When the place next to me on the Kadamba point to point bus was taken, I felt an invasion of privacy. But this was a public bus and I had no business to be paranoid.
It was 0725 a.m. I was curious why a young man would need to travel at this time in Goa. Young tourists of his ilk in Goa usually roamed in packs, sloshed out sleeping last night’s hangover away.
But he chose to travel alone. He seemed to stand out with his French beard. His eyes were friendly and alert. He looked self-assured. And he was sitting beside me.
I ventured to ask where he was headed. He said he was catching a train to Mangalore from Margao station. I mentally gave him 2 extra marks for that. So he was a traveller.
I began to reminisce about the time I used to do the same. In quest of that elusive poem, I travelled the length and breadth of the country to compile my sheaf of poems A Peace of India: Poems in Transit (2011).
I looked at my companion with new found respect. Was he a dreamer like me? What were his aspirations? What was he looking for in his travels?
‘I am a film director,’ he said. ‘I have a script ready. I am looking for a producer.’ ‘People are so friendly, especially in the villages,’ he said about the few days he spent at Calangute.
‘What is your favourite film?’ I ventured. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ he replied and proceeded to tell me the story of the Frank Capra film released in 1946. ‘I want to do a film that is socially relevant,’ he said.
‘When you travel alone you learn many things. You experience life,’ he said. He was from Chennai and smiled when I spoke of Kollywood and Chennai Express. ‘You have to have a balance between the commercial and artistic in the film,’ was his view.
He further added that he was from Coimbatore. I immediately told him I had gone for a seminar at PSG Tech at Coimbatore. ‘I passed out from that college,’ he said. I told him about my poem titled ‘Deep South’ (2007) – a poetic travelogue of my sojourn at Chennai—Mahabalipuram--Coimbatore.
I told him I would have loved to give him a copy of my poems. At the very least I would upload ‘Deep South’, if I had not already done it on my blog and send him the link on WhatsApp. I even took a selfie of both of us sitting in our seats.
I asked him his age. He said 25. ‘That’s a good time to be doing what you are doing,’ I said. I shared vignettes of my life’s journey with him.
I am glad I did not choose to remain silent in the bus. I chanced upon my doppelganger -- my double.
Published in Gomantak Times, Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday 2 July 2017. Selfie of both of us taken on the bus.