Its been five whole years, and yet when I think of it, it makes me smile for some strange reason. Almost everyone I know has a '26th July Story', I do too, and no, its not something extraordinary.. Its something that happened to a lot of people, that walk back home.. For me, it is one of the awesomest, thrilling times I have ever had., simply because Im sure no other city other than Mumbai would have given me such an experience.... So what happened? Read on... :)
26th July 2005'..
Just after lunch break, it starts to rain. It isnt pouring, its drizzling steadily, fat drops of water... exactly how I like it. Its starting to get chilly, and my socks feel so warm in my brand new shoes. Its that shade of grey that I really really like outside, but unfortunately I have a book that I really really hate in front of me. Applied Physics - I. Nothing that can ACTUALLY BE applied in real life anyway. Looking up, I watch the teacher drone on about Gauss's Theorem and start to zone off. Mom calls and the vibration thats as good as a ringtone, brings me back to the present. I put it on silent and throw it into my bag. Turn back, bleary eyed, to "...the volume total of all sinks and sources, the volume integral of the divergence, is equal to the net flow across the volume's boundary ..."
He looks so cute. And Im so giddy. Ok I have got to stop grinning for no reason, I tell myself. You see, by the time the ultra boring lecture is done, it has got greyer, windier and it definitely looks like its time to hit home. So instead of taking the customary route to the station by foot, we get into a taxi - 4 of us. Me, the guy I had an insane crush on then(Nik, as we know from here & here), his friend and one more guy I knew from junior college. As the taxi takes us towards Dadar station, I can barely contain my grins. Wow, some luck! :P :) "Nice shoes", says he, as we get out of the taxi. I might as well have sprouted wings and floated off the surface of the earth :P
Dadar station is the usual - flurry of activity. We take little notice. Get into a slow train, it isnt very full, so I get into the guys compartment. I start to thank that decision sometime later in the evening. Anyway, so the train moves super slowly towards Matunga, and right outside that, comes to a grinding halt. Its normal we assume, maybe some signal, and the laughing and joking continues.
Half hour down, people start poking their heads out. Strange, theres no fast train passing by us, neither is there any coming our way. Weird. Then we spot people getting down and walking towards the far away station. Not a peculiar sight, has happened before. We stay around, hoping the train will start in a few minutes. It doesnt, so we take our bags and jump onto the tracks.
That was the first instance that said that this was not just a normal train breakdown. There were trains behind us, and others on different tracks, and there were people all over the place. Dots of color over the rusty brown and grey. I was standing there amazed when a shreik cut into my thoughts - "THERES SOMETHING IN MY PANTS!!! THERES SOMETHING IN MY PANTS!!!" - turn around to watch Nik dancing a strange variation of hip hop on the tracks, I collapse into fits of laughter while we ascertain that nothing was there in Niks pants *grin grin* and then we walk towards Mahim. Theres a train waiting there, and the signal says yellow. We walk onto the station and then we decide to sit inside the train and just wait for it to move. Ofc, as you may have guessed by now, it doesnt. Instead we have a laugh, all of us engineers in the making, trying to decide if the water trickling down steadily on my head from the roof would electrocute me incase the train started.(?!)
After almost an hour of waiting we decide that it made better sense to join the throng of people wading through ankle deep water towards home. Afterall, it is Mumbai - you dont get lost here, you always have fun, and come on! Mumbai rains are awesome! (and besides I was stranded in the rain with my crush! woohoo! :P)
And thus began that long eventful walk back home....
(To be continued)