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"Not all those who wander are lost"

Utxin and his Umbrella

INDIA | Wednesday, 27 May 2015 | Views [78] | Scholarship Entry

My heart sank when Angie announced that she won’t be going to Ronda with me the next morning.She said she’d rather save the money for a customized cooking class in Seville.
The thought of travelling alone in a foreign country made me sick to my stomach.Having grown up in a fairly conservative Indian family,being adventurous was restricted to a clichéd night out or an absurd haircut. A little less than halfway into our Spanish escapade,there I was,sitting dull and disprited in El Granado’s beautiful hostel lobby,staring at a computer screen that froze on the ‘Renfe‘ website,as the americano on the table turned colder than the ice tea I had earlier.
My memory fails me but I am thankful for whatever it was,despite having taken those anarchic few hours that I could've otherwise spent meeting interesting Spaniards at a tapas bar,that prompted me to buy that damn ticket from Granada to Ronda that evening.
An anxious night alternated with sleeplessness and panic attacks made it very difficult to feel the least bit excited about the oldest city in Spain.Cartographically challenged,I set out a couple of hours earlier for a walk that barely takes 20 minutes.It was around four in the morning.Youngsters were wrapping up revelries from the night before,spilling over to the pavements outside their favourite pubs,finishing their last drink,perhaps.
I was quite pleased at how the map led me on impeccably,through every block and every street,and with the help of some early risers walking their dogs, the station emerged at a fathomable distance in the anticipated 20 minutes or under.
As I reached closer to the entrance, it suddenly began to drizzle.I ran the remaining few metres as the rain gods turned more vindictive.The staggering ascent of the faint morning sun revealed an obscure silhouette of what seemed like a boy,aged between 16 and 18,dirty and decidedly stoned,sitting next to a garbage dump outside,holding a discoloured black umbrella over a hipsterly upholstered guitar case laying beside him,while he let the rain drench his soul with an enviable abandon.Our eyes met,transiently,in an unspoken relatedness,disallowing the vanity of human life to get the better of us, I thought.A smile was exchanged and a name was disclosed.The memory of ‘Utxin and his Umbrella’ stayed with me longer than I imagined.The spirit of human solidarity was reassured in less than a minute.
Life deserves a leap of faith.
I bought my ticket to Cordoba after I returned from Ronda.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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