Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A journey that (mini) nightmares are made of

Well, now I’m back in Bangalore. I’ve been ‘back’ for about 10 days now. The initial idea was that I’d come down on the 28th to attend FB’s wedding, stay for a couple of days, and go back to Vizag. I was supposed to move to Bangalore ‘for good’ (which duration is about 1- 2 years in my mind) in early March.

However, Nike got quite sick of sleeping on the hard, cold floor in his friend’s place, and went about house hunting with much enthusiasm and extravagance (by which one means that he recklessly upped our budget till he found the house he wanted) that he found a place for us just one day before I was about to leave for Bangalore - and so I hurriedly packed some of my stuff in two large suitcases, imperiously ordered the long suffering parents to pack the rest of my stuff in large cardboard boxes and send them to Vizag - and proceeded to have a miserable journey to Bangalore.

Now I booked a second a/c ticket because I knew I would be traveling with a lot of luggage but as my luck would have it, I got the side lower berth. While the smaller of the 2 suitcases fit below the birth, it was impossible to fit in the larger suitcase. I asked the family sitting in the main coupe opposite me if I could put my suitcase between both their lower berths, to the corner, but they very rudely refused and shut the curtain in my face! And the corner space between the lower berths in all the other coupes were taken up with luggage.

So I had no choice but to keep my large suitcase on the side upper berth - the side upper berth would be occupied only at Vijayawada, from when I would have the pleasure of occupying the tiny little berth with the humongous suitcase till the next day. However, the suitcase was jutting out of the berth, so I had to keep an anxious eye all the time to make sure no one walked into it, and could not relax for a moment. Finally, one man walked into it, and hit his head against the jutting edge of the suitcase, and roundly blasted me for it.

I finally found the compartment attendant, literally begged him to put the large suitcase in the cupboard with the bedrolls, and lugged the damn thing from one end of the compartment to another and put it in. Satisfied with myself, I then had dinner and sat down to watch a movie on the laptop, only to realise that I’d forgotten the adapter, and the laptop shut off at a most interesting point during the movie. I didn’t yet give in to despair - I bravely decided to go to sleep.

Now I’m one of those people who really struggle to sleep in trains, even when comfortably ensconced in air-conditioned compartments, warmly covered in blankets and rugs, with a soft pillow under my head. So I tossed and turned for over two hours before I finally fell asleep. Only to be woken up in half an hour by an old man, requesting me to take the top berth, because his wife couldn’t climb up. I end up with a terrible cold every time I sleep on the top berth, on account of the a/c vent blasting across right into my face, so I asked the old man to request some one else - but he said he didn’t want to wake up the sleeping passengers (hello! What was I doing when you woke me up? Aerobics? )

I of course gave in, and went to the top berth and slept. The a/c was on full speed. I normally don’t use a rug on trains but it was cold enough to warrant in so I did. But even then I was shivering. I put part of the rug against the a/c went to reduce the cold blast of air, but only yogis and rishis can probably sleep with their hands up in the air like that. Finally, after shivering my skin off, I gave up, and got up and went and stood outside the door to the compartment, and paced around for well over an hour. The lady who took my berth thankfully got off at Chennai, which we reached at around 5am, after which I went back to my berth and got some shut-eye.

The next morning, as we neared Bangalore, the attendant refused to part with my luggage until I paid the exorbitant sum of Rs.300 as storage charges! Considering how little sleep I got in the night, I might as well have kept it on my berth itself! I finally got custody of my suitcase for Rs.150.

I got off at Cantonment station - and the platform is quite low, so you have to climb all 3 steps to get off the train. This was such a struggle with those huge suitcases, and the narrow, steep steps leading to the compartment - I tottered all over the place, trying to lug those suitcases from the train door to the platform, let the suitcases fall, and finally fell myself - while three fit young men lunged about and watched the spectacle. I’d just picked myself off the platform and dusted myself when Nike came rushing up to help!

And that, dear reader, is how I got to Bangalore!


Sumanth Suresh said...

you're back after a long hiatus... :)

welcome back!

Ramya said...

@Sumanth: Hey, i know! :-) Also, mail me your number...I broke my phone (yeah, usual story). My number is the same.....let's catch up, its been a while

Praveen Kandanala said...

You did not face the worst part which you usually do, missing the train!!

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