"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

Nearly 2 decades ago..

On a chilly winter evening of Bangalore, in a bus not so crowded, through clean and wide streets packed with moderate and silent traffic, along roads covered with canopy of trees slightly wet under the winter fog, a young mother travels with her two kids. They get down near Cubbon Park and as they walk in, the kids, both the older one and the younger one, are jumping with excitement. They have come to ride the Toy Train for the first time in their life. Even the ice-cream stalls (selling vanilla flavored ball-cups) fail to distract the kids as they pull their mother straight to the train station. The 30 mins wait for the ticket is passed with curious expectation. Their turn finally arrives and all 3 hurriedly hop into a cabin.

The air is electric with excitement...

The ride around the park is the most joyous experience - the kids constantly shrieking and shouting when a tunnel arrives - and the looks on their faces may have resembled Christopher Columbus when he saw America for the first time. The coaches are open so everyone can feel the cool Bangalore air brushing their skin. Nobody talks on their phones or gets busy with taking pictures - everyone is just living the moment, experiencing it, breathing it in.. so deeply that its memory is still so fresh even after 2 decades.

Cut to the present

On a hot morning of winter, in a city whose name we are not sure whether Bangalore or Bengaluru, in an over-crowded bus, through narrow roads clogged with constantly honking traffic, under the canopy of dust covered over-head metro tracks, a group of mothers travel with their noisy kids. They get down near Cubbon Park and walk into the newly constructed MG Road metro station. The mothers drag their kids, distracted by the toy stalls along MG Road, to the ticket counter. There is a small wait of 10 minutes but younger kids get restless and start cribbing. The older kids are busy with their video games. The metro train arrives and everyone excitedly rushes in.

The air isn't really electrically charged.. but the tracks underneath are...

The ride to Byappanhalli is most joyous experience - but for the adults only. The announcements in the train and the crowd of shrieking adults have scared the younger kids, while the older kids are still busy in their video games. Half the adults get on phone calls to announce their metro presence, while the other half are busy taking pictures. The coaches are closed and air-tight to avoid harsh traffic fumes and hot sun on the outside, and passengers enjoy the cool air-conditioning. By the time people actually start looking outside the window, the journey is over. The only memories are the photos uploaded to Facebook and videos on You-tube. Hope they survive for the next 2 decades..