The definition of weekend for us is a little different. It never is a Saturday and a Sunday, its always just the Sunday. A six-day workweek is common for everyone working in the manufacturing industry. Come this weekend we decided at the very last moment that we wanted to go to Bangalore for one day. Plans were made and a Qualis was booked for the trip. We started off at around 10:00 pm, from the company residential quarters where all of us stayed. It was going to be a good eight hours drive to Bangy with one halt for dinner.
I always love it, when you hit the road for long trips. I only wish that I was driving the car, but in this case it was not to be. This was the highway which connects the traffic from Ennore port to the rest of the cities nearby. As you begin to gun the engine further you realise that it will be a vain attempt, to let your car go, because of all the trailer trucks that keep whooshing by you, giving you no room to overtake the one ahead of your car. The lights from the oncoming traffic blind you from the darkness that surrounds you. All you have is your cars headlights.
We stopped at a food-court for dinner, and were just in time. They were about to close it and we entered, so they did serve us eventually. As I finished my food early, I stood outside by the edge of the highway and waited for the others. In the middle of the night with a few beers down, every place seems like heaven, not that this place was any bad. I looked at my watch and realised that there are 7 more hours to go. At this very point I remembered On the Road – the book that I read recently – and whether I have always been a Dean Moriarty. There must be a Dean Moriarty in each one of us. I just hope I could someday just pick up my haversack and run away with little money in my pockets and just survive on the road. Life seemed to be on the run, even though it was just a weekend trip. I was slightly high with all the beer I had and the lights of the vehicles rushing by seemed like bolts of lightning hurtling right at me. There were dogs moaning in the stillness of the night and moths hovered around me as if searching for a candle in my cigarette. The trucks passed me unperturbed. In the meanwhile I wondered, when will I hit the road next. I hope to live my life like an itinerant, always on the road. It’s the only place that does not carry any emotion of its own. It is what you want it to be. I had desperate urge to let the car go and just stay back to hitch a ride with some of the passing trailers. But the circumstances don’t really allow you to do everything.
It was morning when we reached Bangy and we freshened up at a friends place in the IIM campus after which I went to meet a very dear friend of mine from my engineering days. The situation seemed like the one in those awkward conversations, because that kind of exuberance was lost, with we pursuing different paths and not keeping in touch and all that. But slowly, we got back to how it was a few years back. We laughed like the old days and he rode his bike in the same way he used to before. Ah, how I miss those days.
At night it was time to hit the pubs and I went with two other friends to a place called Styx which is on M.G. Road. This was the place where I had started drinking for the first time two and a half years back. It was me and Satyen who had been there after one grueling week of company visits and trying to organize an entire industrial tour. As I climbed up the stairs, I was engulfed the same smell of beer and the rock music blasting through my ears. When I opened the door to enter, it was almost like opening a box containing those memories right in front me. I remembered the table where both of us had sat and could picture myself swaying after a few beers and back then we had a time of our life. People change, but every place holds the emotion that you want to associate with it. Styx was the place where I started drinking for the first time and it will always hold the flag for me. It was time for a new beginning. And surprising as it may sound, after two and a half years of drinking, I hadn’t yet had tequila. Two shots of tequila and I was ready to reminisce and remember.
After all memories are all you’ve got. The days never come back again. All you do is hold onto them like dear life and make sure, you never forget them. They say memories are like fingerprints in your head and they slowly fade away. Fade away.