There’s something about traveling to Chennai that depresses me. Usually I’m a big fan of traveling, at least I think I am. Usually, before any trip, when I’m getting ready to leave, I feel happy. There’s some kind of happy expectation that there’s going to be lots of fun to be had in the trip. Except, when I’m going to Chennai.
I’ll be leaving home in about an hour’s time to catch a bus to Chennai. We’ll be there for a day and a half, and I’ll be meeting lots of people and hopefully having a good time. There’s nothing inherently unpleasant or uncertain about this trip. Heck, we’re even going to get picked up at the bus stand by someone holding my name board – it doesn’t get better than that.
But still, I’m not at my most cheerful. There’s something that’s making me feel sad. That’s because I’m going to Chennai. Oh, and I should mention one thing. I feel this way only when I’m taking an overnight train or bus to go there. The times when I’ve caught the early morning Shatabdi to get there (of late, that’s my most preferred means of transportation to Chennai) I’ve felt quite happy and upbeat.
I think it’s the association with college. I think I’ve mentioned here that I don’t count my years at IIT as my happiest. I was an inherently troubled soul back in those days, and the only thing that I would look forward to back then was the monthly trip back home. And when that trip back home was over and it was time to go back, gloom would descend.
I remember it would be the same dinner my mother would make every time I’d to take the overnight train. There was this fixed time we’d leave home, and the same route we’d take to the station. And till about a year or so back, when I started taking that route quite frequently (for different purposes of course), traveling towards Majestic via Bull Temple Road and Goods Shed Road would remind me of those days when I’d be going back to Chennai.
A lot of things have changed. On most occasions my trips to Chennai nowadays are for happy purposes. Yet, when it’s late night and I’ve to leave for Chennai there’s a vague feeling. That lump in the throat. There’s a bottle of Thums Up that the wife has just placed on my table. Hopefully consuming it will clear the lump.