HOPEFUL STRANGER

The-Road-Not-Taken

Stranger in my own land

It’s a kilometre and half’s walk from my college to the bus stop from where I get the bus to home. So every day I stand at the gate watching girls get out on their scooters, wheeling strength to ask them if I can get a lift to the stop. Mostly I fail. But today I did hop on some stranger’s back seat and on the way I got to know that she’d be going halfway to home so I thought I’d get off there and catch some other bus home. It was a happy day until my inexplicable bad luck kicked in and…

Her scooter started making some weird noises and she stopped and asked me to get off so she could drag it to some mechanic. So I did get off on that beautiful roundabout I’ve visited a thousand times with my family and also once with the school to march for some social cause, but today I was alone and I had to get home.

 

There are four exits (usually) of a roundabout, one led home. Sounds easy right? 4 exits, one of which I got in from, left with three. I knew my home would be north to where I am coming from so that cut down to two alternatives, the next and the one straight ahead. I knew the former was the familiar one because that’s the way dad would take if we were in the car but I also knew that won’t take me to the main road from where I could get the bus and I can’t walk home nor was I so sure of the route. Now I am a stranger in a place I’ve been living for more than 20 years and I am dazed and confused.

 

I know where I want to get I know I’ll get there but am not sure which way to go.

I take the first exit because that’s familiar and familiar is hopeful and I start treading on that path. Suddenly fear strikes me, what if this is not the right way? What if I am walking the wrong road? What if this won’t take me home and leads to an even stranger place, what about all the time and effort I am putting to walk this way and it turns out to be completely wrong and start looking for signs, for places or landmarks, I look for assurance and hope that I’ll find it at the next signal and I keep walking, frightened yet hopeful.

 

And all I could think about was Robert Frost and the Road not taken. I wouldn’t have to walk this much if I’d gone straight ahead. How with every passing vendor and building I longed for nearness. I could have stopped walking and asked someone for the right way but I didn’t, I just wanted to walk on the path I had chosen, not because I had some instinct that it would take me home but because in that wandering I found solace, a sense of purpose, that excitement, anticipation, that sovereignty of decision. Though I was lost but that day when I reached home I realized, not until we are lost that we begin to find ourselves.

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