Monday, November 10, 2008

(Str)Etched Train Journeys

I had 3 train journeys with my husband. And all the 3 were memorable for different reasons.

The First Journey

The “first” was a memorable journey for the obvious reason. ;)
The second and third had some special experiences also along with the obvious reason.

The Second Journey:

We had taken a train from Delhi to Ranthambhore. We had booked our seats in the 3-Tier AC coach. The train was supposed to arrive at 11.05PM and it was supposed to reach Sawaii Madhopur by 5.15AM. Keeping up to the Railways legend, the train was delayed by 45 minutes.

My eyes were heavy. Sleep fairy had stung me already. After a looong wait, we could see a light approaching us.The sight of the train and the crusty sound of the wheels keyed me up. As the train stopped for its passengers, we settled in our seats ensuring the safety of the luggage we carried.

The Ticket Collector (TC) checked our tickets and we asked the TC when we would reach Sawaii Madhopur. He told us that we would reach there by 6.15-6.30AM since we are leaving late.I set the alarm on my mobile to wake me up at 5.30AM. As I slept, I saw through the window that the world outside, passes away in a flash. Slowly, my sleep took over the control of my eyes.

I had a disturbed sleep. I opened my eyes when the train stopped in some station. I looked at my watch. It was 5.10AM. My husband slept peacefully with a serene expression on his face. I washed my face. It was very cold. I wrapped myself with my cotton duppatta. Since the train had stopped, I stood near the door to catch a glimpse of the station name. But, the name board was too far from the sight to read.

My eyes were small, that was a clear indication that I needed some more sleep. I thought I would return to my berth to get some sleep till my alarm chimed. Before I turned my back, I found a person walking on the platform. Out of curiosity, I asked him which place was it. He answered “Sawaii Madhopur madamji” in Rajasthani accent. I got the shock of my life!

Train engine had already started. I ran back to my berth. I pushed and pulled my husband. I might have hit him also,( I really don’t remember) to wake him up from his sleep. :-D
We carried our footwear also in our hands and jumped out of the train as the train picked up the speed.

Only after the train left, we confirmed that we had not lost anything forever. Luckily, we had managed grab all our belongings. We were panting for the breath and my alarm started buzzing. Both of us looked at each other for a few seconds (without any expressions on our face) and later burst out with laughter. What else could we have done?

The Third Journey

This was the journey back from Ranthambore to Delhi. We were on the waiting list when we booked, and when it was confirmed, we saw that we had got seats in the separate coaches.
We thought we would request someone in either of the coaches to swap berths. Hoping that they would oblige, we waited for the train. Train made us wait for 1.20 minutes. Train arrived at 1.15PM.

The sight of the train astounded us. Even BMTC buses in Karnataka won’t be soooooo crowded even in peak hours!. Here in South India, we never had seen such crammed full trains. Now our decision had to be changed, we decided to sit in one of the seats.

We could not enter the coach. There were oceans of people. Our feet could not get the floor of the train. We pulled ourselves and held up the luggage. Train picked up the speed. There were people sitting all over, wherever they found place. To give you an insight, 4-5 people per berth and people sitting all over the floor of the train. There were at least 400 people in a coach. We pushed, stamped people, (We had no other go) fought with many and sneaked through somehow to reach our one of the booked sleeper berths.

5 people were sitting on our berth. We politely told them that we had booked the berth. They started abusing us. We told them over and over again that we had booked that berth a priori. It was a real test of patience. And the men looked “hatta-khatta”. They demanded for the ticket. I was really angry. But, we showed them the ticket and they gave us some space to sit where, 2 people could squeeze in. Added to this, people had opened the middle berth and around 3 people sat on that berth.

We crouched as we sat and we had to travel in this position for 5 hours. We weren’t getting sufficient oxygen to breathe. And people there were happily discussing politics. I thought, it happens only in India.

Only after Mathura, we could relieve our backs from the strain as many people got down.

Whoaw!  Phew!  What a journey!

Image Soure: Internet

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I’ve tried not to let it show
the truth that I can’t let you go.
But I am stuck here waiting
                                        while my heart and sanity are debating

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Land of Tiger - Ranthambore

About the place:
Ranthambore National Park is in Sawai Madhopur District of Rajasthan state, Located at the junction of the Aravalli and Vindhya hill range.

How did we reach:
We had decided to go to Ranthambore by Dehradun Express which leaves Old Delhi station at 10:05 PM and reaches Sawai Madhopur at 5:15 AM the next day.

We had booked a Swiss tent at Ranthambore Bagh.
We were delighted with their service, simply wonderful.
A representative from the Jungle lodge picked us from the railway station at 5.30AM.

Day 1:
We were told that there was a visit to the fort which is in the midst of the forest at 8.00 AM. This gave us some time to sleep and to refresh ourselves.
At 8.10AM, We entered the forest,
The serene ambience and uncanny wilderness of the thick forest of Ranthambore had left us dumbfounded.

The fort was huge. We engaged a guide for 150Rs. It is one of the oldest forts in our country

The interiors of the fort and the story attached with it were really stunning.

The view of the landscape from highest point of the fort is magnificient . We also visited the famous Ganesha temple in the fort.

We returned to the lodge by 11.40AM, had a sumptuous lunch followed by an afternoon nap.
At 4.00PM we had a jungle safari. We preferred jeep safari over canter safari. Unfortunately, we were destined for canter safari.
We were taken into the jungle in a canter.
Ranthambore has five safari routes, labeled from 1 to 5. Guide spoke broken English.
We saw a horde of spotted deer. My husband imitated some alarm calls that are usually used by deer .We also spotted many Langurs, a bear, a couple of Sambar deer and many peacocks. We could see a variety of birds.
We were excited to see a pugmark of a tiger which had crossed our route before 15 minutes.

Campfire and a cultural program were arranged that night. We relished the dinner served and enjoyed the dance performance by a small girl.
Day 2:
We had a safari at 6.30 AM.
We were praying for a predator spotting. Our luck chose the same safari route.
We could hear alarm calls from herbivores. Probably, we were away from the predators by a few feet. But, we were not lucky enough to spot them.
It was really disappointing that we didn’t spot any tigers (one can spot, if he/she is lucky) or leopards (you have to be extremely lucky to spot one. Since, leopard is a shy animal). Since, it was our first wild safari it was as exhilarating as it could get.
We had a heavy breakfast and bid good-bye to Ranthambore with a heavy heart.
We promised Ranthambore that we would get back to spot a tiger!!
Here are some things you should not forget when you go there,
  1. Binocular or a powerful lens camera
  2. Please do not switch on flash of your camera ( It might irritate animals)
  3. Don’t talk aloud. ( You might miss spotting of some rare animals)
  4. A hat. (It is too hot!)
  5. If you have planned to visit the forest, don’t miss the Fort visit in any case!
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Acronyms and Definitions

BH: Better Half. Butter Half. Bitter Half.

BUNNI: Manufactured Daughter.

APPA: Role-Model Father.

AMMA: Near and Dear Mother.

CHD: Partner in Crime. Brother.


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