When for once the DESTINATION matters…

By Shyam Kamal

The holidays are finally here, and for every hosteller it only means two things:
1. Home
2. Good food.
But there is a price you have to pay for anything and in this case, the price is rather demanding – A journey. It’s not like I am saying that the travel is more hazardous than the journey to Mordor carrying the one ring. But it has its own demands. And whoever said “The journey is more important than the destination” had never undertaken this one.

If you are from Vellore or Kancheepuram then you can count yourself lucky. All it takes for you to reach home is roughly equal to the time it takes for the ‘not-so-lucky others’ to reach Perungulathur on a busy day. And then if you are going to travel longer distances like Madurai, Tirunelveli or Hyderabad by train, you are okay. Just survive those jam packed electric trains for 45 minutes till Egmore or Central and you are good to go. But if you are looking to travel by bus to those places, May God have mercy on your cursed soul. Because I have had my fair share of experiences from travelling around – be it the one where I forgot the tickets and ended up paying a fine of twice the ticket fee or the one where the ticket was wrongly booked for AM rather than PM and I ended up missing it or the one where I had my ticket in my phone and my phone’s IC ‘conveniently’ short-circuited a mere two hours prior to the journey or the one where I had to stand stranded for 5 hours in the bus stand waiting for it to arrive – and by standing I mean it literally.

But the unlikely blessing in this curse is that you get used to waiting. Get exposed to the different types of fury life can set free at you. Get acquainted with various kinds of people – from potential pick-pocketers to future CEOs. And once you have stood with a group of people in the same place waiting for a common adversary, for a good 5 hours, you become sort of like a temporary family. You end up supporting, encouraging, helping out each other subconsciously. Everyone – right from those small kids who don’t give a damn about anything and keep playing with their parents’ mobiles to those teenagers who keep on chatting in their mobiles without the slightest worry of the impending chaos to those wives who keep on nudging their husbands’ shoulders with an air of impatience to those women who are more worried about their make-up coming off than the bus never showing up to those men who persist in looking at their watches every five minutes as if looking at it would make things better to those ‘out-of-the-world’ kind enough strangers who give you the Rs.500 note in their pocket when you don’t have the money for the fine, fully knowing that it is impossible for you to pay them back to those unforgettable co-passengers who seem to forget that the person next to them has to sleep too and go on talking over the phone – leave an impact and almost always a smile in your life.

Oh and it doesn’t end there. Reach home and you are bombarded with all sorts of questions –

“Why was the bus/train late?”
“Did you doze off and not get down at the proper stop?”
“Going to your classes properly or should I ask your teacher?”
And the worst of all: “what happened to the assessment marks?”

UGH! Cross this hurdle and then come your school friends – “college ku pona odane engala ellam maranthuttiya??” and your neighbours pestering you all about the latest happenings in your college, about the placements and whether their son studying twelfth now can join Anna university, about MY CGPA(!), etc. Amidst this you have to spare time for your assignments and the movies you so badly wanted to watch and the packing and finding the ID card you threw away when you entered first and asking your parents to buy some sweets for those at hostel and your class you promised to. Overcome all this and after another tiring journey back to college, in case you decide to attend college that day, phew! You deserve a Nobel Peace prize.

But all these trivial things won’t stop us from going home. Ever. Because that’s the thing about home. It demands to be reached.

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