Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter Morning – Out in the Open

By: Madhur Prashant, Humber Student & International Centre Student Ambassador

For those willing to read my post beyond the title, please note that it narrates very ordinary and routine experiences that often escape our notice. However, such experiences/observations, although trivial, add flavour to and take away the monotony from a long winding journey. Here’s a short tour of a gruelling winter morning when I am getting ready for a two-hour journey to my college. On many days, this becomes refreshingly entertaining. Journeys, especially during winter, become an even more out-of-the-world experience.

Winter, according to me, starts at 15 Degree Celsius and ends at about 5. Anything below is, well, horrendous, ruthless and simply torturous. Now imagine an early morning art class where one is expected to warm up, exercise and liberate his/her right brain that, on a below 0 degree Celsius day, is frozen beyond doubt. It is not until the latter part of the day that the right brain really begins to thaw. Until then, one’s got to live with the brain that is left!

Anyway, before I whine anymore about the freezing miseries of winter, I must begin to talk about my early morning weekday commute. Like I said, 8am classes in winter are no joke. Nothing about Canadian winter is ever a joke, practically and figuratively.

Disclaimer: Winter is a beautiful season, only if you are packed to capacity with no room for more layers.

So, at 5:45am, when warm Sun is basking and lazing around someplace else, when birds are sleeping at an unknown location with eyes wide open, when bare trees, like deformed fangs, are looking at one in dozens, and when windows are looking like dark voids, I brave through a biting, crispy, numbing morning towards college. If darkness and disturbing silence creep you out, then be prepared to be frozen even more. At that hour, early morning doesn’t look any different from midnight – dark, awfully quiet and lonely. These winter morning conditions are enough to awaken and scare even a meditative soul.

Hesitantly, packed securely into heavy winter gear, I step out. I look around and find no company at this hour. Balancing myself over ice and inside multiple tight layers, I move on the long patch to reach the nearest bus stop. With so many layers over the body, one is bound to lose touch with oneself and feel a second body over real one.

In this pristine hour of the day, I hear footsteps on the dark road. There’s also an XXL-sized shadow chasing me. Those footsteps are mine and that shadow is mine too, none of which leave me. Earlier, my shadow scared me in such lone moments and I would walk quickly towards a well-lit road. But the shadow would follow me with equal speed.

Shivering under layers, the chill freezes my face, turning it pink red. The nose, frozen first, starts to hurt, becomes numb and stands like a red something! The mouth remains in a perpetual state of drop, probably in awe.

I love to leave deep footprints in snow that is piled up on the side. Some animal can easily hide in the depths! Far in the distance, I see lights flicker and then disappear. Probably, some rich dude/’dudess’ is inside his/her warm, cozy car, going someplace, listening to music.

I reach the bus stop, hop into a bus, and get off again later to take another one. In between all this, I am freezing and thawing at the same time.

On the Third and the Last Bus

In the dark, fellow commuters assemble in hordes at the bus stop, waiting to jump right in. After a long wait, with many more joining in, the game gets tough. Our bus appears at a distance and is approaching with empty seats glowing in the dark. Each one in that crowd wants to get in first, with dignity. The lucky ones find the bus door appear right in front of them. One by one, the rest wait to find a way in. This bus is then stuffed with students, and those lucky can sleep on seats.

The interestingly painful thing about this bus ride is that it takes an hour to get to college. There’s a lot that can be done in that period, although the only thing to happen at any hour in here is deep sleep or forced meditation.

After a long way to get to this bus and an even longer way ahead, I stare out the window, at dark surroundings preparing for the day to rise. While buses and cars are rushing past one another, it still feels as if the world’s asleep. Most around me are asleep too, almost instantly. In that one hour, I read, eat, contemplate and sleep.

When there is still some time left, I think about the person driving this bus, back and forth, and also about what life really is! Haa… too much thought for an early morning.