Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Misadventures of a curious character.

Train journeys are fun - not always apparently! Mine, in the lat 14 days were certainly not! Having spent 7 days of the last 14, in entirety, on trains, I deserve accolades as well as plenty of pity.

A whole lot of misconceptions that I had about me were broken, a few lessons were learnt and as always I had my share of misadventures!

To begin with, never travel alone in a sleeper compartment. No matter how many books you carry and how much ever you burry yourself into them, regardless of the loudest music that you play to switch off from the world outside, and regardless of the constant frowningly don't-you-dare-bother-to-bug-me looks, people still approach you for pastime. Talking, I found out, is India'a passion! My agony was intensified in my fisrt of the 4 journeys as all around me I had old aunties.

Most of the conversations that I had were scary to say the least. A typical example:

Aunty: So beta, you study?

Me: [A grin] No, I work.

Aunty: Ah great! You look quite young though!

Me: [An even bigger grin, a mild blush to add!]

Aunty: Where you do work, what do you work?

Me: I work with Philips Semiconductors and I work in IT industry in
embedded domain.

Aunty: [Puzzled by jargons] Ah! Good, good! Keep up the good work!
Even I have a cousin, whose wife's brother's wife's niece works in B'lore!
[An elated face full of pride!]

Me: [A smile] Good!

Aunty: You must be earning really well? Don't you? [A mischievious

Me: [A little frightened, you never know - even Aunties can be
horny!] Ya, good enough to survive!

Aunty: Shaadi to nahin hui hogi!

Me: [Dead frightened, wondering where it is going!] No!

Aunty: What's your caste?

Me: [Irritated by now] I'm a brahmin, why?

Aunty: [Excitedly, ignoring my question] Arey wah! Even we are!
[The same mischievious grin]

Me: [Shitting bricks. A meak smile]

Aunty: My cousin's wife's brother's wife's niece is really beautiful. She
is pucca Angrez, roz angrezi mein kya kya bolti hai. Kafi kamati bhi hai. Par
hamare sanskaar nahin bhooli, knows cooking too.

Me: [A little relaxed that the Aunty isn't horny. But as soon as I get
the drift I'm pale with fear.] That's quite nice! Umm.. Aunty I'm hungry, let
me see what's there in pantry!

Scene 2: Journey 2: Patna to Bareilly

I'm enjoying the music and am deeply engrossed in my book, suddenly there is a thud and I turn around to see an 11 year old girl crying at the loudest, in the shrillest tone possible. Before I realise that the devil has fallen from the upper berth, I feel a mild pain in my ears and see my media player in that girl's ears! The father of the girl gives me a sheepish sorry-I-had-no-other-option kind of look, and all I could offer was a smile - the kind when you want to kill someone but can't because you are so called civilized.

Scene 3: Journey 2: Bareilly to Patna

After a long tiring night been all awake being the appointed photographer and forced to jump and to wildly throw hands in air(what people assumed was dance), all I wanted was a sound sleep. What could be worse when I found a fat, pot-bellied, betel chewing Uttar Pradesh police constable lying with his scary dunda on my berth! Under normal cirumstances, I would have avoided messing with him, but the sleepless night had made me daring. Like a shameless brat as shown in Omkara, I poked a finger in his belly and rudely woke him up, showed him the ticket and asked him to come down. All hell broke loose! I never had been abused like that ever in my life, not that I have been abused even remotely close to that, but still! Wondering what to do, all I could do was shout back. Yelling at an equally loud and rude tone, I asked him to come down first and then to settle scores. Shitting in my pants at my stunts and its consequences I was about to faint when I saw the saviour! Like a messiah appeared a travel ticket examiner and I told him my problem, asked him to check my ticket and settle scores on my behalf with the constable and went up to sleep.

I have been told that the constable stood there for at least an hour throwing absuses at me and swearing to teach me a lession once I woke up, until his station came. A devout agnostic, I now feel God does exist!

Scene 4: Journey 4: Patna to Bangalore

Simply put, the worst journey of my life! Petrified by my constable experience, fearing running into him again, and frustrated by the sufferings due to intolerable heat, I decided to cancel my confirmed sleepr class return ticket and went for a second ac wait-listed ticket. Under normal circumstances, a tatkal wait-list gets confirmed easily, but not when I have to travel.

Result? I come to station and to my surprise find myself still waitlisted. Nothing can be done at the last moment, so my dad advised me to get in any how, and negotiate with the co-passengers and the ticket examiner. Well, having no other option, I do so. And that turned out to be a fiasco.

I wasn't the only waitlisted ass, there were 78 more. The scene inside the compartment was worse than a general class bogie. The passengers with confirmed tickets were totally unrelenting and rightly so, and the ticket examiner was a corrupt bastard. Couldn't keep cribbing, had to act fast. Decided to bribe the bastard, not certain how much to quote and how to do so, took a 500 note in hand, and he grabbed it the next second. Got 2 seats, was happy and contently sleeping when a Sardar woke me up! Realised I had been cheated. The bastard gave me seats till half of the journey and now the genuine occupant had come.

Result? Me standing like a complete jerk outside the bogie near the lavatory with my luggage besides me, and onlookers and passers by giving a who-is-this-cheap-ticketless-bastard-standing-here! Frankly, I had never been as embarrassed as I was then. 6 hours of torture and I got hold of another corrupt bastard! He flatly stated pay me 200 and I give you seats. Had I been alone, I would have shown him my middle finger. But cosidering the agony of my sister and fearing her you-get-home-and-I-see-you looks, I decided to pay him and finally got seats.

In totality, this trip turned out to be full of misadventures. Sufferings when I lived the moments, but in retrospect funny misadventures.


Anonymous said...

after reading this i have a "i-pity-you-kind" of look on my face nice post.:)

anoop said...

I would tell it was a misadventure. And, i think you are not so pissed off from the entire thing. the constable episode, you were daring in that to wake him up and on top of that scolding him back. hehe..

Srinivas said...

Man - one hell of a ride, I say

Keshav said...

@Anon: I really deserved pity while I was standing near the stinking lavatory! Never trying such antics again.

@Anoop: I was shit scared after my daring act in the constable episode. Why I actually didn't shit in my pants remains a puzzle to me too!

@Srinivas: Looking back now, all were fun!

Arjun Karande said...


That's all I can say.

Fanaah said...

While reading I was wondering how each train ride could get worse, but you really managed to have one hell of an experience.

Dated: Till the time you manage to book the whole train for yourself haha.