Monday, 23 March 2009

6 days of my life on the Indian Railways- Part 2

Next journey began from a different junction in the same city. It was one helluva ride getting there from the main station. When I finally got there, thankfully, people were still keeping me company through SMS. Worth mentioning since that was the only company I had in that overcrowded station.

People, people everywhere, not a person to speak.

People who have to go places, who have to buy packaged drinking water, people who have to beg, people who have to eat...

-->My mum keeps telling me, that I can strike a conversation even with a stone.
-->One of my friends keeps telling me that it will be extremely rare for me to feel alone. Her explanation is that I keep myself company (Something to do with the twin soul of a Gemini) at any point. Apart from the twin Soul part, I agree with both of them.

When I found my berth for the next journey I was curious to see who my companions were. It was going to be the longest journey of the trip. My ears straining for the sound of my mother tongue somewhere - anywhere and then entered a guy who would speak just that, along with a family of 4 who did too. There was also a sardar, the most handsome one I have seen. The first guy was a PWD fella and I made friends with him.

But the trip was quite boring. As soon as I left the state border that night at around 11, my outgoing SMS were blocked and it seemed like my world completely forgot me.

Sleep was the most expensive commodity there, especially with the chilly winds blowing up to my cramped top berth. The berth was only 6 feet long. So it would have just managed to let me sleep if it wasn't for my kit, making me bend and twist and cramp in that little room of space.

I went to bed alone and woke up next to a bunch of bodily niggles. The Train was moving through bidda country ;) I saw vast lands, barren without use. They were barren as far as the eye could see. Not even mountains or shrubs. Just land. I was reminded of all the bloodshed caused back at home over pieces of land on which you could hardly stand, let alone build homes.

The rest of the day was a quite a bore, I couldn't read much of the book because the compartment was so crowded at day time. I would take out my cell every hour to see - No new messages. My world really had forgotten me.

I was supposed to reach Bhopal my next stop at 11:20 at night, but the train was two hours late. I had never visited this city before and I was tense I would mess up. I had sit under unfolded sleeping berths. For two hours I was the only soul awake in the whole compartment. Most of the stations in those hours did not have station names. Barely two minutes before Bhopal arrived, an old couple came over and told me they were getting off at Bhopal. [Testimony of the existence of my Guardian Angel.]

When I did get off at Bhopal, I had all the time till 3:30 AM to wait for my next train to my final destination.
I chained my bags to a pole at the really huge and yet deserted station.
Took out some things to eat.
Set to charge my cellphone on a power socket I found there.
Pulled out my bed sheet and wrapped it around myself. It was damn chilly.

I must have looked really weird, cause almost everyone among the few travellers there were looking at me like I was a mass murderer or a rapist, just waiting to pounce on them. All of them avoided me a little too apparently and made sure they settled down at least 50 feet away from me, as they waited for their own train.

Oranges I had bought at Nagpur, Roasted cashews from aunt and Candies from Keerthi aunty (my neighbour) helped me look preoccupied as I tried to convince all of them that I was not as desperate as I was probably looking.

After watching the red LED digital clocks hanging from the ceiling for two weeks, I mean, hours, the train arrived which made me go -


I am gonna be on this for 12 whole hours???????

The train looked like it had the entire Madhya Pradesh in it. I hate crowd. No really. If there are a little over 10 people, I try not to be there. This dabba had 1o million gazzillion humans(and as I later found out even more rats) packed like sardines! Fighting against an urge to shout and scream and run away, pulling my hair out, I took a deep breath and jumped into the sea of people.

S4 seat 72!

Old man on 69...Some lady on 70....jerk on 71...gays on 72....WHAT?...ummm excuse this berth 72?


"kya yeh 72 hain?"


"Yeh meri seat hain"

"Nahin yeh meri seat hain. Aapki tikat main koin galti hain jake TT ko batadijiye"

[Basically two guys, yes guys, were in my seat and they were pretty sure it was their seat and that I had a problem with my ticket - I was too sleepy to think anything up soon]

I'm sleepy, I'm cold, I'm alone and this situation just made me go...oh great I'm f*cked!
To Be Cont'd
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