“uth jaa re… kitna soega? Roz subah aake uthana padta hai” was what was beamed into my ears, early in the morning. Every morning, with an accustomed reply of, “bas aur 5 minute ammi”. The 5-minute of course got snoozed across to many more wake-up calls by Ammi and with each call, the frequency mixture of irritation and anger on her 21-year old son was more and more visible. And finally, it was Morning for me. Although the clock on the wall, said the otherwise by resting both the hands close to the number 12.
This was how the last leg of my vacations at home was being spent. Early morning sleep and an afternoon wake-up. Being at home, without any sort of time-table to take care of is one of the many perks that one can get.
It was time to do the most dreaded of tasks at the end of a long vacation at home. Packing. Arranging stuff back onto your luggage is an art of its own of which I am a novice. Somehow, with Ammi being there, it was done.
Had booked my tickets long back, 29th June was the day and here it was. With all bidaayi sessions completely done with , where no matter how long your vacations seem to be, on your way towards the station your eyes do get moist, thinking of those tears at the doors of your home.
Anyways, it was time for the train. Yes, I was on time. But the train was not. How consistent of Indian Railways to be always not be on time!! After all, coming late is so in vogue.
And finally it came. The train.
With loads of luggage, thanks to Ammi filling it up with excessive snacks and achaar’s so that I may not become dublaa again, I entered into S1 looking for seat number 71. Ended up entering from the first gate, and had to go to the other end to reach my seat. With this entire luggage, it was a task in itself. But finally it was seat number 71!! Phew!!
There was already a couple sitting over there, reading a telugu magazine and seemed lost in their own world. On enquiring about the seats, first they gave a surprised look and then took out a printed ticket from their bag. Even I opened my e-ticket. Same coach, same seat.
The TTE came in only to check my ticket, of same coach and same seat and same train. But. A date which was different from that of today. It wasn’t 29/6/2013 but 29/7/2013!!!
I somehow got off the train, only to find that there wasn’t any other train directly to Bangalore that day!!
Time stood still, even when the train on the platform did not. The train moved and I stayed still for a moment, and then for moments. With no idea about what I need to do, I just stood there.
I felt helpless. An absent on day 1 of the new session isn’t taken well in college, and the prospect of getting a tatkal reservation for the next day is even scarier.
But there was my best friend Avi, being there to console me. Times like these you feel blessed to have people like these in your lives. A mere thank you is not enough for them, an d I didn’t said that as well.
With train timings for the day being checked upon, and the dreaded bus schedule also looking a possibility, I wondered whether I was almost unsure of what to do, and then it struck, how about a train to Chennai and then Bangalore?
Checking on with the train timings, there were some of them on the same day, but the issue was the chart for them would have already been prepared. With luggage of the size of monsters, I was confused as to whether to take this journey or not. Finally, I decided to do it.
Chennai it would be.
Chennai mail was to be boarded, with the normal tickets and a faint promise by the TTE to be there in s10 (which was the best news that I’ve had that day) somehow the journey began. The first task was to place my luggage securely under some seats and then search a place for myself. having done both of them( wasn’t easy asking people to keep my stuff under their ass, but with having “trained” myself into selling stuff for the last two months, did it).
A day long journey marred with the heat and excessively filled compartment, even being a reserved section and the TTE even after charging me for the entire train journey from Howrah to Chennai couldn’t provide me with a seat, eneded at 4’o clock the other day in Chennai!!
Yes, my first accidental trip to Chennai!
With a confused look and heavy luggage, making my way towards the ticket counter to purchase the tickets for Bangalore, then looking for ways on how to keep my belongings safe, I dumped them in the cloak room and moved out after a while to look up to Chennai, after all I had some 2 hours left for a Bangalore train (2 hours were spent looking out for waiting rooms, wash room and the Cloak room ).
The subway led me to a series of eateries; with the smell of filter coffee along with the morning eased my nostrils, a glass of hot filter coffee, Chennai style was had, followed by the Masala dosa. Having enjoyed the coffee and somehow the dosa not meeting my expectations, it was already time for the return journey. Just immersed my eyes with the images around, to soak in the magic of a city, where I visited accidentally, and then rushing back to claim my baggage and return where I was supposed to.
It was one of the many crazy journeys that I’ve ever been part of, lots of learning followed by lots of scolding by the near and dear ones on my stupidity. But, it was worth it.