Friday, March 22, 2013

Murphy's Law

It was my last  day in Assam. I had spent most of yesterday and today writing my report for NERSWN. In the evening, I finally met the landlord of the office where the organization is housed. He has been a proud member of the Assam Regiment  for 27 years and plans to retire in two more years. He spoke about all the places he has been to, which was practically everywhere. Currently, he was stationed in Meghalaya.

My train to Siliguri was at 10:30 pm, so it was only expected that something would go wrong. I tend to be a magnet for Murphy's Law. You know, the adage that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. At 8:30 pm, powerful gusts of wind began to fill the air with dust. It became so intense that we had to close the doors and lock ourselves inside. Within a few minutes a torrential downpour fell upon the town of Gossaigaon. The winds did not stop and the rain continued to crash against the tin roof, getting louder with each passing gust. I waited, because there was nothing else to do. Sonam chuckled. "Looks like you won't be going today." I laughed nervously. Like I said, Murphy's Law Magnet.

After an hour of crazy rain-wind tangoing the atmosphere calmed down. The wind stopped and a steady drizzle remained. A hearty last supper and a few goodbyes later I hitched my backpack and myself onto Sujit's motorcyle. I would be going after all. Take that, Murphy!

As we rode slowly and steadily in the dark I  could see the damage the storm had inconveniently left behind. Bamboo fences were soaked, flat on the floor. Trees had been uprooted and lay sprawled across the road. The train station had no electricity, save for the dull red glow of the large digital  clock. I sat under this light next to a large family. At this moment, three thoughts ran through my head:
1. I was a woman.
2. I was traveling alone.
3. It was dark.

I felt fear. A flurry of thoughts crossed my mind. Would I get mugged or raped or murdered? I had no one to depend on but myself. That was daunting. I could either let this fear transform into paranoia, or I could accept it and become super cautious. I chose the latter. The family next to me was also going on the same train as me so I tagged along with them. It was a group of 8 individuals - Rajbongshi men, women, and  children traveling to Jharkhand to  visit  family. They kept me company and I was grateful. After an hour's delay the train finally arrived. In the rush of boarding and finding my berth I did not even get to thank the family that had allayed my fears.

|The train ride was four hours long. I was supposed to get off at Siliguri, but I deboarded 2 stations later at New Jaipalguri instead, because shared jeeps were available there. Meanwhile, dawn was approaching and the sky was metamorphasizing into progressively lighter shades of blue. A new day had begun, and I was no longer afraid.

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