I am currently traveling in some tribal areas of Maharashtra, collecting data for an evaluation study by the Planning Commission of India.
Impressive? I flaunt it as much as possible, especially when dealing with government officials whom I have to depend upon for secondary data (how I love these official terms!). The words ‘Planning Commission’ and ‘New Delhi’ work like magic. Well, almost.
So, after finishing my survey in Nasik and Nandurbar, I am on my way to Dahanu. Dahanu is around 90 km North of Mumbai and takes about 2 hours by train from Borivali (where I stay). The journey was kinda special because I have traveled beyond Borivali by train only once (and that was only upto Vasai).
The journey was picturesque (do count in the fact that I was traveling in non-peak hours). It reminded me of the stretch between Belapur and Panvel on the harbour line, except that here it was much more beautiful.
The colour green dominates the landscape, marred only once in a way by human construction. As the train moved towards Dahanu, I kept turning my head on either side like the audience in an absorbing tennis match. In the east, a green carpet ran on along the plains before rising upwards dramatically – the first monsoon spell has rendered a layer of grass over the otherwise barren mountain face. The green carpet extended many kilometers in the west as well until it hit a wall of coconut trees. And beyond that… the sea, the sea. (Hmmm… I sound like an elf from the Lord of the Rings).
Yes, the sea was constant companion – sometimes as a glitter in the horizon, sometimes purely in spirit as mist, and sometimes revealing its vast expanse – vast enough to compel man to build a bridge.
I soon reached Dahanu, made first contact with the office there, and returned back by evening. It struck me when I got down at Borivali that at least toda the journey was more important than the destination.