Friday, January 13, 2006

Road Trippin"

Neil Diamond croons on my headphones. A relaxed sigh and my thoughts flow through my fingers.

I’m on my way to Shantiniketan. The land where once Tagore made poetry, under a famous banyan tree. In the recent and less famous times, it’s the place where my aunt has a divine farmhouse, where we escape to. I’m going there after two whole years. It will be a good experience, I think.

The road is long.. and wide. Smooth and sinuous, it winds along roads that glimmer in the sunlight. Both sides of the highways are marked by fields. Clad in autumn colors, they are shades of gold and brown and very dusty washed out green. The lack of water is evident. Sometimes the fields give way to a copse of trees, all huddled together as to escape the sun.

Shonajhuri gaach. Tall thin trees, with square-ish leaves. A whole forest of them, on either side. Leaves glinting gold in the light. Inviting shadows that beckon one to stop and stay a while. I seem to remember the forest stretch being more than this, though.

The heat haze gets to you, and the road shimmers in the sunlight. Suddenly, you think you’re driving into water. But Moses, we are not…

The wind whips through my hair, and it’s a tangled mess as I run my fingers through it. We stop at a random point, to refuel with lovely piping hot coffee, and samosas. My sister’s joke about a “somash’ (a Bengali grammar thing) runs through my mind, and I laugh silently to myself.

Our car screeches to a halt in surprise. A procession of camels. Easily an odd 200 of them, walking across in stately procession across the road. A very unusual sight indeed, on the NH1. They are better suited to the sand dunes of the desert, than to the dusty roads of the city. And through it all, they still manage to look elegant, carrying themselves with an odd lanky gaited dignity.

And I say to myself, it’s a wonderful world..

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