From the moment it was first suggested to me, I didn't want to go. Afterwards, they changed the argument so that now only I could do it. So I had to go.
I still didn't want to go.
Even after I'd heaved my rucksack down off the top of the almirah and dusted it and thrown in the standard toothbrush, underwear and necktie, I didn't want to go.
But there's something about a village railway station post midnight. There are two platforms, both deserted. A set of neat, green benches are arranged but none occupied. One lone man sleeps on one bench. Far on the other end of the platform the tea-stall owner lies on another bench, listening to music off his phone. Straight, parallel tracks which trail away to meet at the invisible horizon. I sit down with a cup of hot tea. Cold breeze, hot beverage and utter stillness all around, broken only by a damned lady's recorded voice announcing the arrival of train something something at Platform One. Hmm. Now I don't really mind going.
[Note to self and lessons learned: Next time, I'll go till the station, breathe a little and come right back. The experience of sharing my sleeper seat with tiny hyperactive cockroaches does not hold any form of return value. A unique, enriching travel experience? No!
Also, Mumbai, I don't like you very much. A most literal mix of hustle and bustle, chaos and kindness, old people having nowhere to go and auto-drivers chatty about everything under the blistering hot sun - it reminds me of home. A home with bad street food, but home nonetheless.]