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Cracks in the Pavement

When John Denver's voice hits the 'T' of "Take me home...", it's a force of nature coming to life. The melancholic and wistful lilt in that line supported by the lyrics of the song give it some serious flavour.

Why am I blathering on about Denver and country roads? Because I am home again. And while that may no longer bring about even so much as an eyebrow squiggle from you, the thought of being physically present in Pune makes me kind of happy. Seeing as how this world is rolling downhill steadily, I'll take that kind of happiness any day, thank you very much.

I've been making customary trips home since 2009. While the distance between Bombay and Pune is minuscule enough to not warrant much emotional hullabaloo, even I have to admit that the effort needed to get from point to point is increasingly exhausting. It's not as much a function of age as it is one of population. The number of people making the up-down journey on normal Sat-Suns alone is staggering.  So, what happens when it's not normal?

The 3-day weekends, festivals or the end of the year are perfectly horrid times. Never-ending queues, be it at the bus station or amidst the vehicles somewhere between Chembur and the endless horizon, rankle the soul. It's got to a point where I can't wait to get out of the city but it kills me a bit to get on the bus too. The prospect of spending almost 5 hours tolerating the body odour, loud phone conversations and sly seat encroachment of the smarmy, corpulent neighbour is as appealing to me as reading it was to you.

No, trains are not a good fit for me because work timings are uncertain. If anything, MSRTC Shivneri is one of the small blessings in my life because of how reliable the service is, though pricey as heck.

The weariness, sore back, numb feet, dry throat and general irritability fueled my thoughts as I stomped home at 2 am this morning. Of course, I was jolly delighted about the 2 gents who were also walking along my way as they looked like the kind of people whom street dogs would prefer to attack. Elders and betters first, I always say.

And yet, I will never understand how all of that just melts away the moment I step into the silent, slumbering house. I let out a significant sigh of relief, change into comfortable sleepwear, raid the fridge, make the bed and it's finally a good night. There will be real filter coffee waiting in the morning, the chirping of birds entwined with the plants in my window and that wonderful light that's peculiar to Pune in the rains.

Be it ever so painful to reach, there's no place like home I guess.

Song for the moment: Ordinary World - Duran Duran

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