A couple of weeks before my dad passed away a couple of years back, I had asked him if he had any regrets in his life. His answer was no, and I believed him. We didn’t call him the Happy Man for nothing!
Those few weeks, he had trouble sleeping, and I saw him a few times just standing quietly near his bedroom window, holding on to the bars for support and looking out at the non-stop traffic on Old Madras Road 6 floors below, contemplating ... He was above the Metro that he had made his own, the city that converted his shy bangla-speaking wife to learning english and the (tamil-kannada-hindi) chow-chow she still speaks, the city where his children grew wings to fly, the city that he’d fought for during his years of community service. I had wondered what he was thinking about. Had he realized that the end was around the corner?
There was one thing I know he wanted to do before he left. He wanted to ride the brand new Metro train - Namma Metro. It had been almost done for months, and was supposed to open for test runs in weeks. Byappanahalli station was within walking distance to our flat, and that had been one of the reasons he’d purchased the flat … “I can walk to the Metro Station”.
At the window, I think he was thinking why the construction had taken so long, and why they had delayed the opening, and that he would not be able to take that Metro ride after all… Bangalore had been too inefficient for this efficient man - his Metro had let him down.
After I hurt my leg, I knew I had to postpone my first Metro ride as well; I was planning to accompany Ma - she’d not yet been on it. Our driver had suggested we get on at Byapannahalli, get off at Mahatma Gandhi Road, and come right back on a two-leg round-trip; he’d pick us right up where he dropped us off. We had laughed it off... I had crutches.
Today, we were driving past the Mahatma Gandhi Road station, and he teasingly suggested we take the Metro back home and he'd pick us up at the station! Great idea! Despite protests from my mother on my lack of mobility, I decided we would do this ... somehow ... crutches and all.
I’d do this for her, and for my dad. She would get to ride Namma Metro, and I’d do it on his behalf!
I took that single-leg journey on the Metro today!
|Mahatma Gandhi Road Station|
Ma waiting for the train to come
It's a great ride!
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