It was time to get back home. I had traveled from Vijaywada to Hyderabad to Bangalore and Mysore. As I sat in Hotel Parklane and waited for my breakfast, I looked back at the last few months of my travels. How many people had I met? How many projects had I visited? And what had I learnt? I wished that these travels were my life and that I could do these forever. But then, is that possible?
As I boarded the train to Bangalore, I took a picture of myself in the window. The photographer rarely features in his publications and almost remains invisible. I also wanted to document the change in me. I knew all the food and the parties had made me put on a few kilos but then I wanted to document my frame of mind. And with the train, the reason for my love of traveling.
It’s a short two and a half hour journey from Mysore to Bangalore. The train passes over low hills, meandering rivers and isolated railway crossings. It’s almost like a dream and it becomes ever more beautiful when it rains. The Bangalore area is known for surprise spurts of rain, which comes for not more than ten minutes. The aroma of monsoon fills the train and all I ever want at that time is a cup of tea. And surprisingly, the train doesn’t have any service till Bangalore. I think that’s quite dumb! Well, soon I was in Bangalore and then in Delhi. All that was left was one trip to Calcutta.
The Terminal 3 at Delhi Airport is quite something. Its been under the scanner for a while and a lot of people have expressed their displeasure over the art and the brown carpet in the airport. I personally don’t mind it though rolling a bag on the carpet is quite painful. But comparing it to the earlier airport, its pretty good. This was my last flight, my last 5 day trip to finish the project. I was on my way to Calcutta to shoot some of the remaining projects by Ladies Circle but I knew that it wont be the same as my earlier travels as I was staying with family, had my art friends to meet and do the usual art gallery hopping in the city. There I was, at Gate 51, editing some pictures and waiting to take off.
The Calcutta airport is a mess! One of largest cities of India has the smallest arrival terminal. As soon as I landed, we waited at the tarmac for the bus to transfer us to the terminal. As we moved towards the terminal, the driver decided to overtake a few buses -I had never seen that! What was the hurry? But then, it’s Calcutta and its runs on its own time zone!
There are only three belts to take your luggage, so when there are ten flights landing within minutes of each other, expect a jam-packed terminal! And that’s what I got! There was luggage for three flights on each belt so it took some time. But what you cannot expect is a 45-minute waiting to get a pre-paid taxi! I was warned about this line but what I got was unexpected. There were already 50 people in front of me and there were more who were queuing up behind me. This was going to be long wait! As we crawled towards the window, I looked back at the last guy in the line and wondered what he was going through! It’s just bad management but then an experience to remember. Once I was in a cab, I was home in no time.