The day the Earth didn’t stand still for me

It all started when I decided to go to Victoria Terminus, now Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, to catch my train to Madras. I have a tendency to be paranoid about trains and missing them so I left an hour before the departure time. Granted this would only give me fifteen minutes at the station but hey, I’m a seasoned passenger. I’ve travelled on more trains than most fifth graders can count. I don’t need more than that. Well, turns out I did. And that explains just what I’m doing here at the airport, trying to get the so-called wifi to work.

The damn flight’s been delayed too. Have you ever wondered about that? Why are the things you’d rather get done fast usually the one’s delayed? I could have settled for ten minutes more in the morning. Coming back to that, this thing applies there too. A very helpful suburban local came fifteen minutes late and reluctantly bore me to the station. Too late, apparently. I listened, calmly incredulous, as the lady explained to me “1041? Wo gaya”. Not a trace of emotion on her face, not a flicker of embarrassment for having flagged off a train while its most important passenger was still biting his nails on a crippled local that was happily trundling its way through Dockyard Road.

One day, I shall find the people who did this to me. I will travel from village to town to city, the smell of guilt strong in my nostrils. I shall wander across deserts and hills…and rivers, or what passes for those here, and I will reach a city of great splendour. With the memory of this railway betrayal fresh in my mind I will roam the streets, my eyes scouring the signs for the place I want. And I’ll know it when I see it, and I’ll barge in, smashing the door down, all rage and fury. And then, just as I draw myself up, just as I scream out, “I am become revenge, destroyer of rails.” in impassioned anger I’ll realise that I’m looking at a mirror.

The wifi doesn’t work either.

The Gardener: A Dream

I had the wildest dream last night. It had a whole lot of characters, but sadly because I was doing other stuff till now, I’ve forgotten most of it. The parts I remember was this time when two kids were stuck in the rain and they decided to shelter in a garage of this big house. So while they’re in this garage, this creepy old woman opens a door from inside the house to the garage and she looks at them and says, “Come to stay here, that’s really nice.” and she closes the door. Then the younger kid opens another door wondering what’s behind it, and this woman opens her door again saying, “Oh yes, you’ll find that interesting.” and then the door slams shut behind the kid. When he opens the door again, he’s somewhere completely different, and this keeps happening with him opening doors and finding himself looking into some different place altogether. The final bit is when he opens the door and a big dog-lion thing jumps out, but he manages to dodge it once. After that, it switched to a completely different thing.

I was in the same house, and this really fat friend of mine (completely fictional) was right there next to me. And just as we started to talk, I noticed a really old withered man coming down from the hill. He had a scythe in his hand, and I recognized him as the gardener. To play with my friend, I said, “Oh shit!” and started running away from the house and along a path towards a marsh. The terrain was rolling, so if you went over the crest of the path you wouldn’t be able to see along the back again. All the while when I was running I kept yelling, “It’s the GAAAAAARRRRRDENNNNNNERRR!” and after a while this friend of mine was also running alongside me yelling that. It was like some sort of Indian warcry except that it wasn’t because I was starting to believe in this whole thing myself and getting pretty scared. The marsh is like a field, at this point of my dream and set in a rough square with a path down the center and other such grid-like stuff. The path we were running along met the field at the point where the road down the center was, but we decided to take a right and then a left to run parallel to that. At this point we met another withered old man who was driving a caravan train with nothing inside the caravans. I managed to run fast enough to catch up with the last caravan and hop on. The driver was off the train now and just yelling at whatever was pulling the caravans (couldn’t see it) and cracking his whip, and he laughed maniacally as he made the caravan turn down that center road and back up the path to the mansion. Then suddenly, the fat friend (and I mean really fat, he was huge!) came around the bend and thundered down on the caravans at an immense speed. While the old man cackled, my friend managed to lunge for the last caravan and get on. I nearly fell down trying to get out of his way as he boarded, the old man softened at this and told me to watch out. He then yelled, “The GAAAAAARRRDENNNERRR!” and I saw the gardener coming down the path headed straight for the first caravan moving at him.

I now remember the first dream, I wanted to explore this desert called the Red Desert. The sand there was like it was on the surface of Mars or something, completely red. And it wasn’t sand as much as it was loose rocks mixed with some sand. What I was looking for was this thing called the Black Hole which is in a lake somewhere in this desert. There were two lakes, one with the Black Hole and one without. By the time I found the first lake, I was really thirsty, but the liquid in the lake didn’t look like water at all. It was black or maybe a very dark shade of green. So I soldiered on towards the Black Hole Lake which I could see not too far away. When I got there I saw why it was called that, there was this giant whirlpool in the center of the lake and while the edges were a dark (almost black) shade of blue the center was absolutely black and the water was swirling around this whole all the time, but there was no more coming from anywhere, so it mustn’t have been going into the whirlpool as much as just spinning. There was no wind, just the sun and the red sand.

Just when I thought I was going to really start needing something to drink or I’d die, I saw a bunch of horsemen come up over the top of a ridge and in front of them, running as fast, was my younger brother. When I looked where he was running I saw that this whole Black Hole Lake thing had been made a tourist attraction, and people were coming here just to look at this place on organized tours. It was like a big circus town, and there was food and drink and even an Indian Bank ATM. I tried to get money from the ATM but it kept getting jammed with my card and not doing anything so I just settled for what I had. Then my brother came along with a camel and asked me to get on. I got on, and we went around the circus tent town and my brother and the camel looked under the roof of one of those tents to watch the tricks inside but I couldn’t see because I was sitting at the back, I remember I got quite angry at that. Then that faded out and the rest began.