams and some untold stories.
Thus ended my journey to the station. I may have not reached God but perhaps attained what many strive to reach for by following the path to God- patience, tolerance and above all a deeper understanding of people through a closer look into their lives. Also, of course happiness was guaranteed. After all I felt worldly wise!!!