This post is intended for the eyes and ears of those 400 odd people who managed to make it through the travesties and the ordeal of the 18 day Tata Jagriti Yatra 2008. Others please find some other space to strain your eyes for the time being as I am being exclusive and loving it at being so. The 18 day odyssey that took us through the length and breadth of the country has to be an experience which only some would be able to live and tell. I would go on to say that even some of the yatris would find it difficult to express their feelings in words at having been through so much in so less a time. For those un-initiated to the world of Yatris here’s a sneak peek.
As the clock struck 12 on the 24th of December, 2008 it brought with it a hope, some anxiety, some nerves and some pure agony. Hope because it was the start of one of the most awaited journey of my lifetime, anxiety because of the feeling of it being a let-down after so much of patience, nerves because 18 days on a train is no cake-walk and agony because the day had already arrived and just 18 days remained for it to end!!!
I have been to several train journeys before and am quite accustomed to a very dirty and exhausting traveling itinery but to think of spending 18 long days, with strangers, on a train that is to travel endlessly over barren terrains of this huge India was a task even the most ardent of travellers would find daunting and thrilling. I found it so!!
18 days, 15 inspiring places, 352 strangers and India!!! With spicy ingredients and mouth-watering plains TJY had to be a run-away success, yet being let down is something someone should always watch out for and for this precise reason I had kept my enthusiasm under check and in full control. After 18 days I would have no reason to complain even if it came a cropper. Not the right way to look at things, i grant that but then when you have been there and done that you have to keep things under-stated. 18 days later I had to keep myself from punching me at having ever doubted the intentions of the organizers to make it a lifetime experience. Lifetime it really was and how!!
You have to be there to experience the thrill of waking up at 6 in the morning with Smriti’s voice nudging you to be up and running. You have to experience the sensation of going through morning ablutions and all of it on train, over the platform, in 5 star wash-rooms, street lavratories and the rest. You have to sit in those AC Chair cars to experience the dedication and the focus of spirited individuals with the required know-how of their future course of life. You have to sit in those circles to soak in the vagaries of Indian lives and the depths of one’s thinking. You have to acclimate yourself to constantly changing weather to feel the winds sweeping you through your feet. You have to sit in those compartments with people you have known for only about a day and yet share things you would otherwise never dare to bare. You have to enjoy the breathless locales of Kerela, truly the God’s own country to feel the earthy detachement of those rustic villages down under. You would have to sit atop the Rock Memorial to experience what it feels like being on top of the world. You would have to meditate in that dungeon with Vivekananda to soak in the silence and the tranquility.
I can go on and on over what you need to do incase you missed being on this journey, yet fact remains that whatever you do you would never be able to recreate the magic as we did and therein lies the essence of the Yatra. I know I am being nostalgic and curse myself for it. This only goes on to show the total break away fun that it was. Kudos to the organizers and fellow Yatris for making it so.
I am gonna break my pen writing down my experiences on board the Jagriti Train. Readers beware!! The unstructured thoughts would be all the more chaotic and random in times to come. Too many things in too small a brain can make you like that sometimes. I would be penning down my thoughts on TJY in a series of posts. Keep Watching this space for more!!