Posted by: akilamoni | January 13, 2009

Chatanooga Choo Choo!

This is a post I started writing after Pip and my parents left.

Today is my first day if being truly alone after Pip left. My parents stayed back for a while. My mum continued to stay long after my dad left. She left yesterday and now am truly back to square one.

Made my modest beginning in my cooking escapades with our very own Idly! Couldnt have asked for a more perfect beginning. Wish me luck for tomorrow.

Went to the railway station yesterday and I was reaffirmed by the Indian Railways as to why I am not too fond of them. Why blame the Indian Railways. I am not too fond of any railway! So a simple trip to the information counter left me struggling with drunk men and while I managed to get out, one of my slippers didnt manage so easily. Thanks to a really helpful gentleman who pulled it out with no less effort than shouting at and shoving a few burly men away, I didnt walk barefoot.

That over, mum and I meandered to the platform with our cabbie who proved real helpful by offering to carry one of our bags(and thus saving me from haggling with porters). We waited for the train in a place in the platform which we thought was closest to the coach(marked by LEDS). My worst fears came true when we realised we were not near the coach and as ever I panicked. My mother seemed more relaxed and with help of a porter found the coach, carried the heavy bags and heaved them under the seat.

I am mortally scared of trains. Unlike Kareen Kapoor in Jab we Met who takes immense pride in catching trains even in the last moment, I am quite  feeble hearted when it comes to trains. Trains somehow muddle my brains and train of thought(He he).

I have had a variety of experiences on train.

I have fallen off running trains- I had forgotten the concept of inertia.Once in a local train in Mumbai, I noticed that the buildings I had seen a minute back were reappearing and I realised to my horror that the train was on its way back and we had taken the wrong train. My dearest friend Anu jumped out at first and very casually asked me to get out. Me the great stepped right out and fell flat on my face. My third friend who was in her right minds refused to get out and very confidently shouted out,” macchan I will get out in the next station” and realised the next second that she had no money and she also jumped out. An elderly gentleman proceeded to scold us for our irresponsible behaviour. I dont blame him, I am sure it looked drastic- two girls falling off the trains one after the other! Anyways the bruises obliged to heal after an ice cream.

 Once, in true filmy style, the doors closed behind Pip, leaving me on the platform of a railway station in an unknown city, with just a map and guide book. Pip had the tickets, passports, money and we had tucked the phone safely in the hotel room!

While Pip received advice from a co passenger as to how to get change line and get back to the same station, he used his head and stay put in the station where we were actually headed for and waited for me to come- ha my knight in waiting !!!

One time, the door knob wouldnt work and the train stopped only for a brief minute in that station.

Somehow automatic doors close when I am standing in between, I get into the wrong coaches depsite being literate and well educated, door latches dont work. I am thoroughly spooked that the train will move just when I am getting on and I will be squished to jelly format.

Pip explains it by saying that trains sense fear and boy they sure do sense.

I dont know if trains can sense love, if it can then am sure Pip’s in a harem filled with trains!He loves them and takes pride in taking the train in every city he visits.He even hoardes maps of city stations.

He cant read maps for nuts. He will even call up his friends in the US(who have lived for a long time in Bangalore) to ask for routes, despite having stayed here for almost 26 years! He cannot remember the street he was in two mins back and always heads in the wrong direction. But leave him in a railway station and it his dream come true. Suddenly the city makes sense to him. Once in a train he will speak endlessly about all the metros he has ever been on, the donuts he ate, the beggars he met. While I listen passively to his monologue, huddled up with my belongings, wondering when I will get to breathe again normally. He even has friends who sit in random local trains from Andheri to Virar(Mumbai Suburbs) and travel back again- just for fun.

I cant empathize with  die hard romantics who are hell bent on discovering India and experiencing the sights and sounds of India by travelling on the steps of trains in the second class.

 The other set of people who might hate me are the ones who love to travel on cars with no hood/ bikes so that they can feel the wind on their face. I hate it. Leaves me all teary eyed and tangled hair which can be untangled only by chopping them up! I like bikes and cars alright, but yes ones which dont go at break neck speed or those which tangle my hair.

Go ahead call me boring, conservative! Boo me even!

I love buses. Big shiny, nice bright, clean,preferably red ones(with no cheap lecherous men). I can sit in one endlessly. I love watching people, dogs,world go by(and No, I still dont prefer getting my hair messed up). I have even spent a night in one(during the cloudburst in Mumbai). I was stuck in a bus all night with a friend and we waded through waist deep water the next day to reach college.

Recently, my tutor from the writing class suggested that we turn in an original piece of travel writing on our experience of hopping from bus to the other in Bangalore.

Hmmmmm- am still contemplating. Any suggestions?

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Responses

  1. This post reminds me of all my train travels from Mysore to Bangalore. I say, you should totally do the assignment 🙂

  2. Oh don’t even get me started on Siddhu’s road sense. He’d message me that he is 10 mins from the house and then arrive after one way – reason: he lost his way! Now you know why I am so worried every time he leaves the house? My worry is that he might end up in Mysore in the evening in stead of coming home.
    Bus hopping in bangalore ? Do it on a sunday – you could go from BGT road to east end and then to double road and then to shivajinagar. may be even I will come along!! I love these nice red volvo buses.

  3. oops that sentence shd read:
    He’d message me that he is 10 mins from the house and arrive after one HOUR.

  4. dei .. super .. just like you got over fear of dogs, you will do so with trains … they are the nicest things .. always take a straight line (in the maps, alteast)

    now about my direction sense, it’s very simple .. i have explained this to you in detail .. i like linearity .. i never had a problem in bombay and it’s the same here .. these are nice cities .. put me in some circular place and i am gone…

    which is why i hoard train maps .. i seriously understand them …

    and you conveniently forgot the figueres train experience .. that is my all time favourite … when you thought one ticket was for going and one for coming .. classic stuff

    dd

  5. i guess your bus love goes back to mumbai!!!… mumbai rains.. and i remember you telling me…how you stay put inside a bus …..

  6. hey sid,

    i agree with you… circular cities are a pain… i love bombay for the same reason… and hate delhi and Bangalore to an extent

  7. @Hari/@Sid:

    BLEAH to u both!!!!

  8. This was too cute! And the family comments even funnier! I love trains and buses, as long as they do not contain pushing shoving type people!

  9. I have had an ok relationship with trains…but I do prefer the ones where I am getting in the first station and getting off the last.
    You should totally write the bus hopping bit…and post a copy here. Would love to see – specially since I’ve rarely met someone who enjoys buses.

  10. oye gal..when u comin to us?..lemme know..and i like the new look

  11. Hey not anytime soon Jina!

    whatz you doing and how ru finding it there?


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