Where Did Everyone Go?? #MumbaiMemoirs

I was running late since I woke up. Rather to say that I woke up late that’s why I was running late. I have now come to wonder, what a extra minute of sleep in the morning can do to your schedule. Everything goes haywire. But that’s the story for another day. As I said I was running late and to make up for those extra minutes of sleep I found myself half running half walking towards the station so as to not miss my daily direct train which took me to my office.

Even while walking with double the speed I walk with daily, I noticed that the guy, who used to be there near the station selling tea and breakfast to daily commuters like me, wasn’t there. Number of people that surrounded that petite guy, was a sight that one just can’t miss to notice. So, it felt something was missing there. Nevertheless, I rushed towards the stairs, in the back of my mind thinking about what could have happened to him to miss out on his daily business.

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The station was comparatively less crowded unlike daily. I found it strange. One or two trains passed by me and I could see that there weren’t as many people hanging out of the door of the train as the daily sight used to be. I wondered where did everyone go. I waited for two or three minutes, like daily, when my train arrived. Finally running with my laptop backpack paid off. Phew!

It felt surprisingly eerie when I entered the office. There were very less people around. Instant reaction was to check my watch if I was too early. I can’t be, it the usual time. May be others are late being a weekend, I thought. Being still new in office, there wasn’t much work yet that was put on my shoulder. But today it was slightly more than usual. Why? Because many of who I had thought were late hadn’t turned up. Moreover being a weekend, those have come left quite early. This was kind of familiar sight on a weekend though, but number was considerably lesser than the other weekends I have seen here. As my watch showed me it was time to go home, I also packed my stuff and got up.

Having taken an exit earlier than usual I had enough time to not rush and just slowly stroll my way to station, and let the thoughts take over. Just outside the office building where the daily hawkers would come in the evening to earn some business, I saw a new temporary stall. As I crossed by the stall in my slowest pace, I observed everything put on display with my half-observing mind. And slowly everything that had been unusual came together like the pieces of a puzzle.

Source: remotetraveller.com
Source: remotetraveller.com

Even those sights came back that my subconscious mind has registerrd in the morning while traveling: the absence of that face that always smiled to me when I boarded the train, the absence of that old lady who always sat there in the corner seat by the window, the fellow lover of books was gone too, a lady dressed in full traditional attite with all the accessories who usually used to be without anything other than a pair of jeans and a casual shirt that was perfectly tucked in, and of course the usual chit-chat was missing too.

Now I understood the reason behind it all, just one word was reason enough to send everyone home: DIWALI. Yes, Diwali is coming!!! My thoughts have taken a totally different direction by now. I missed home. Being a new joinee, there was absolutely no leave to be sanctioned and that went without saying. I missed the excitement and thrill that seeps in when you journey towards your home on a festival. All those festivities have a charm of their own. Almost every name on my friend list is home at the moment for celebration except me. Every time I scroll my social media news feed, all I see is check-in friends colleagues aquiantances and everyone else at railway station or airport telling happy tales of going home. This makes me sad and jealous at the same time.

May be because it will make me sad and the fact that I can’t really do anything about it, made me ignore the upcoming festivities. It was as if not acknowledging the festival would lessen the pain of not being at home. I know, I might be exaggerating but even Deepika Padukone says that Diwali is meant to be celebrated at home, and that advert just digs deeper.
There won’t be any tussle about which design of Rangoli to be finalised. There won’t be any mom-made delicacies to gobble up instead of meals. There won’t be any shopping for new clothes to wear. There won’t be any electrician’s role to play while putting up decorations. Diwali will come and go just like any other day.

Although, to think of it, it could have been worse but it’s better that I already have a place to call home in this city. Living in a city where cousin’s stay as well is a perk which just proved itself. Atleast the festival won’t be lost like the ones in the previous months. I’ll be having a good company to keep this time, which will surely make me smile.

Wising all my readers a very happy Diwali!!!



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