April 2011 was stuffed with holidays. The last one being Good Friday and along with it comes eponymous long weekend. By some stroke of universe forces, I found myself on my way to Shirdi.
This was my second visit to Shirdi. This time around, both the config of demography (former - friends, latter - family and elders) of our entourage and mode of transport had changed (former - train, latter - SUV on road). The combination to give an altogether different experience than last time.
Riding by road all-night called for someone willing to take a seat next to driver and be very determined not to fall asleep. Given the config as told earlier, the onus surely and squarely fell on me. I haven't put up an all-nighter in a long time. Adding to the difficulty level of this task was the absence of any fitting music to keep both driver and me awake. Somehow driver had managed to carry with himself CDs of only ghazals. Little after 2am, sleep stealthily approached me with silent Ninja steps aided by the intoxicating deep-voiced Urdu of ghazals For some 15min in real time (and half a second in sleep time; and I think Nolan got it diametrically opposite in Inception), I doggedly dodged the Ninja's claws; just slipping out each time when it had me in its grip. But this dodging business was no help me survive till dawn.
I fished out my MP3 player to rescue. It had some peppy dance numbers from yesteryears (circa 2000-2008 AD) stored in its never-forgetful memory. Now, the part to make it mate with the vehicle's music system. Like some couples who aren't meant-to-be, this duo also could not get it along though they both needed each other. What next? I brought out a pair of Creative EP-630 inside-the-ear earphones and attempted to do a share-ware. EP-630 plugged in MP3 player and its two dangling ear-buds doing an Avatar-esque sahelu between me and driver. The road warriors got an ear-bud each. One ear taking in sounds of the long dark (k)night (I just couldn't resist writing this) and other ear hearing cymbals and electronic bass.
Now the show was on. I wanted to show-off my music collection and be a bit of DJ as well. So, I appeared to furtively click controls of MP3 player to show that I was customizing the music for my driver. In reality, all I was doing was turning the Shuffle mode ON and controlling volume in real-time. I was hoping that this would make a big impression on our driver. Well, some two hours later and lot of thumb twiddling, we managed to successfully keep the Ninja away with our Hatori-Honso-Samurai-sword-music. Being very near to our destination, driver decided to stop-over for tea for that last mile push. Over tea, I went into a chit-chat with him. He wryly said, "Return journey mein phir se yahi gaane mat bajana, kuch achcha aur nahin hai ismein?" There went my hope of being a good DJ (or human equivalent of www.pandora.com) into Recycle Bin. Maybe I will Restore it for more accommodating pair of ears and music taste.