Now that I have started working again, I consciously decided that I am going to add some exercise to my daily routine. In my previous job, I traveled by car and sat at my desk all day long, and being the super lazy person I am, there was absolutely no scope for exercise. Now, my office is located 20 minutes from Dadar station, so instead of taking a cab (which I wouldn't get anyway) I decided to walk to and fro to work.
I am usually not an observant person when I am traveling by an auto or cab. I don't pay attention to any details, and I usually get horribly lost, unless the driver knows exactly where I want to go. But when I walk, I absorb and take in all the details around me - the sights, sounds, everyday nuances about the place. Getting off at Dadar station is an experience within itself. First, the air hangs heavy with the stench of human feces, a hobo's armpits and a 'Gents urinal', all with a dosage of rotting coriander leaves. Then, as I hold my breath as long as I can, I jostle with about a million other people to walk up a flight of narrow stairs, bearing blows to all parts of my body.
I don't complain about this, because it's not only me who's going through the ordeal. The woman who was punching me a second ago was also being punched by someone else. It's an endless cycle of punches and blows. It's all fun and game till you know, someone dies, or something. Anyway, once the jostling is over, my walk begins.
If the station itself is so bad, you can only image what lies ahead. Wading through unending muck and dirt and blood, and vomit and coriander I start walking. It is drizzling slightly, so everyone opens up their umbrellas, almost poking my eyes out. There is a very old and sad looking horse who pulls a cart laden with rotten lettuce and coriander. I feel deeply hurt, but move on. There are two cows tied to a pole eating and shitting while people touch them out of sheer respect.
A little further, there is a Sulabh Sauchalaya, smelling like it should smell, along with rotting coriander. A homeless family sits on a cart outside. The baby wails on top of his voice, and his teenage mother mouths expletives shutting the baby up. Then I see a rare sight of ear wax cleaners (seriously, there are none around anymore!) cleaning people's ears and a public assembles to watch this (disgusting) feat.
Walking ahead, there is more rotting coriander and hordes of people loading bags and bags of it in trucks. Seriously, that's a lot of coriander. There is another cow tied to a pole, swatting flies with its tail. Then comes something I haven't seen in such close proximity before. There is something called 'Navrang Bar', a desi daru adda. There is no door, flimsy curtains separating the drunks from the outside world. There is the overpowering smell of bad alcohol, and I observe people getting totally hammered at 8.30 IN THE MORNING. Drunks sit outside, either vomiting or getting into fights.
Another 5 minutes later, I reach my office. There is a small Hanuman mandir outside with the inscription 'Thanks to Mr. XYZ for the biggest donation ever to make this mandir'. I bow my head in prayer and mumble:
"I better lose weight at the end of this!"