The View from the Window

On an uneventful 11th day in the second month of the year, 2023. I was enthusiastic, nervous and anxious. Happy, free and confused. I was going to Mumbai via Ahmedabad. And I was going to Ahmedabad via Asavra train. The train was launched in the 11th month of the year 2022. Despite my jumbled-emotions, the train journey was bewitching(although “bewitching” doesn’t quite capture the full extent of it). I was with my parents. There was a pregnant woman with her husband, and two men and one of them was either weirdly staring at me or liked me. I would like to believe the latter. Because the former thought was creepy, and it did not seem that way. I looked out of the window because when I travel by train, my favourite part is to look at the view from the window, which is breathtaking, every time. At the same time, it is different. This time was no different. It started from Udaipur and offered a beautiful landscape of the mountains. The kind where you wonder, “I wish they did not have a railway tracks here.” because it is not adding to its beauty, but the kind where you feel fortunate that you got a chance to see it. I saw, that people are living there and adjusting to the limited resources. The kind that makes you appreciate the beautiful sunset, the mountains, the trees, and the rivers.The kind where you see every station the train stops at and the kind where you become a curious toddler that keeps asking 1000s of questions to your parents about everything.The kind where you do not see what the time is. We reached Ahmedabad earlier than the estimated time. At the station, I wanted to sit and not go to the airport, because there was time for our flight, and I thought that I can maybe document everything I saw. It was seraphic.
At the station, we found a rickshaw, and then through its window, I saw Ahmedabad at night. The beautiful city lights, the chilly wind, and the sound of horns did not trouble me for some reason. Because I was looking at the moon, and in a big city I was filled with placate.

At the airport, we had to stand in a queue. It is like the queue in front of temples. But you also have baggage. But it was all worth it. Because when boarding started, all the passengers were sitting on the bus, and I got to see the beautiful view from the bus to the airport. The flights, the buses, and the crew actively helped the passengers to get on board. And the lights, so bright, but they can never blind me. After boarding the flight, I forgot to put on earphones which I should’ve because my ears start popping in flight every freaking time. But I did not let it bother me. I was tired since I did not sleep the entire night, so I was half asleep. But I remember being surrounded by white cotton covered in blue paint. I woke up with the sound, “We are about to reach our destination”.

At the Airport, we booked a taxi to reach our hotel. This was my first time in Mumbai. And it was hot, both literally and metaphorically. Despite the heat, I kept looking out of the window at the beautiful city. I saw the sunrise embracing my skin, the palm trees, the immense roads, and countless cars. After reaching the hotel and checking in the room, I slept and dreamt of the splendid view I was lucky to see. Do you want to guess what the first place we visited was? It was the film city. We went there and waited for our turn. We were sitting in the waiting area, and a cat with brown-grey colour with dark stripes was trying to sleep just like me. Then we boarded the bus, and the guide was wonderful. He told us so much about films, which I only heard about and saw on TV. We saw many daily soap sets, and since Bigg Boss Hindi Finale was shooting, we also saw that set from outside and how crowded it was because of this. Most of the sets were covered by massive sheds to protect them from tourists like us. It was a great experience anyways. Now, whenever I see a serial, I can see oh, this is where they must have shot it. I watched a TV serial with my father and I told him Papa it is the same place we clicked pictures. They make it look so different on TV. We also got to see voice dubbing, the magic of green screen in Bollywood Park. The people in Mumbai are warm and hospitable. And that enriched my first visit experience.

After dinner, we returned to the hotel, and I prepared for my interview. I was anxious and nervous, so I stayed up late and barely slept. I woke up around 5 am. After getting ready, we had breakfast and went to the college. When I looked outside the taxi window, I prayed to God and tried to keep my mind entirely blank. I watched what Mumbai was like other than traffic, busy streets and the scorching sun in February (Stop sulking, Apoorva.). No wonder they don’t have a winter season. But when I reached the college. It was massive. Bigger than any building I have seen in Udaipur. It had 16 lifts at least and 10 floors, a theatre and busy people. I thought, “Will I fit in here?”. But then I thought, “You know yourself and just focus on that.” After my interview, we were allowed to take pictures inside the college. But out of excitement that the interview went well, I walked out to tell my parents, who were waiting for me in the scorching heat. I forgot to click the pictures inside. But in a way, it’s beautiful because I will have this experience forever. Even if they reject me. (I converted) We were told by a few people that the Vada Pav outside the college was the best in Mumbai, and it was. You have to go to Mumbai to have it. And it was one of the things I wanted to do in Mumbai except for wanting to visit the beach. For business work, we went to Abdul Rahmani street. And I liked it. There were many shops, where that only sold wholesale items. It’s everything you would find in a posh store or mall. I approve of it because I have been to both places and the quality is the same. And the streets are busy and narrow, and mostly the street vendors are selling different fruit juices or vada pav. It’s crazy how many vada pav vendors there are. The flyovers, the bridges, the small and big retail stores, Nariman Point, and Girgau Beach. (Any Mumbaikars, help me out if I spell anything wrong.) It was a long day. So we ordered our food from Zomato and enjoyed it and watched TV. Coincidentally, we came to know that there was a lot of traffic after we reached the hotel, so the decision was beneficial.

The next day was our last day to enjoy Mumbai city, and it was time for Mumbai darshan (I probably heard this on TV). Sitting in the taxi, I was watching the city. Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Lakshmi Ji Temple, Juhu Beach, the houses of celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Rekha, Shahrukh Khan, Javed Akhtar, Ambani , and a few others I cannot recall. I will try to add the names later.

As the sun was setting, it was time for us to go to the Airport. With me, nothing can happen straight. After checking in, or whatever the process is called, our gates kept changing till the last minute. First, it was 26, then 30, then 15, then 21. Because of this, we barely made it on time.
After the plane took off, I did not expect to see what I saw. As the plane took off, I saw why Mumbai is the city that never sleeps, the city where lights are so bright. It was shining so brightly from the sky. The night sky was also not as glittery and bright. At the same time, I looked up at the night sky, dark and shiny with the stars. I saw Ursa Major, the constellation. It will now forever be imprinted on my eyes, mind and heart. So beautiful, I don’t know how to explain it. It was my first time seeing the night sky very closely, and I was the happiest. No jumbled-up emotions. I was confused should I see below at the city lights or above in the sky I saw above. I was on a flight and had a limited view through the window, to put it in a way. However, what I saw was perpetual. (The reason I wrote this blog except for the splendid train view). The shiny stars that I have never seen so clearly. Like I could touch them and wear them like a crown. Like the sky was decorated with bling only for me(You meet me in real life, don’t think I talk with the romanticism I have in my words).
At the Ahmedabad Airport, we waited for our driver. It was a halcyon journey to Udaipur, and the next day I slept dreaming that I was looking out the window, at the trees, the mountains, the sun, the stars, and the city lights. And I thought someday I’ll be living in a big old city.

Thank you for reading. Please share your feedback in the comments.


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