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
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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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