Dilli to Boom-bai : The Early Days

Okay. Google Maps, however useful it is, should not show on the map what’s not there in the actual world. Some would say that Google can’t keep track of every little shop’s closing down. But he disagreed. ‘If its small enough not to care about its closing down, then it should not have been listed in the first place’, he cribbed on the phone, while standing in the middle of the road as a line of vehicles led by an auto drew up behind him, honking continuously in the hope for him to move before they run out of patience and run him over.
As the noise became loud enough to disturb his conversation, he turned with an annoyed expression as if they were the ones disrupting his way. Eyeing the auto driver enough to make him nervous, he moved to the side of the road, listening to the other side of the conversation on the phone and some harsh words from the people around.
After a long, noisy, bumpy, anticipated-to-end-in-an-accident auto rickshaw ride, he had reached the place where a Guitar accessory store was supposed to be. Peering hard onto the maps in his ‘smart’ phone, he knew he was almost there when he read ‘Zero meters away’. However, coming out of the device, all he found were some shady shopkeepers trying to sneak a peek of something they thought was interesting enough for him to keep staring for so long and a partly shut partly worn out marketplace around him. All boards had Marathi text. More confused and frustrated than he was in his JEE exam, he frantically searched for some English text around. Even without that, he realized that he won’t get what he required here.

For what you find almost everywhere in Mumbai.

To his amazement, a vada-paav stall was operating where he expected the store. ‘Are they, like, everywhere ?’, he thought to himself looking at the guy behind the stall quickly putting stuff into other stuff and handing them over without halt.
Even though hungry, he chose to pass on the oh-so-popular snack of the city. He knew nothing about the place and the people there but he was there. And for long.

Dejected, lost, tired and hungry, he started walking in the direction he came from. Getting into another auto, he glanced around for one last time still hoping to find what he came looking for. Remembering his first auto ride and how he guided the auto driver to take every turn looking into the maps and how the auto guy had quietly obeyed him thinking he knew the streets more than himself, ignorant of the fact that he was actually from another part of the country,  he looked disgustedly at his phone and let the auto driver take the decisions this time. Sitting back he looked outside and compared every thing he saw with his stuff back where he came from. Among the ambiguity of his survival, the confusion of  roads and addresses, the kamikaze style driving of the auto guy and the small panic to reach home, was music. He could forget all those for at least some time. And he did just that…….

…..to be continued

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