Its so far been a dull couple of weeks. I have just been going to work, and back to the hotel. Havent explored the town around. Ideally I would have loved to explore the places around, but I thought it should be better once the workload stabilises. My to-do lists do run on for ever, but still there is a stable phase that should come soon, and that would mean, I can do my trips without the nagging feeling of work surreptiously interfering with my observation skills while exploring the country side.
The US is a pretty costly place, and here a lot of things look cheaper by the unit, when you buy in bulk. I am yet to cut costs by the cent! as I find it too laborious managing a bunch of things on my own. Its interesting for many reasons. I shall include a series on how the transport system is, how I manage my daily life here. Right now, its time to head back to work. Its 5 am in the morning, and I am just fresh out of a nice hot water bath. 44 Hours of my weekend remain to be claimed!
When the train halted at Nayudupeta, I wanted to get down at the quaint station, and explore the village for a couple of hours, but since our ticket was tagged to the guy who bought it, and he showed no signs of getting down, we couldnt get down. If we did, it would be a case of ticketless travel, and its easier getting caught at smaller railway stations. Naydupeta holds special memories for my family as my mother and I were stranded at this railway station in 1985/86 for three days, due to a bridge collapsing amidst heavy rains. So for memories sake, I took a picture to show my mother the station.
When the train neared Nellore, we saw a huge mass of people getting up, and fighting their way to the door. Our man, Srinivas, was also in the crowd, so we too prepared to get down and chase the guy for our ticket, which he gave us once we got down on the platform.
Madhan and I decided to explore town, and have some thing very central to the Andhra Pradesh palate. We went to a hotel called Simhapuri and ordered some hot-spicy starters. I wanted to have the typical Andhra meals, but since Simhapuri didnt serve Andhra meals, we had to get local information and move on to Komala Vilas, which we heard serves the best Andhra meals at a reasonable rate.
I generally never have powdered rice, but i guess, I was very hungry that night, so I gobbled the powdered rice, along with Ghee and had a sumptous meal. We walked back to the railway station, and bought a ticket to Chennai. We were told, our next options were the Dhanbad Allepey express at 11 20 pm, and the Howrah Mail, which would go to Chennai. If we missed either of these trains, we had to wait for the trains from the national capital, which reached Nellore well past 3 am. The Dhanbad-Allepey express was very crowded, and I didnt have the mood to get in and reach Chennai at an untimely 3 am. Nevertherless, we were enjoying our conversations on the bench seat, under the moonlight, watching the numerous goods trains that slowly chugged past us.
The Howrah mail came, and the unreserved compartment was again crowded, so in the limited 2 minutes we had, we ran to the other end of the train and found that most of the compartment doors were locked, except for 1 sleeper compartment. We waited near the toilet, until the TTR came, and we requested him for any berths that may be free. He gave us a couple of berths after the train reached Gudur. The next 3 hours, I had no idea, how it went. I slept like a log and woke up to people and porters noisily bargaining.
The trip wasnt over just yet. My friend Madhan suggested we go to the Eliots beach and sit there near the sea, to watch the sunrise. We reached the beach at about 4 20 am, and were there till 5 30 am, after which Madhan discovered that he lost his bike key on the beach(through a hole in his kurta). We couldnt do much about it, and at 5 45 am, there was no bike mechanic, one could go to. Madhan decided to head home and sleep a while, before waking up and finding a mechanic. I took a share-auto from the beach to the Indira Nagar railway station, and just as I imagined, Sunday meant lesser frequency of trains. It was 6 0 3 am, and the next train was scheduled to arrive at 6 32 am, so I waited by walking across the tracks uptil perungudi, and then walked back to Thiruvanmiyur railway station, where the train arrived.
Short but nice trip! but the real spirit of random travel happens when you decide to get in some random train and get out at some random station. To do that, you need a pre-paid ticket card/pass thats valid for a certain number of days. Foreigners have this provision of an Indrail pass, which allowes them travel across the country for a certain class for a period of 90 days. I need to check if such a provision is available for Indians, in our own land :-)
Bags queing up, before the passengers come in!
