In the crisp dawn of Sunday, 17 November, I arrived in Aurangabad. My designated new hometown, it is a small, dusty town about 400-odd kilometers from Mumbai.
I stepped off the bus, and looked around me. The town was still waking up, so besides some solitary auto rickshaws parked some meters away, there were only a few people walking about in the cool mist of the morning. Sari-clad women had woolen scarves tied around their head, while men wore sweaters and woolen caps. Billboards flashing trendy jewellery and rice bran oil stood silent, as if their voices were stilled by the cold. It is winter in Aurangabad.
I looked down at what I was wearing, and groaned inside. I was in crumpled shorts and rubber slippers, an outfit that was wrong in so many ways at that particular moment. Shorts, to begin; the town is still owned by the sari, and my shorts were a clear affront to the 9 yards edict, exposing my legs for all to see. I tried to see discreetly if I was catching any disapproving stares. Luckily, folks seemed too busy trying to wake up.
Culturally off on the wrong foot, it looked like I was out to thumb my nose at Mother Nature too. As my auto rickshaw took off, after flimsy negotiation on the rate, I felt the cool air reveal its unpleasant, sharp edge and bite into me. Goosebumps rose on my skin, my body braced against the cold. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I said inwardly. I didn’t know they packed all my belts so I couldn’t wear pants!
In 10 short minutes (thank god!), we reached. As my mum opened the door, I felt, I’m home.