As promised our taxi was waiting downstairs at 5 AM, the only challenge was waking up the sound asleep driver up. In the wee hours of the morning before the crack of dawn Mumbai takes on a European appearance.
The train station was easy to navigate. Platforms have digital signs clearly identifying the train number and coach numbers for passengers to be able to wait in the appropriate zone once the train arrived. More people were at the station and standing on the platform than the previous morning. Two Indian men walked the platforms with a chrome canister filled with chai and small cups for only 4 rupees. I had one. Alex had 2.
Our train pulled in early. Alex & I boarded an air-conditioned car. Looking at our tickets was 3A and 3C, this meant there were 3 bunks in our car. Fortunately the benches were not folded down for daytime travel giving us plenty of room to sit without needing to climb up and hang out in the top bunk for the journey. The Lonely Planet claimed the ride along the coast by train was breathtaking. Sadly, I can neither confirm nor deny. First, my non-chivalrous boyfriend hogged the window seat only to be rewarded with a foggy view. The AC made it impossible for anyone to see through the double paned glass windows. The men sitting alongside windows on the other side of the train had the curtains drawn closed. Oh well! Guess I will read.
I cracked open my newly acquired book entitled Yesman written by a British author who took a strangers suggestion to “Say yes more” literally and decided to say yes to everything for a year. The book was hilarious making the 11 hour train ride pass quickly while helping me come to several realizations. First, I like to be a Yes-Woman open to trying anything new: learning how to sail or SCUBA, eating at a new restaurant, setting out for a spur of the moment road trip, moving to a new city or quitting my job to travel the world. Over the past decade, whenever Alex has presented options of things to do I eagerly reply, “I’m game for whatever! Let’s do it!” This is why Alex has been spoiled and I am partly responsible for creating the monster he has become.
Second, I realized Alex is the No-Man and is what has made the last few months challenging. There are things I have wanted to say “Yes!” to but have been blocked by the No-Man causing a battle between Yes-Woman and No-Man. I have been having to say no rather than yes to myself.
Reading the book made me wish I was traveling with the cheeky British author. I need a Yes-Man. Why am I traveling with the No-Man? He said No to the Bollywood experience yesterday. As I was reading, I saw him say no to a young Indian man who tried to strike up a conversation with him by blowing him off. Why does he put up so many barriers to prevent human contact? Why the fuck does he even wanting to travel? His attitude prevents us from having certain cultural experiences. As of recent, he is now saying no to listening to my thoughts, feelings and ideas. As a result of his no’s on both fronts, I feel isolated because of the no barriers he’s built. I am ready to take a sledge hammer to those barriers and taking back my Yes!
The train rolled into the Karmali Station and I stepped of the platform as the sun was setting. I paused on the platform for a minute to say, “Yes!” to look at the beautiful sky as it turned a deep shade of fiery red and orange. Alex had already run off to find a taxi and looked severely annoyed when I finally approached the taxi but I didn’t care. He is going to be annoyed regardless of the situation, I might as well make it worth my while. This is my first defiant yes with more waiting in the pipeline.
The sky was pitch black once we made it into the heart of Panjim (Panaji) and to the hotel we had selected. Full! The taxi driver bobbled his head side to side, “No problem, I will take you to my friend’s place.” This meant we would be paying a bit more for his commission but the hotel was worth it and within economical Alex’s elasticity.
Given the plentitude of food vendors roaming the aisles of our train who Alex said, “Yes” to during our journey coupled with the fact I had been sitting all day, I was not hungry. With the lack of sleep from the previous night, I said, “No” to Alex’s request I join him on his exploration to find food so I could say, “Yes!” to sleep.