Sunday, January 25, 2015

Train Journey - Vacation 2014 - Chennai to Bangalore

The Breakfast

The train rolled out of the Chennai central station fast. That was a electric train. So it started to run fast. After a while, I felt hungry and waited for the food vendor to show up. A vendor entered  my compartment shouting,"Idli, Vada." I waved my hand at him and bought a packet. The Idli was cold. Sambar was watery. The coconut chutney was sour. Probably I bought the food that was made for the previous late night travellers. I shoved inside whatever I could and drank the only pleasant fluid that I had. The water that I bought from the ZeroB outlet.

The elderly people started to talk among themselves. The little girls felt fresh after a short nap at the lap of their mother who was sitting next to me. The younger one stuck to her mother's chest always. The elder one squeezed herself between her mom and me. I guess they didn't buy ticket for them, since they were too young. So they didn't have their own place to sit. The three elderly persons, one man and two women, who were sitting opposite to me, didn't even bother to offer space for the elder kid.  They were all travelling together and the mother of two little girls addressed them as sisters and uncle. She looked different from others. She was dark, short and thin. The women and man looked fair, and healthier than her. The little girls looked exactly like their mother. I some how felt that this lady with the kids were not getting her fair share of respect and care from the other elders there. She was the only one that was tending to both the kids. None of the elders offered any help to her, when either of the kids wanted to use the rest room. When the elder whispered to her mom that she was hungry, the mom looked helplessly at the elders. But I could see no response from them. The kid said that she is hungry, this time a little louder that others could hear. There was no response again.

Water Bottle Making Rounds

I felt very pity for the mother and her two little daughters. While I was pondering about the ways that I could lend my help to them, she called an elder and asked,"Sister, where is Idli package?" One among them pointed to another person who was sitting two rows back. This lady left the elder kid with me and carried the little one to get the Idlis. She came back with the silver bucket of Idlis. And I saw another woman accompanying her with another silver bucket of Coconut Chutney. I felt happy to see the little girls relishing their breakfast. The mom was happy too. The elder kid asked for water and all the elders answered at once,"We forgot to keep the water bottles in the bag." I offered my bottle of water immediately. The other elders started to have their breakfast once these two little ones finished. My water bottle was making rounds, jumping from one row to another. I was only praying the almighty that I shouldn't feel thirsty until I reach my friend's home in Bangalore. I have a very sensitive stomach. So, I don't have food and water from outside shops unless the situation demand.

The train stopped on the way somewhere. The man got down, bought a bottle of water and gave it to me thanking me for offering my water bottle to them. The elders were all praise for me, for lending the water bottle to them and letting them to finish it. I politely said thanks and buried my face into Jeff's Kane and Abel.  I didn't touch the water bottle and left it hanging in the bottle pouch and told them to use it since they were going to travel till the Bangalore main station. I got down at KR Puram railway station and waited for my friend, at whose place I was going to stay, to pick me up. I was feeling very very thirsty as well as hungry. I was waiting for the moment to calm down my growling stomach and wet my dry throat.

Luv u all

photo credit: ranjit via photopin cc

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Start - Vacation 2014 - Chennai to Bangalore

Chennai Central

I reached Chennai Central at 07.00am though my train was only at 07.50am. I wanted to meet another friend of mine, who was going to leave by 07.20am train to Bangalore. But he arrived at the station at the time of leaving, so we couldn't meet. He just called my mobile phone and apologized.

I wanted to buy a bottle of water. Went to the ZeroB water purifying outlet and bought a 2 litre bottle of water.Turned around and saw the Higgin Bothams. The journey is going to be a 6hour one. So decided to buy a book to read. Looked at the Jeffrey Archer's and Paulo Coelho's, two of my favorite authors. Chose Jeffrey's "Kane and Abel", paid and came back to the front of the digital notice board. The platform number of my train hasn't announced yet. Wandered around Saravana Bhavan and Fruit juice shops. Didn't like any of the food items. Made up my mind to buy something in the train. Came back to the notice board.

A middle aged couple walked fast and came to a halt just in front of me. She was carrying a little kid on her hip. The man was looking at the notice board. She said,"Can you please hold him?"

He said,"Why? Where are you going?"

She said,"I will go and buy a platform ticket for myself."

He asked,"Why do you want a platform ticket?"

I thought - Isn't it quite obvious that she want to see her husband off in the train? What an idiot is he!

She said,"Ok. Let me go and buy the platform ticket."

He repeated again,"Why do you need a platform ticket? I can't carry this bag all the way to the counter and then again here to take the train"

I thought - 'come on man, you are just going to roll the luggage and your wife wants to see you off, obviously.' It was quite clear that the man didn't want his wife to come to the platform to bid him bye.

She felt sad and turned to look at me. I pretended to not to hear their conversation and fixed my eye on the notice board.

The Train

The platform number was announced at 7.45. I had to pass three platforms to reach mine. When I went there, there was no train. But the crowd was milling about in the platform. The designated compartments were not clearly marked for the reserved travelers. It was 7.50am, when the train slowly moved into the slot. Since that was the time that train is supposed to leave, the crowd panicked. The compartment's door were closed. I found my compartment marked "D". The crowd was banging the door to open. After 2 minutes, the door was opened from inside. All hell broke loose.

Some one shouted,"Get in fast. It's time for the train to leave the station."

If only they had entered the compartment one by one, we all of us would have boarded within ten minutes. When my turn came to get in, I saw a man standing right in the entrance. I looked at him puzzled. He moved and made way for me. Some one who got in after me, shouted,"If you don't have any reservation made, then you should get down immediately." The man jumped out. Luckily my seat was near the entrance. I sat down and found myself surrounded by five elders and two little girls who were talking in Tamil, my mother tongue. I thanked almighty for it. I didn't want to be surrounded by people who speak Kannada. Because I don't know the language, though I am going to the place where people talk in Kannada.

After settling in, the train started to move at 08.05am. I was excited. I was going to Bangalore on a vacation. A vacation that I was planning since 2000.

photo credit: Ravages via photopin cc