After the 10th board exam the process of applying for admission to junior college started. Gargi decided that her preference will be to college nearer to her home. So accordingly she applied for admission to the college nearer to her home. Even though the college was quite near as she lived in northern tip of her city and the college fell outside the boundary of the city in the adjoining town transport options were not so straightforward.Gargi was completely unaware of how to reach this place, first day she went with her Mom to apply for admission in this college, when they tried to catch a Rickshaw (a three wheeler vehicle popularly used like a taxi in India) ,the Rick driver said that he can only drop till the end point of Mumbai referred to as “Checknaka” from there you have to take another rick. So after changing into two rickshaws Gargi finally reached her college and applied for admission.
Over next few days she had to travel to college 2-3 times to complete the admission process always by rickshaw and accompained by one of her parents. During this she came to know that there is college bus service which drops students at fixed points, one of which was at walkable distance from her home.She thought I will enroll in this later once college starts so all issue of travelling solved.
On first day when she enquired about college bus service she came to know that was full, she felt lost. Luckily she met another girl in her class who stayed near her home who told her that you have to walk for about 1 km from here to a bus stop, from where multiple buses are available to your designated bus stop, same point where college bus would drop you and from there again a walk of about 1 km to reach home.
Next day Gargi started on her first solo journey by public transport, she walked till the bus stop immediately she got a bus which was very crowded. Journey was of only 5 -7 mins by bus, but travelling alone she felt scared will I be able to identify correct stop, what if I get lost? In Mumbai life is very fast and if you have to use public transport you have to be ready at the door well in advance of designated stop. You have to get down in matter of seconds else you will taken ahead to the next stop.
With slight doubt in mind whether this is correct bus stop or not, Gargi got down at her stop.She started walking trying to recollect the route shown to her yesterday by her classmate.At each turning of the road she felt confused whether I am going right way or not, finally she reached her college.
This may appear as a very small incident to anyone but to Gargi this was major incident, her first experience of travelling alone in public transport, her first encounter with the outside world.This incident gave her the confidence that even I can be independent, go anywhere I want.
Little did she know at that time that this is only a small journey, a beggining and later on in life she will have to travel across the seas to a foreign land all alone, in pursuit of her dreams…….
To be continued…..