Wednesday, 24 August 2005

A Sunday in Moscow

Ad astra per aspera

Abhay K.

A Sunday in Moscow

This story must be told because many believe that it cannot be true. Most of us (outsiders, foreigners) around the world feel how unsafe Moscow would be before we come here. Substantial time is devoted to the lectures carrying details of precautionary measures to be taken while going out in Moscow.
Don’t travel on the Metro.. don’t take public transport..
Don’t go out alone etc.
An atmosphere of fear is created before one comes to Moscow and the newcomer approaches the beautiful city with fear and skepticism. Every other person walking on the street can be a redskin; every other lady passing by can overpower you. Perceptions like Russians are very arrogant also prevail.
Therefore I must tell you the story of “A Sunday in Moscow”.
I have newly arrived in Moscow from New Delhi, India. I had nothing to do on last Sunday so I was sitting at home and reading books. I thought many times to go out and explore but the briefing I had got in Delhi and in Moscow did not allow me to do that. So I tried sleeping. But I could not sleep as I had overslept on Saturday. I put on my jeans and t-shirt, and denim jacket anticipating some cold outside and tried to make up my mind to get out of my house. I was wondering where could I go. So I tried calling my colleagues who had left Moscow for its suburbs without any success. Finally I called up a person I knew and asked him how can I go the Tretyakov Art Gallery. He did not know himself so he gave me the number of another person who has been in Moscow since many years. I called him and got the address of the Metro station from where I can take a metro. I went to the door thrice and came back thinking how would I travel in the Metro and find the place. Nevertheless gathering the courage I moved out of my building in the fourth attempt and found the Metro station. It was not difficult to find it but I was not sure about getting tickets and finding the right metro, as here there are many with different colors. I could manage the ticket, that is like a magnetic card and you have to insert it to get the green signal to enter. Once you enter there is a huge escalator that takes you around 50 meters down to the station. Once I reached there it was very difficult to find the metro I wanted to take so I asked many persons “Izviniche pazalasta” showing the metro map about the station I wanted to go and which metro should I take. After many persons I went to this young lady in her twenties I asked her about it. She was so kind that not only she found the right train for me but also took me to the right track that was a 100 metre walking distance on the other side of the main station and saw me off. I did not have enough words to thank her except my facial expressions.
Metro is very fast and it took less than 5 minutes to reach my destination. Afterwards I could locate the Tretyakov in few minutes asking people around and spent more than three hours at the gallery. Tretyakov is a treasure of the most beautiful portraits, icons, sculptures and paintings. I would like to devote a whole new page to discuss the treasures of Tretyakov. I bought a tie bearing the national emblem of Russia as souvenir and a collection of the few most important works of the gallery. After visiting the gallery I walked up to bridge on the river Moskba where I stood for half an hour looking at the flowing river and its surroundings and my favorite band ‘Scorpions’ played the song in my mind “ follow the Moskba down to the Gorky park…. listening to the winds of change”. My mind was playing back the events that happened since the fall of the Berlin Wall. I had started feeling hungry and I took the metro back to my place – again asking here and there and receiving the kindness of the fellow Russian travelers. I returned home, very grateful, very humble and taking back what Tagore said “a mind without fear’, a lot happy, a lot satisfied.

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