Mera Number Kab Ayega?
Food Rates at Komala Vilas- Authentic Andhra Meals
We were here!
Train Gazing in the moonlight, past Midnight- Lovely!
I have no agenda to do, no worries that I need a proper hotel to stay, no worries on whether I will get reservation, no worries on purse being looted, no worries on quality of food. Just out to enjoy travel, the way I can actually enjoy it, in its purest form. I've done 3-4 such trips by accident, and I've enjoyed it despite Murphy's law going against me.
Trip Zero- Bangalore-Gokarna-via Bus in Oct 2007(Lovely Monsoon Trip)
Was feeling dull, during my internship,so
Trip One-Chennai to Goa Unreserved-Nov 2007-Alone
Trip One.1- Chennai to Mahabalipuram-Some forest near Pondy-Dec 2007-Bus Trip(With Ankur and Arun)
Trip Two-Chennai to Goa Unreserved- Feb 2008- With Friends from B school
Trip Three- Chennai-Portblair-via Air and ship April 2008
Trip Four- Bombay-Goa Unreserved-Train with Kishore, Aug 2008
Trip Five- Bombay-Daman- Unreserved-Train to Patna-with Logendra-Dec 2008
Trip Six- Bombay to Cancona(Goa) Unreserved-with Nischal, Jan 2009
Trip Seven- Bombay -Daman- Unreserved Train-with Vinay- Feb 2009
Trip Eight- Bombay (VT-Karjat, 12 38 Last Local), with Vinay-Feb 2009
Trip Seven- Bombay-Sawantwadi-Vengurla(Maharashtra)-Arambol(Goa)-Kerim(Goa)- March 2009
Trip Eight- Bombay-Kerim(Goa), Unreserved Train(Alone)-April 2009
All the previous three trips(oops I have done 8 now, Updated: 10) have happened over a trip to the western coast. This one shall not be that long, but it should be something that I relax, forget about work, family,home for a while.
- Head over to Chennai Central
- Speak to some lady to buy a ticket in any direction, wherever 150 rupees would take me. If I give it to a guy, he would think I am a mad man, and call the police in his culmination of machismo bravado!
- Not look at the ticket, Not look at the digital signage about train departures,and walk along to the platform(which I would need to think how am I manage this one)
I cant plan beyond this. May have 200-300 rupees as my cash back up. No Purse/credit cards or watches. Will have the mobile for company though. It may be a great/dumb experience, but the key is to soak into the experience. Time for 'Fasting'.
Its Dal Tadka, and not Dal Dadka
Spotted this at Centerpoint, a restaurant near my office. Some of these hotels on OMR need to pay attention to their spellings, else they are going to drive customers away :-)
Centrepoint is a decent business hotel, with comestible food, that sometimes also borders on being tasty. After cooking the food right, the last thing they would want is a spelling to put them in bad light.
The worst I have seen till date is Dhantoori cuisine(Tandoori) in a hotel near Rajapalayam Railway station( small town in south Tamil Nadu).
Major Lesson- Learn to keep what you have, maintain a process and learn to scout for new additions. I havent done either of the three activities well, and thats why I sometimes get disillusioned with life. People sometimes, think me to be either a superman or a dumb ass, and getting to the extremes just means that all the buzz inside my brain needs some organising. I need to find which buzz inside my brain is worth listening to. I guess I got all excited that from no buzz, I suddenly have so many things working and buzzing, but now, I need to deal with the problem of plenty.
Just started making a mental map, of what all I do, and whether I can categorise it into buckets. A little bit of organised life and disciplined life, I feel, would help me in the long run. Whats the point of being the big lorry which transports water, but has a gaping hole which leaks the water as it travels? I am just getting to that stage, where adhoc planning needs to take a back seat, and I start to recognise that this is the next stage of life. One needs to scale up planning, so that every activity can go seamlessly and its easy to change things.