After having taken my luggage at the Heathrow Airport, I ambled my way to the small cubicle of the National Express. The weather was nippy. A jovial woman and a (Punjabi) guy. The lady, probably looking at the urgency and availability of buses, took up the initiative and booked the ticket, and rushed me off with a “go quickly, darling” (had she not done so, I’d have to wait for a few hours maybe). It was a beautiful ride. I remember telling Mahasweta later that the country-side looked so much like Axomiya hinterlands! We had stoppages at ‘Stansted Airport’ and ‘Trumpington Park and Ride’. The bus was actually one for Norwich via Cambridge. I had written to Ankur (Barua) Da previously, but because my phone services had suddenly gone off, I could neither call nor message (emergency balance had reached nil after a fairly refreshing chat with Ma…ha ha) to tell him that I would arrive later than I had thought previously. It was around 6:30 pm that we reached City Center, Cambridge.
‘Impressions of Cambridge’ (09/10)
The City Center is not a big place. Just three bus stands, lying next to each other. And as luck would have it, it had started raining. So, basically, I was there in a new city with two huge suitcases and two hand bags, not quite knowing where to go next and how to contact Ankur Da. No means of communication, no idea of where to go next (since the bus-stop was a slight distance away from my College, and I thought it was not advisable to start walking off arbitrarily). Thank goodness I could keep my calm and not panic. I briefly spoke to this guy, who said he was Spanish and new to Cambridge himself, AND his phone had switched off. I remember staring into the rain, the pavements and the road, waiting and thinking. But as they say, there is always a way and a good Samaritan around the corner. This tall gentleman who stood near the bus-stop gave me his phone, upon briefly chatting with him, asking me not to worry. I gave Ankur Da a quick call and he was there in a short while. We then started our way towards College.