The guard who stopped the train and made my morning

I made a dash with hesitation (do you know what am referring to? Like, when you run but also your legs give way and your heart wants you to try a bit more?). As I hurriedly bought my ticket, I saw the train doors closing along the platform that was about 20 steps of a run, maybe less. The guard at the barricade told me I can probably make it to the train and as I punched out, I saw the train guard standing out, keeping a door open and urging me to hop into that cabin. I foolishly tried getting into another wondering why the door did not budge open. He patiently called out, “Madam, this one! This one, I have it open.” That’s when I realised I had to get into that compartment and I gave him the most grateful sheepish look I could. The next train was a longer route and 20 minutes away and meant missing my first meeting with a senior at work (who probably would have kindly understood my predicament but that would have made me really guilty throughout our meeting). Anyway, I hopped in, he gave me a small smile as if this was nothing.

As I got off at Waterloo, I walked up to him. He probably thought I was lost and meant to ask for directions. And when I told him, it was beautiful what he did and am so thankful, he gave me the most beautiful smile and shrugged with a, “Ah no problem. Don’t worry about it.”

Almost always when I walk away from such people, the world around me stops. I have tears from God-knows-where spring into my eyes. I tell myself repeatedly, how beautiful people are. It makes me so emotional that I spend the next hour or two smiling at everyone and creeping them out. K has seen me do this multiple times. But really, it made my morning. I have lost count of how many times I have said this, but the people in train stations and the staff who work for the London Underground and South Western Railways are absolutely fabulous and everyday heroes. I mean every one of them. They have let me in when my app conked off, sometimes walked me to the correct exit, drawn a virtual route on their palm to show me the way, redirected me to better and shorter routes and just been absolutely wonderful with other fellow travellers every time I have passed by.

I thought long and hard about how I must title this happy event of mine that happened this morning. I quite honestly could not think of any way to do it. It really is as simple as that and yet so profound.

Distant.

… turns out, I am not going to have much of a break.

The last few days have been transformational – things have come my way when I least expected them to and how! I am now caught in the several labyrinths of choices with each of them offering me a way to reach where I see myself.I am euphoric and thrilled and all that but the paradox of choice has never struck harder before.

Now that I know I have something coming up, I would not mind a reasonably long break. It is funny how this my mind works. I always prided myself on being cool about not having a certain place to go but I guess somethings change. As much as I am a homebody (I am that person who will proudly will tell you she cannot make it for a Saturday night out because she wants to stay home and do nothing), I love people. I love feeling connected and having an opportunity to care for others and be there. And going out, meeting people, hugging friends and then meeting some more makes me insanely happy when I feel like it. And the opportunities I have now will enable that, at least the way I see it.

Over the years I have come to view things and act on things in two ways: the first type is where I let go and just get into something with gay abandon, without so much as a care for the why, how and what ifs. These are times when my mind tells me, “go for it. I mean, why not?”. So every time I act on this impulse, I do not spend an iota of thought on it. The second type is where I really start thinking of why should I do something, how does it take me where I see myself, what purpose does it serve and how and why am I adding any value to what is out there already? How is my action making someone’s life better (mine included)? And I have a good mix of both these and being a Gemini has nothing to do with that (ask me tomorrow and my answer may change). I adopt these two approaches for equally important decisions so it is not a case of when I use what. Sometimes I just act on a whim even if it is something that can have big consequences. Without much overthinking, I view this as a strength. It lends a strange sense of balance and comfort to me knowing that there is no secret to figuring things out. Sometimes you just do what feels right to you then and really, things eventually work themselves out one way or the other. All the more reason why I have come to appreciate and value different approaches to living and learning. It has made me more tolerant, accepting and even appreciative of ‘to each her/his own’. It has made me less judgemental of how people approach challenges and made me less inclined to hastily suggest but rather be more empathetic and just listen even if I have nothing to say at all. Many a time, I have come away learning a bit more about myself when I have listened harder. I will even go so far as to say that learning to listen has made me like myself a bit more and be a little less critical and that includes listening to myself as I write this and the train of thoughts that emanate from something so distant.

Distant is the vision I have for myself. But I can see a path. It is really hazy and not without curves and tricky bends and straight paths I can tread with my eyes closed. I will have to make some choices. Sometimes I will just walk without a care and sometimes I may tread with caution. Maybe I will take a detour and try a different destination or a pitstop. I don’t know. I think I will never know. But that is the whole point. How is it fun otherwise? And why would you be excited for tomorrow and next week and the year after?

An afternoon at Dorset’s Highcliffe Beach

We have for a while been raring to take Mili (our 4 month Cavalier pup) with us on a small getaway. Now that she has received her vaccinations and is free to travel, we jumped right to it. We were specifically looking for dog-friendly getaways (and there are quite a few of them, thank you UK).

One of our friends M recommended New forest and we decided to make a trip to New Forest and visit the Highcliffe beach, last weekend. After a day and night at New Forest (that I will share in another post), we spent a few hours on our way back at Highcliffe. Less than 10 miles away from New Forest, we totally recommend this experience.

It was such a chilly day with dark clouds looming over in spots as we started our drive but the sky opened up beautifully as we neared the coast. And then, it rained. So while we sat in the car waiting for the rain to soften a bit, we noticed how the sky over the beach was much clearer than over the parking lot. I can never get enough of these wonders seriously.

The rain mellowed down pretty fast so we literally jumped out of the car. Beaches are lovely (if not lovelier) in the rains, don’t ever doubt me on that. But I am a very cautious (new) mother and we had too many new things for Mili as it is, and getting her drenched was not something I was eager to do. But Mili? She was oh-so-excited to see so many cars, people and dogs! I think she’d be just as thrilled to be in the parking lot.

The beach line a la Jurassic coast is indeed very beautiful – very clean, lots of sand and gravel for Mili to walk and little rocks for her to climb and watch the sea in great contemplation. There are several promenades and paths to explore but we stuck to the beach. Despite it being so windy and chilly and being threatened to be blown away (not kidding), we loved walking it. There were quite a few fur friends and people around (have tried to keep that away in the pictures) despite the roller coaster weather. Mili absolutely loved saying hello to all of them, always reminding them if they didn’t.

It really was a beautiful morning watching people enjoy the beach with families irrespective of the weather (and the popular notion against it). We met absolutely delightful couples who took time to cuddle Mili and fuss over her as she happily lapped it all up. That’s thing about UK – how inclusive so many facilities are for pets, the acceptance and the love that people have for them. As first time pup-parents, it has been pretty breezy bringing her out thanks to this. We cannot wait to explore more of such delightful nooks soon.

It was only when it started raining we realised how far we had walked. We may go back to the beach and the Highcliffecastle (that we could not explore that day) in the summer!

That Jurassic coastline and this little girl.

Some tips: For those planning a trip I really urge you to go, no matter what the weather. This link has some good details to plan your trip. A word on the car parks – the two easiest ones are the cliff top car park (the drive to this is not steep, just that it is a cliff overlooking the sea but not all that elevated at all) and the Steamer Point Car park where we parked. There is a cafe on the cliff near the cliff top car park but we did not go there since we were not parked there and most importantly, we already had our coffees with us.