When I was in high school, my school was at walking distance from home… it was so close that I could go home for lunch during the lunch breaks! I hated that so much because I wanted to eat with my friends. It is fun to share lunch with friends…isn’t it? My mom would think that if I come home I could eat hot fresh food! She was right and I was right too! Fast forward that to 2010…when I was doing masters at Temple University, how I wished to live closer to the university campus so that I can go home during lunch break! I hated the idea of daily commute for 45 minutes each way and the train was every hour…that means whenever I had late evening class, if I miss my 8:40 pm train I had to go home around 10 and by the time we used to eat its midnight!
So when we moved to our new place that 45 minute commute became my biggest worry. I used to complain about it all the time. Even though I stay right next to the train station and my school is 5 minutes walk from train station. It reminded me of Mumbai. I didn’t like Mumbai because of the commute to work. My father and my sister used to take bus/train to work everyday and I had seen them exhausted /frustrated by the end of the day. Here, in USA if I come home late I don’t have any domestic help like back in India either! There was an alternate route I could take like take a bus to nearest train station which would cut down my travel by 15 minutes. It all depended on the bus-train connection! Sometime it would work perfectly sometimes fail miserably and I used to end up missing both my trains!
It all changed when I started to look around and find reasons to enjoy my commute. On my way to school, I cross the Schuylkill River and I can see the Kelly Drive on one side and Philly downtown on other side from my train only for 2-3 minutes. Every day I look forward to those moments…it changes my mood completely. Its my daily dose of energy! Everyday the river looks different. In the morning it looks busy reflecting our mood and in the evening it looks serene. The sun rays play with the skies and water being water, transparent, acts as a canvas for this display. Early Winter skies are pink , purple sometime deep orange! In summer you can see picture perfect clouds, remind me of my childhood paintings. I have a picture blog on different seasons on Kelly drive. kelly drive blog
It is amazing to see how this drive changes through out the year…As spring touches Philly, the Kelly Drive bursts with thousands of pink and white cherry flowers…it is followed by lush green leaves in summer and beautiful fall colors in fall… In winter when it snows, ground near the river is covered with snow and the water of the river looks beautiful blue…I have seen the Kelly Drive in all seasons and tried to capture it through my camera from the train…they don’t do any justice to what I see through my eyes though!
I have learned how to use my time on train effectively as well. I usually write, read or simply listen to music on the train. Of course I play candy crush! Some of my blogs are born and brought up during this commute. 🙂 Sometimes I get time to finish my work before I run for a lab meeting! 🙂 I have made some friends, my train buddies, whom I only see on the train for few minutes but that gives me a reason to look forward to my day. Another thing that makes my commute fun is the enthusiastic gang of ticket conductors. Each one of them has a peculiar trait that makes him/ her special. Now since I have travelled on this train for more than 3 years I know most of them personally. They all have different ways to entertain the daily commuters.
Philly is well connected with public transport but now wherever my job will take me I might not be this lucky! I might have to drive to work. Driving is fun when you do it once but it can be torture too! May be I have to find something interesting in that as well.
In a way, Life is a journey, if you find right path, right people and a destination, no matter how hard is the road ahead, how long is the distance to go, the commute becomes wonderful!