Saturday, November 01, 2003

The day I missed my train

My homesickness is probably worse than my fear, and certainly it has more frightening implications, as I would seek out the faces behind the Bombayite accents I heard to talk about. I miss everything about Mumbai…. My home, rain, local trains, pani-puri and yes, Diwali too. Last year I had real bad time in Hyderabad since I had to celebrate Diwali almost alone. Mom called up couple of times and we just kept talking about how much we missed each other. So this time even before I could see 1st of October on my desktop, I started planning for Diwali trip to home.

It was far too adventurous than I anticipated.

We had some production patching activities planned on Diwali holidays, so nobody could take leave on those days. How painful it is….. One has leaves but still cant use it. I came up with a workaround. I decided to work from home (I thought, atleast I will get to be at home). Thankfully, my manager agreed for this.

Then I ran to book tickets. It was so weird… I got train tickets to go home, but couldn’t get any for back journey. What the heck… I booked for plane ticket. So it was… all set, all planned.

But the real adventure started when I took my first train to Hyderabad.

Train was at five in the evening and I figured out that it takes around 45 minutes to reach Bangalore railway station from my office in Kormangala. So I started one and half-hour earlier from office. Then I remembered that I have to buy something for Saanchi and Rajeshwari (since Saanchi did big ruckus about it last time). So I stopped on my way to shop in Globus and bought few things. I almost wasted half an hour there. (Shopping does that to me.) When I came to my senses I almost ran for station. I grabbed my bag and laptop and threw myself into auto. I was too worried about time so I asked autofella if we could reach station in one hour. His confident “yes” made me sit back and relax.

But not for too long…. Soon we entered main city and all roads were clogged to death. Nothing was moving and we were being trapped in almost every possible signal on the way. To make things worse, the auto-driver started giving me all kind of advices about how to reach for train on time. From there on I detested every single signal, because everytime auto stopped, he used to turn around and talk about how heavy traffic is nowadays and how long it used to take to reach earlier and how pathetic evrything has become etc. etc. Ummm, may be I should have listened to all that blabber and wrote book or something…. 10 effective ways to reach station on time.

It was almost five o’clock when I reached station. I jumped out of auto and ran for train (one thing I can tell you for sure… if you are late don’t ever wear heels). How much I expected it to be on platform, but to my horror it was gone even before it was five. Looks like Indian Railways have really taken it up to be on time (or before time). Ticket checker saw me with my bags and he sympathetically told me “if you rush you can catch it in next station”. I really wanted to try that. I got into nearby auto and tried to tell him that I need to catch train. But it was not my lucky day afterall. I was trapped into same traffic and when I reached Bangalore Cant. station, I was told that I missed train by two minutes…. One more time.

I was standing there almost lost in thinking about all possible alternatives to reach Hyderabad. I had to reach Hyderabad because I had another train to catch at 2 PM next day. To my surprise another autofella came to me and asked me if I wanted to catch that train in next station. He was charging 200 bucks to get me there. By then I had enough of that exercise. I was conviced that I should not waste any more money in chasing that stupid train. I had made up mind about going by bus. So I kept saying no to him and he kept convincing me. That went on for another five mintues. Finally he said, “If you are not able to catch train don’t pay me at all”. He was so damn confident that I had to reconsider his offer. I had no clue how and where I could get bus either, so I thought of chasing the train one last time.

So we started for Yelhanka, which was another 10 km away. I was passive about entire affair by then, but to my surprise I reached that station before train. Hurrey.. Finally I made it.

Next day I chased next train with same enthusiasm (only difference was I had Saanchi and Rajeshwari to share my adventure with). But let me tell you… catching train becomes much more worthwhile after all that chase.