Warning: This is about a great Indian Train journey, so yes, it’s going to be pretty long. Kindly inject patience into your system, and have yourselves parked on the padded chair before this LCD screen. Hope you enjoy the trip as we advance En route!
4.00 am. Queen’s Castle 1
Generally people welcome a new day by stepping out of their dewy-eyed slumber in ways which might be termed rational. The most common of them being the persistent shrieking of the alarm clock; ear-drum-shattering parental symphonies; sometimes by the chirruping of naïve birds or maybe by nature’s call itself. Since the aforesaid means have failed to provide justice to my cause, so early morning profanity and my roommate’s silver tongue proves to be the only manner to awaken my senses. After the ritual of bidding farewell, I had to accomplish the herculean task of transporting my monolithic luggage to the ground floor. As I signed the dubious register at the reception, I gave the receptionist a nasty smirk of happiness, and virtually flipped the bird at the confused individual. This was followed by the auspicious moment of leaving the holy territory and the last joruney.
Peace! Freedom! Liberty!
I could feel endless rows of men blowing the trumpets of victory, similar to a triumphant historic post-Roman-war scene. Only a hostel resident can sense this sweet taste of liberty, can value this overwhelming happiness. No more of those stomach-racking eating items. No more of those lethal gastric emissions in the washrooms. Tears of happiness trickled down, when the autowala bhaina (bhaiya in Odisha) yelled and reminded me to get inside the vehicle.
6.10 a.m. Bhubaneswar Railway Station
The great Indian railway tracks are more apt to be called the local loo, or a sewage dump. Any person who has been gifted with vision and olfactory glands will be agreeing with me regarding this. The aromatic smell will literally cause you to puke out of your drowsiness, and will make you realize every moment that “thou art present at the glorious railway station.” I could see several other fellow batch mates waiting eagerly to board the train. Meanwhile, I was having a good look at the young coolie, the poor soul who was carrying my lead-heavy bags, and wondering whether he’ll be able to finish the task in one piece or not.
Through the dense fog, the Jan Shatabdi Express came gleaming like a carriage to heaven. The whistling and shrieking made things exciting (no ambiguity please). When you are a student, plus, when you reside in the second most populous country in the world, getting an AC coach ticket will surely make you feel like a celebrity. I walked towards the AC bogey with a failed swag. As for the poor coolie, the lad accomplished the task, and most importantly, in one-freaking piece.
My seat no. was 60, window side. I gloated like a loser, as I made myself cozy on my seat. The cool ambience gradually induced drowsiness, as I could feel the insomnia from the past fourteen exam days taking a toll on me. Meanwhile, my mother called me up to highlight the atrocities of being a girl and other 101 rules of behaving myself in the train.
After all, “akeli ladki khuli hui tijori ki tarah hoti hai.”
After advising me to discard any form of possible interaction with a fellow human being, father took the phone. He instead advised me not to babble aimlessly, followed by the controversial “like your mother does” sentence. I prayed that mother dear wasn’t nearby when dad said that, else you can guess what could have been the consequence. Finally the train generated a flatulent outcome for the last time in Bhubaneswar, and started to budge. The ‘Bhubaneswar’ sign board gradually started to disappear, and very soon, the station was just a vignette in the mind.
I continued to gloat like a moron, took out my favorite Cadbury Dairy milk chocolates. The moment I was about to devour the chocolate body, a high pitched sound wave almost perforated my eardrums. Behind my seat, a fat chubby baby was clinging to his mother’s body. He had the face of an angel, though his actions resembled those of the devil Lucifer. “No. not this time again!” I silently groaned, as the supposedly innocent baby exploded once again. I virtually slapped the kid a thousand and one times, and developed uncontrollable urges to throw him out of the window. But in reality, all I could do at most was to glare at him and suffer in silence. I was too tired to even lift an eyebrow. So I hopelessly shrugged and plugged in my earphones.
If you want to enjoy the scenic beauty of nature as you travel, trains are the best means to do so. As for having a good view from an aero plane, acrophobic people are bound to get heart attacks. My eyeballs tried to gain solace from the moving surroundings, as my mind tried to recollect snapshots of those beautiful sights. Like each and every passing sight, the precious seconds of our lives are also fleeting away. Slowly, and gradually, you can see the movie of your life being played in front of your eyes- the day you first went to school with a funny bag, to the last working day; how tightly you hugged your school mates and cried like a baby; the day when you got your first scolding from the teacher, to the last day of board exams; the day you first stepped in to hostel and wondered how to tackle life away from home, to the day how you evolved as an independent soul as you are about to depart again.
Certain things happen in our lives, which we never even thought of, and then completely change the way we perceive this universe. If we plot the graph between changes versus time, then we will find that both share a linear relationship, which continues till infinity. We might hate it, we might love it, but we do learn to embrace to learn this change, or discrepancy.
I was awakened from my intense slumber by the shrill cries of two more kids. I blurted out something really ridiculous, and the man sitting next to me gave me a grave look, as if I was a drunkard who had yelled, “ kids shut up and go watch pay per view T.V!”
I looked at my watch and was very happy to learn that I wouldn’t have to endure the annoying half-tickets for log. I looked out through the window once again, and found the railway tracks to be familiar. Coolies started to gather as people hurriedly assembled their belongings, and headed for the entrance of the bogey. I looked at a board flashing “KOLKATA” in huge and bold black letters.
The engine roared for another time, and finally, the Express halted.