• There are three types of people in the world, those who don't know what's happening, those who wonder what's happening and those on the streets that make things happen.

Posts Tagged ‘train’

Oh no…not again!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 20, 2012

17:00 The train came to a halt. I picked up my bags and rushed to my compartment. Before boarding, I read the reservation chart and breathe a sigh of relief when I see my name on that list. I knew my ticket was confirmed but my mind has been tuned into being stressed till I see the proof inked on that dreaded chart.  Next, I glance at the passenger names around my seat. I am going to be spending the next 28 hours of my life with them, and I like to be prepared for what is coming. The only column that interests me is the Age/Sex column. 82/M, 52/F, 55/M, 57/M, 46/F ; oh no…not again! None of my co-passengers belong to my age group. Why does this always happen to me! I look at my Kindle and can’t help think “Just the two of us.”

17:30: Train starts moving. I bid an emotional goodbye to my favorite city, not knowing when I will return.

18:00: I assume a quiet posture in my seat, eyes glued to my kindle, ears catching every sound wave from the surroundings. Three of my co-passengers are related. 82 year old father (I will refer to him as grandfather) of the 52 year old aunty who is married to the 55 year old uncle. In India, any lady more than 20 years your age is referred to as “aunty” and any man “uncle”.

18:15: Aunty starts slicing apples and passes them on to uncle and Grandfather. And then what I dread, she offers them to me. I courteously refuse but in India you know its not going to work. I soon had four slices of apple in my hand and one in my mouth. Honestly, these were the most delicious apples I had had in a long time. I knew what this meant, I was now obliged to spend the next 26 hours chit chatting with this family. I looked at my Kindle, “Goodbye, mon ami!”

19:00: Grandfather turns out to be the most interesting man. He was a retired Railways official and his postings across the country endowed him with great wisdom that comes with traveling and age. Fortunately, he loved talking and sharing this worldly wisdom. I was all ears.

20:00: The family unpacks its home made dinner and not surprisingly, I am offered their food. By now I am only too glad to accept the invitation. Fried potatoes in a red curry accompanied by Indian bread…heaven!

21:00: By now we have discussed the state of our nation more than the Cabinet ever has. The latest scandal involving the son-in-law of the country has been analyzed from every possible angle. Quality of railways food has been blasted in every sense possible. The danger Walmart poses to our entrepreneurs has been debated thoroughly. Best ways of investing savings have been pondered upon and almost all religious stereotypes existing in our country mentioned at least once.

22:00: We all wish each other a pleasant sleep and retire to our berths. I pick up my kindle and start reading “Business As Usual” by John Childress.

The next day is a repeat of exchange of gossips, food and jokes. In no time, I reach my destination and bid a grateful farewell to grandfather, uncle and aunty. Grateful for filling 28 hours of my life with such enriching information, wisdom and experience. Grateful for sharing their travels and teaching me a great lesson, “first impressions can be very deceiving indeed.” The next time I look at the reservation chart, I’ll look for an 82/M listing.

P.S: Highly recommend “Business As Usual” by John Childress. 5 stars!

Super  Pants lived up to their expectations yet again 🙂

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My Super Pants!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 8, 2012

I write this post from inside a train in India. So far, I have exchanged my berth with a co-passenger, so that a family, divided by the cruelty of the reservation system can travel together. All my internal organs have undergone three hours of motion sickness test, thanks to the old and faulty suspension system of this wagon. I have not spoken a single word for the last couple of hours; my berth lies at the very end of the compartment and is quite an isolated spot. I have another 24 hours before I reach my destination and I know they are not going to be the most comfortable.

Earlier today, I experienced a moment of delight that I’d like to share here. While I was getting dressed for the journey, I put on my cargo pants and felt a sudden transformation. The day until then had been pretty dull and I was feeling in no mood to undertake this long trip. But suddenly, in a split moment, all that changed. When I had donned those pants, I was ready to go, all charged up to head out on a long trek. I felt this surge of energy and a complete change in my frame of mind. Bewildered, I looked at myself in the mirror. I gazed at my pants and it hit me, they possessed magical powers.

These were the same cargo pants that I had worn on several arduous travels of mine, the 18 day trek across North East India, the 15 day mentally punishing trip to Mt. Kailash in Tibet, the month long grilling political campaign in the badlands of rural India. Since my body had overcome a lot of external stress while dressed in these cargoes, an unexplainable bonding has come into existence between the two. A touch of the pants on my skin, and my body gets triggered into action. Physiological changes kick in, hormonal flows get altered and travel instincts get activated. In short, a pretty cool conditional reflex has developed.

I now call these cargoes my Super Pants! Does your wardrobe have a Super Dress?

P.S: I’ve just been requested to change my berth again so that an old lady can occupy my lower berth and I climb on to the upper berth allotted to her. This happens every time I take a train 🙂




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