At six am, the Bombay train station is dull and unhurried- languid, really- men still lie on sheets of cardboard, inches from the train that rolls in. I enjoy the pace at which, the young and old alike, clamber in; as though the day is long, and we have all of it. I take my seat by the window.
I feel none of the familiar excitement that travel brings, none of the sleeplessness that accompanied me months earlier in Delhi, at the Old Delhi Railway Station. I am quiet like the couple in front of me that needs no words, and smile every sixty minutes.
Poona is at peace. Save an advertisement that asks us if we would rather be in London, the dip in temperature, friendly auto wallah, and smell of warm Kayani’s Shrewsberry is welcoming. I am not certain what to do in Poona. Order a beer in a Poona Club room, eat at Darios- because it overlooks the Osho ashram, and sing along at Arc Asia? Perhaps, but live music saddens me, like not much else.
I go to a nightclub then. For the first time in twenty-six years, I’m on a public dance floor, like sardines in a can, grinding to popular music, downing a tequila at the bar. I swipe my card at the entrance, take the entry stamp, and follow the crowd right to the centre of ogling men and angry women. Stomping feet, and caressing thighs and hands in mid-air.
When I take the train back home, still savoring the Thai lunch from Malaka Spice, I take to my neglected paperback with a vengeance.
I know who I am, but I wish I had forgotten.