A Believer’s Journeys on the Daily Commute

Like a lot of educated, working professionals who take pride in ‘open mindedness’ and ‘healthy scepticism’, once in a while, I too look up my horoscope and birth charts by various websites for justification of my faults and inspiration for future.

I once found a prediction which very much suited my dreams – the fate to be on the move all the time, to do extensive travelling. The chart even warned me to take up a job accordingly, if I didn’t want to end up wandering aimlessly all my life. I thought that the latter option was more charming, if only I were rich. Being an only child to very cautious parents, I had made very few journeys till my early twenties and so a trip to anywhere would give me extreme happiness, or so I thought.

A few years into my career now, I have realized how my wish and the prediction have come true over the years.

I seem to be the only one in my circle to commute daily over the most harrowing, long winded, traffic congested roads, always. It feels like I am in office only for a few seconds before I take off again on the return trip, yes it seems like a trip, back home. I seem destined to stay as far as possible from office, albeit, in the same city, for various reasons.

The only saving grace, as a result of my vow to use public transport, is that I am free enjoy the same scenery that I have passed by a thousand times.

I try to resign myself to my fate and turn every day’s commute into a quest.

Here are some things I do to avoid going crazy –

  • Assign a theme for each day, for example, old age or faith or excesses etc and then seek for signs and scenes thereof. Around us, a million drama are unfolding ever y second. Deliberate search gives us glimpses of rarity that familiarity with the general aspect makes us miss out.
  • Imagine the makeover of fellow commuters to project just the opposite image – turn the chic into sloppy, the conventional to avant garde, the sad to cheerful, the brazen to demure and so on… the possibilities are endless.
  • Think up movie plots involving 2-3 random fellow commuters.
  • Have competitions to adjudge – maybe the best house or best pair of shoes or hair or the kindliest face and so on. In one instance, I was ashamed to notice a lost, little house for the first time along the road I have passed by since childhood. It was totally overshadowed by the tall commercial buildings, hanging billboards and the vehicles parked in front, disused and forgotten possibly even by its owner who refused to give it up to progress.

I am still stretching my imagination utmost for more, better paths to think along,

Habit makes us blur over the routine scenery. In all the above, the mind’s eye is forced onto totally unfamiliar, hitherto unnoticed scenes. Even in a square yard, there would be so much to observe if only one went looking for it. The novelty is what exhilarates the traveller and that may be achieved by simply opening the mind only a stroll outside. The jaded cosmopolitan will always see the expected, everywhere.

The traveller can and will travel no matter what. It has more to do with the mind than the distance.