A Passing Afternoon in North Campus

Tired of staring at screens, badgered by major life decisions and cravings for Sudama's Kulhad Chai - I decided to take a walk. I had been to North Campus before but never alone. 

I leisurely walked to the metro station. It's a nice change of pace when you have time. There's no rush. The metro on weekend afternoons has a relaxed vibe. Empty platforms are illuminated by sun rays dancing through the openings in the shed. There is no fight for seats. The abundance ensures humans are on their best behaviour. 

Boarded off at Vishwavidyalaya. Always buzzing with life. Rickshaw drivers vying for your ass, hawkers spinning egg rolls and students haggling for the latest in fashion. Sudama's tea stall is about a mile from the station. I strolled towards it, bearing witness to a chimera of experiences: trad-clad graduates fresh from a convocation, a couple in a heated argument, dogs in a playful tussle, e-rickshaws racing towards the station, and random scammers lurking about. The walk felt lengthy, maybe because I was alone. Usually, I'm with a friend, chatting away the miles. 

I reached the place - no stall in sight! Given my bad sense of direction - I checked Google Maps. According to the digital oracle - it was right across the street but all I could see was a pot-bellied policeman lounging beside a big Scorpio. And then it hit me. That damned convocation - they must have evicted all the hawkers. A tinge of disappointment settled in as I had hoped to bask in the evening sun, slurping the delicious tea and engaging in casual philosophising. But I philosophised nonetheless. Life rarely goes the way you want. The goals you set will change - maybe due to your own priorities or external events out of your control. You can crib about it or you can move on. It's important to enjoy or rather embrace the journey with all its twists and turns. "One must imagine Sisyphus happy"

I got tea from another tea shop. Not quite reaching Sudama's perfection but it did the job for me - a decent imitation. I strolled a bit more in the market until my legs started to protest, perhaps influenced by all the revolution slogans plastered across the campus. "Leg day" was catching up. Took an e-rickshaw to the metro station. As the rickshaw approached the station, I did not feel like going home. I was overwhelmed with thoughts so I decided to get down on a random street and settle on the pavement. The sun was almost gone and it started to get a bit chilly. I surveyed my surroundings and all I could see was big fancy cars, towering trees, and imposing houses. I was probably on an old-money villa road. Struggling to make up my mind about anything - I started tossing the coin I received as change from the rickshaw ride. The outcome: a frustratingly even 50-50 split. God, it seemed, wasn't offering an easy way out. The decisions were mine to make.

Out of nowhere, a stranger approached me and said "क्या में यहाँ मूट सकता हु?" (can I piss here?) - caught off guard, I immediately stood up and asked him to go ahead. Strangely or perhaps mimetically I felt the urge to piss as well. I pissed my heart out - no, not on the pavement with the guy, but in a public toilet nearby - exchanging my supposed coin of destiny.

I was done for the day and headed to the metro station. Passing through the checking line - I stood on the pedestal for the routine manhandling. But Mr Policeman was busy staring at a group of chicks. After a good few seconds, he sensed my presence and with a small smile, uttered, "ज़रूरी है" (it's necessary), to which I chuckled. It was the first time in the day I laughed. Until then, it was just a long day of contemplation and philosophising over every little incident. I just laughed and laughed as I went to the platform. My mood somehow got better. I felt like listening to Michael Jackson's Dangerous. As I plugged in, my spirits soared. A spunk developed in my walk. Soon I started dancing a bit - in total contrast to my usual reserved public demeanour. I continued to dance my way home. What an unexpected day it was. Flaneuring around proved to be a refreshing experience. I am definitely gonna do it again. 

Ending with a quote: