Wild Wild West – I

One thing that hit us with a quick gush, as soon as we stepped out of the airport, was the hot and dry air. A 100 Fahrenheit and we rechecked our stock of sunscreen, put on those glasses and strut on to our ride. I have to flashback a few hours to how we got here though, because the beginning ensured that we were to have a fun trip after all.

2 AM miseries

Some sane thought that Switch and I had, made us book tickets out of far-off PHL, instead of backyard EWR or across-the-street NYC airports. This “out-of-this-world” decision, that seemed pretty reasonable when we punched out our credit card details, ensured that we were up at 2 in the morning, out of town by 2 30, only to be roaming the streets of EWR for a decent parking lot. Well, we had to put the car in safe hands for four long days; that automatically ruled out any off-street ones, those that had a voice operated system talking to no one in particular and of course the ones closed. Frantic search was on. It’s funny to digest the number of weenies who actually roam the earth that early in the morning.

After trying out every possible option dear mr/ms garmin gave us and having let go of two of the five, to magically walk into the dream parking space, we had a little of five minutes to spare before our train out. Better sense prevailed and we drove into the very same lot that we had driven past a hundred times in that one night in search of a safer option. Yeah right! Who are we kidding!

Feeble pleasanteries exchanged, keys to the ride surrendered in the hands of a total stranger and two bags baring us down, DShah and I ran for it, while Switch tried to fumble the tickets out. We dint care if we looked like two goons, running away from mad dogs chasing us; we had a vacation to start on time. Acela arrived, the conductor obliged and we rode an hour into PHL, all in a weary sleep-embedded daze.

Note to self: cops in Philly are very cordial, nice to the point of being over intrusive I guess. It’s a fact, because Dear mr cop chose to accompany us from one station to the other, made sure we boarded the correct connecting ride and wove good bye to DShah with tear-filled eyes. Ok I might have fuzzed the facts on that one a bit; I was sleep deprived and it was too early in the morning for nocturnals like me, remember?

Philly billies

A minor fiasco at the “security check” left Switch bereft of his dear-old ninja gear. How many camping trips had he gone out on, pulling it out of his kit, nimbly; flaunting it out in the open, boldly; as other covetous eyes stared on! True, he had hoped to demand extra drinks on the flight with that one weapon and damn, his plot lay out in the open. We drank to his ill fortune, promised to buy him a stronger, sharper, meaner, sleeker, ahmm.. er weapon and boarded the flight at the back of the crowd.

Proud to be back benchers indeed, we tried having sane conversations with the ‘air hosts’, Damn! I still cant get used to that profession for a man, before somebody’s good judgement stepped in. We slept through the rest of our flight.

Wild West

Turbulence woke us up, in time to see the first glimpses of the mighty canyon. We straightened up, crained out the pot hole windows and Viva Las Vegas!!

PS: Learnings so far:

– It is impossible to try being on a diet and on vacation at the same time.

– When fast asleep, an hour is like a minute and 1500 miles take a mere five.

– Male air hostesses, using their spare time knitting a sweater, are not a welcome sight to wake up to.

– Deccan airways was not the only one that had carriers rattling during take-off.

– Security check personnel love Swiss army knives.

In Wild Wild West – II, The Mustang compromise, Hoover’s arch and the mad dirt ride to walk.

Two tracks and one soccer game.

She had reached the train station with enough time in hand to let the chill kill her nerves. Was it her guts or her brain that made her go through the torture of the cold every other minute? Every time her teeth shuddered and her muscles twitched in the wind, she let out a sigh, looked up at the heavens and laughed. Yes! She was still alive.

The girl was too young to realize if it was love or a plain high school crush. They had been chums since they’d joined back in mid school. They’d grown closer in the last few years and the five hour long phone conversations had left every couple in class jealous. But today, when he had confessed to her that he had found love and he was going to propose to their best friend for years, she din’t know if she was being plain and simple possessive or he really meant the world to her.

Yes! She was still alive; and that realization brought with it the pains of the night. Time when another realization had struck, the fact that she had been kidding herself this far. The last few years had been a roller coaster ride, with her shifting from one foundation to another to keep her shack grounded. It was surprising how everytime her boat drifted off the shore, she’d found a new bark of wood mid water, to moor her boat. But last night she realized that no matter how hard she tried, it was meant to be.

He really meant the world to her and watching him fall for another girl in front of her eyes left her stranded. The icing on the cake had been him falling for her very best friend. Now everytime she saw her, it hit her harder than ever. The theory was proved after all;  everyone falls in love one big time, everyone is fighting for something and everyone has something to hide.

It was meant to be and she had to let the tides wash her ship off shore. Mortal ties of friendship had gotten her through some of the worst times in her life; start of college with all the growing up to do, a new job, work in an unknown land. There had always been a heart to go back to at the end of a sad day, with a smile, a cheer and a hug to kiss the pain away. These were hearts that meant the world to her at some point in space. They had helped her fight it through; and now it was the same few who failed to see it.

Everyone has something to hide and the girl let that guide her when she held both the souls dearest to her heart close to it. The move to a new school, college in a land from the past had given her the break she had needed to fall out of these misunderstandings and grow up. Five years and she had totally out lived her childish charms. She’d grown up. She’d grown out of them.

And now it was the same few who failed to see it; she was not meant to be rooted to the ground to begin with. Every time she thought it was the wave and the tide to be blamed, she had ignored the voice within that was enjoying the unsteady waters. There had always been the hand that quietly cut all ties to the earth, given that perfect boost up skward. Noone had noticed it then because noone had cared.

She’d grown out of them and today when he discovered her in the web world, while she was expected to be ecstatic about it, all we felt was a gush of the smells from the past. Mere fictious characters playing the part in her head, a play that barely made anymore sense to her, something that barely made sense to anyone. Things had changed within her in the years that flew by and she hadn’t noticed it. Noone had noticed it then because noone had cared.

Noone had noticed it then, because noone had cared and she was used to life being like that. The prince of the dumpster, the ruler of no-man’s isle she had been. And now, when she saw visitors to her little island, wanting a piece of the land, adding their own colors to their little patch and worrying about the bright ones in the neighbours, she wonders if she is to be blamed. She fails to understand why the visitors don’t see, that all that should matter is their being there. And their making their stay worth it. 

For as much as I am open to them walking in and as much as it would hurt me to see them go away, my heart would not change from what it had liked before and after. As often as a new traveller would break my heart, it would welcome another one in with open arms, for that is how pink and plum it is bred to be. It has been each such blow that has made the heart stronger. 

No matter how many more bandaids this knee might hold, the soccer game is on and it has to be bled to live to the fullest..