That I was excited about Nagpur is a gross understatement. I had been planning ‘Nagpur Diaries’ since February, ever since Dad told me we would be spending the vacation here. Right from the beginning I was armed with a camera. And my capture-everything-frenzy started from Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.
After check-in we had an hour to kill at the airport. This hour would soon see my brother and mother taking turns to look at me as if I had grown a second head. I was mad, brimming with excitement. I was capturing everything either through pictures with the camera or words which I typed into my laptop in a frenzy. For heaven forbid, if I slow down I might miss something. I couldn’t wait to go to Nagpur and explore it’s perks and surprises. Little did I know a big surprise was waiting to unfold.
It was an interesting group that waited for the boarding of Nagpur bound flight at the airport. There were businessmen, their families, college undergrads, tourists and people who I couldn’t categorize by merely watching them from afar. Soon it was time to board the plane.
The hour on the flight was rather uneventful except that Thor armed with his thunderbolts made quite frequent appearances outside the window. I tried in vain to capture the bird’s view of Nagpur at night. It looked beautiful, golden jewelry scattered across space. My camera could do its beauty no justice at all.
Before we knew it, we were landing. We were directed to the airport bus. As soon as we took a seat my mother received a call. Few seconds later everyone on the bus was looking at her. My brother and I were both still as statues. If my mother’s face could be read correctly something terrible had happened. We waited as patiently as we could for the bus to reach the departure terminal of the airport.
My Dad, who had been on the way to pick us up from the airport, had met with an accident. That day, at that very moment I truly understood the meaning of someone’s “ears ringing”. She said dad was OK. Unscathed and healthy. The car however had took a toll. In a daze we went to the baggage claim counter. All my excitement had vaporized into thin air and in its place was tension.
Have you ever been ever in a moment when you receive a bad news, then are told that everything is fine but you can’t be appeased until you have seen everything for yourself? The world seems to be a tad unreal and you act cool very successfully but inside you are at chaos. It was a relief when we saw our father walking towards us safe and sound.
I was silent on the way home. This was probably all too much to take. I remember one moment when I reached out and held my brother’s hand for comfort. He held it for three minutes and then gave a soft squeeze and let go. Pull yourself back together, he seemed to say. I remember chiding myself mentally for being so unnerved by what turned out to be nothing at all at the end of the day. Dad was safe!
It didn’t held much to cool my nerves when I noticed next to no one wearing helmets on the roads of Nagpur! In heavy traffic, no one wore helmets! The traffic signals were on in only major squares, everywhere else it was switched off for the day. How could people be so careless?!
We had dinner at a colleague’s place. When we returned to the flat it was flooded in water due to the heavy rain that day. We had to push water out of the flat in the middle of the night. First five hours in Nagpur and it was already turning out to be a roller-coaster.
So, tired and on a note of restlessness I retired for the night. Wondering what Nagpur had in store for me the next day.