12/01/2006

On Your Mark, Get, Set, Go !




This particular incident came to my attention when I had gone to see of my friend last weekend at Central station, thankfully choosing to be away from Justin Kemp's slaughter on the Indians. When the evening train from Kolkata arrived at the platform where we were seated, we noticed the frenzy of porters who quickly arrived from nowhere and started to squat in serial order.I could understand they were waiting for the passengers to alight, so as to solicit their order of getting to carry the luggage. What I couldn't understand was however, the fact that the porters were aquatting at a certain position even as the train slowed.I wonder, if there is any tradition behind this act, or has it been something that has been transferred hands across generations.

Railway stations seem a lovely place to sit down and unwind memories, especially if you need a relatively not-so-costly and unobtrusive place.There is this cozy little 4 seater seat on Platform 10 of Chennai Central, a little after the Saravana Bhavan and Marry Brown Restaurant, which is not inhabited by many people. So if solitude and peaceful gossip is what you are looking for, this place with a Fresh and Honest Cafe near by seems a lovely hangout.



However dirty and yucky the stations might be, I still never seem to get bored of travelling by 2nd sleeper class. It may be a little tough trying to fit my tall frame on the limited rectangular space provided, but the very experience of travelling in a train , next to a window seat, seems to be lovely companion, providing you support, even as you keep your face on the horizontal poles on the window and waft away into thoughts.



I would always feel,as if I am on an army tank in the time of a war, (When I travel in a train) so I would condition my mind and stomach, to see anything comestible as a gastronomic delight and still I find that, the excitement of buying the dirty bondas and cutlet from the VLR stall, has never diminished. But one thing that still seems to draw a nauseating cringe to my face is the way the 2nd class toilets are maintained.The flush invariably doesnt work, and the only liquid that flows through the toilet seems to be the urine, and the male folk only add to the misery by spraying it all over. But for the toilets in 2nd class, life is still bindaas travelling by 2nd class, the biggest attraction being the amount of networking one gets to bond with people of different places and economy levels. The friendships made in a train journey are invariably like the lovely dream that lasts only for a few minutes, or more like a eye watering mirage. I have very rarely found any true companion and maintaine a friendship through such companions, though the journey and the moments spent with such strangers has always been fascinating.



My Next train journey would be on the 27th of this month,when I would be boarding the train to Goa with some of my college buddies for a much awaited re union.I am just hoping the journey is eventful and I reconnect with newer buddies.



The route that I have taken is quite a strange one, due to the lack of connecting trains and availability of tickets.I have tried to minimise the dependence on local buses, trying to make sure that the journey is confirmed, at all points and doesnt muck up, because one part of the journey depends on another part of the journey.





27 Chennai -Mangalore , leaving at 11 am

28 Reaching mangalore at 5 am , waiting for the connecting passenger train at 7 am to Madgoan.This is the KR2 Konkan railway train, replete with hajaar tunnels along the way. reaching Madgaon at lunch and boarding another passenger train that reaches Tivim, a way side station near the place we are lodged(Mapusa).

29 Explore and snore

30 Explore and snore

31 " Where's the party Tonight"?

1 Travel back ... Madgoan-Mangalore-Chennai

2 Reach Chennai at 5 am. Start running the race of life....

1 comment:

Durga said...

If only I had you sitting next to me on the my long train rides around India...*sigh*...all I saw were dirty old men and older women who farted loudly and didn't even seem to care that there were people trying to sleep.

But I'll never forget the cry "chaaai....chaaaaai" at freaking 2 in the freakin morning for goodness sakes.

ohh and the younger guys who grope you in the crowd on the platforms.

Don't even get me started on the toilets.. grossssssssssss.

lol I LOVE INDIAN RAILWAYS.

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