Thursday, February 22, 2007

12th January

The D-day arrived with all the excitement that such an occasion demanded. Frantic phone calls from ma’am about the collection of tickets from the travel agent’s office, where we were to meet etc started early in the morning. Garima came specially to meet me before going to office. While I was starting on this adventure she had her first trip abroad, to Singapore on an assignment, all planned. So the two of us were going to have adventures of our lives on our own merit together… this is what ‘filmy dosti’ is. Garima got me some snacks for the journey. Thank god she did because with all the excitement food was something I had completely forgotten. After the last minute shopping of tissues, creams and medicines and packing over I was off to the Sita Travels office to collect all the tickets. Mom and I met ma’am at the Hazzarat Nizamuddin Station at 3 o clock. I was nervous as mom was to meet ma’am for the first time. It felt like being back to a Parents Teachers meet in school. Not surprisingly the first thing that Sabiha Ma’am told mom was “Priyanka talks so much, how do you live with her?” But then this was a statement that mom has gone used to hearing from my teachers since the nursery standard.

After the introductions were over there was a little formal talk about children, students, and weather till the train arrived at the platform. It was definitely the only time I was traveling without my mother and did not shed a tear. My mother and my friends will vouch that I cry every time I leave my mom even for a 2-day trip. This was no trip. This was a journey of a lifetime so tears had no place. I had to be brave or atleast give that impression to my mom and ma’am.

This was the first time I boarded the Rajdhani Express. Being the daughter of a railway employee (my mother is in the railway ministry) Rajdhani has been a part of various conversations during family dinners, outing with friends and get togethers with her office friends. So Rajdhani in itself was a big deal for family and friends. Though, boringly enough, for me it was just of mode of transport and nothing more. The Rajdhani Express is known for its hospitality, the amount of endless food tires one after 5 hours. Believe me.

Once the train chugged the sense of the beginning of the adventure began to sink in a little. Ma’am and I spend the evening sorting out the stack of paper we both carried for research purpose. Ma’am told me the exact subject and the storyline that had been planned for the documentary film. At the time of the dinner we started chatting with a co-passenger. She was a manager with the Taj Group of hotels. When she asked us what we do ma’am answered very simply that she is a documentary filmmaker and I am her assistant director. With that statement I had felt like I had won an Oscar. It was for me the moment that many people have described as the moment they are sure of their calling in life. That was pure bliss for me. I had known that a moment will come when nothing else will matter--- not the food, the comfort, the material, the money etc. the film and the whole process till I got the CD in my hand was a series of such moments for me. I slept peacefully and the happiest I had ever been ever on the upper birth of Rajdhani Express.

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