It’s been over 10 days, since I underwent that adventure.
I would call it as that! Life certainly has its own way of making me go through things. In the manner most “not” anticipated. The best part of it still remains this- I come out of it as a winner. To most of you, this one may seem to be as a simple stance over- exaggerated. But if incase you wish to feel the chills and thrills- altogether; try and look into it from my point of view.
In short, it was like a princess thrown in bewilderment!
If not much, I now stand confident how I should have been at my age- even otherwise. Till then, I never ever; I repeat NEVER- EVER thought that I would do this, leave alone that I would be able to do this! It was as adventurous and risky as it could be..!! I break into a super grin thinking of how well I had managed it. Anyone who would read further would second my thought about it. I was as if guided by some super- natural force- whereby nothing could go wrong. Nothing did go wrong.
It made me take a deep dive, down the memory ocean.
That’s what it is. We, our lives, and all other relationships swim on the huge water body of our memories. Like water, memories are also fluid, free flowing and full of Life. We may cease to exist, but the memories would always remain as an essence for all times to come. The next generation would drink from the ewer and lose themselves in the glory of past sagas.
I haven’t traveled in trains namely Indian Railways. Ohhh..! Let me make that as I had not travelled in train till now. The only time I did was when I was 5 years old, along with mom and dad and in Rajdhani Express! People frequenting on Rails would know exactly what I mean when I say- Indian Railways and Rajdhani Express.
The longer the journey, the needling it is.
This is so not me. So many people, from all walks of life, are seated right across you- ogling at you as if seeing the 11th wonder of the world. All of a sudden they would want to know everything about you, sharing sermons to lead your lives in the most fruitous manner. They would yap about the most boring subjects with as much passion as if that would keep them breathing. They would eat that bland, insipid train food as if right out of the Royal kitchen. Try refusing to eat the same and they’ll eat you up with their stares.
Let me not even talk about the washrooms.
I mean rocking chair is fine, so is the water bed- but moving toilet.. @#%&^$@. The sound of metal wheels beating the train tracks comes right back at your ears as the waste goes down the same exit hole. The chained mugs.. The side handles to hold onto- while you pee. The only thing that buzzes my brains is what if I slip through that hole!
That’s a very small and vague description of how I feel about Train Travel..
26th December, 2010
I traveled from Jodhpur to Jaipur in train!
The car travel could not be arranged in such a short notice. Due to Gujjar agitation riots, the city was almost under curfew. The situation was so bad that the community people had removed the whole of train tracks! Not to ignore that several trains were cancelled in wake of those riots. Fresh riots had broken on 23rd and 25th December, 2010.
The seat was reserved- well in advance.
Although I did get to reserve a seat in Mandor Express, even at the 11th hour; something kept palpitating within my mind. I had started at 6 in the evening to reach the Railway Station. The train was to leave the station at 7.30pm. The travel was certainly not planned. I had only a few hours before it was dark to leave the city. I wanted to utilize every single minute to travel back instead of sitting duck and crying hoarse at my fate’s turn.
The control freak that I am..
Stopping at the market place, I had found the way out to the solitary Cyber Café in that locality. I had taken the print out of my ID cards from my email. I wasn’t carrying any of my Bank cards or any Identification documents. The ticket print out clearly mentioned that I would be asked to get down if I fail to verify my Identity. Someone else had gone to take the print out of my ticket. I had not accompanied that someone- now you know why such confusion had cropped up. Lesson learnt: from now on, I am going to keep multiple copies of my Identification Documents while travelling.
The other option could have been to check in to one of the local hotels!
I was in that city for a reason. That cause was no longer valid; hence, my stay had to be cut short. All I wanted was to get back to my city. To witness the chills, fog, my TV serials- yes, why not- just why not..? When people don’t leave their ugly habits, I only want to watch a couple of programs which again bring back many memories! Some of them would talk about how struggling those phases were. Instead of avoiding any remembrance, I try to keep myself hugged with as many reminisce as possible. I had only wanted to make use of every passing second and travel back to my home. I said that already.
I was dressed up somewhat like an Eskimo.
I already was down with flu- thanks to my infected tonsils. After 2 years, I had contracted the ugly infection. I am prone to it alright but my immunity has become pretty strong now. I wouldn’t know what triggered it. Was it the 3 hours exposure to dust and hot weather; or an indication to tell me that something was about to hit me? I had kept praying that my temperature stay at a calmer point. My tonsils are the only way to tell me that something isn’t right with my body (and even the things around me)
The “miss”- adventure begins
Reaching the station, the coolies look at me with their most apologetic look- “Dear Madam, Mandor Express is cancelled..” Requesting one of them, I reach the “station master/enquiry room”. The train indeed was cancelled for that evening!
All my harrowing thoughts about train travel were about to come true
- I ask for further assistance at the enquiry office, asking for alternate train to travel to Delhi/Gurgaon; I am directed to the ticket counter.
- I come to stand in a huge queue. Someone just pushed me forward saying to make use of being a woman. Whatever! I was only little short of breaking down. I try and inquire about the other trains- the officer keeps refusing rudely, not even once mentioning that they were already booked to the capacity. Returning his gesture in the similar manner and leaving him shocked, I move to yet another counter.
- I only had one option left. To stay suspended at the station like hundreds of others were.
- Or, travel out of the city and then look for alternatives. Most of the trains were either cancelled or already booked. There were none that was to transit from that station. The ones travelling via Jodhpur were all reserved.
- 3rd ticket counter: If I had bought a ticket from there, it would have booked me in a general class. I would have had to travel standing like how one would in a public transport bus.. eeaauuh!
- Here’s the icing on the cake- I had 1 huge stroller, 1 big air- bag, 1 handbag, a carry-bag with water bottle and one another cloth bag full of handicrafts. Now- could I travel in general class, standing throughout the night for the next 11- 12 hrs..
(..to be continued..)