This is a sequel to the first one which came out waay back. Here's d link- http://arkofconwheals.blogspot.com/2008/12/sitcoms-of-lyf-1.html. Go check it out if u have nothing better to do...;) N this time around, this screwed up blogger will be commenting on the crowds, Diwali and trains. And to save time, we shall put all of them into one nightmarish yet illuminating(in a self-deprecating way) incident that I had recently.
Half an hour into my Genetics lecture on this 14th October, 3.30 PM, I realized that I wanted to go home this Diwali to be with my family. It was frighteningly simple and the implications of that realization frgihteningly complex, say like the desire to attend nature's call and being stuck in a Board of Director's meeting, the results of which will be that either ur bowels are the goner or your career is. In this case, luckily my bowels were not at stake and I have taken Biotech as my career option, so I dare u screw me...;)
I got up, feigned nausea and left the class. This was the simpler bit. I walked into a cyber cafe, took a "Waiting List-24" e-ticket for 3-tier AC that cost me a bomb and went back to hostel. I packed all my stuff into the college bag, slung it over m shoulders n set off by 6 in the evening. Was I insane? Yes. Partly 'coz logic goes out of the window when u are faced with two things- raging testosterone overdrive and a raging girlfriend.
I reached at 8 and found that my briliant "get-home-scheme-in-36-hours" was illegal, invalid and unauthorized. I couldn't board the train without a confirmed e-ticket and I had none. My adrenalin all high, I boarded the train without a ticket. Now, here's the pitfall(s) I didn't count for :-
1. The train was abnormally crowded, imagine all the girls in this world finding out that Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise are up for sale and bidding will be done for only 3 hours. Compare the waiting list to the server speed. The WL had gone upto 322 and then the rail authorities stopped the booking.
2. In this Great Indian Diwali Season, the minimum bribe costs 1000 bucks. With cops, it can go upto 5000.
3. People smell and stink in a boiling train moving across the divides of mid-terrain of this hot country. And itches do take place in the most objectionable places, help it or not.
4. You do need to sleep. No matter whatwe do during exams, we need sleep for atleast 5 hours...;)
5. Wailing babies go home during diwali too. And infants do pee n poo in their pants and the smell isn't exactly the le pleasante eau de toilette.
The train departed at 10.15 on the 14th night.
14th Night 10.20 PM-
I sleep on someone's seat for almost an hour while he checks, re-checks n re-re-checks his ticket. He finally asks whether this is my seat. I stand up cockily and say No. He chucks me out of his seat.
By 12.30 my legs are aching due to searchin for a place all across the train. People are lying hithereto and thereto and abovetoo and downtoo and sidetoo. I trample legs and hands in my search for a seat. I have no luck. I open a door and sit on the sill for an hour. Time passes comatose as the same scenery and rhythm passes by again and again. Darkness pierced by far-off lights. Darkness again. It almost lulls me off to sleep on the edge of the open door. It's desperation time, I realize grimly. I close the door, and go sleep near a guy whos lyin on a newspaper and bed sheet near a door. He adjusts his kind ass and lets me sleep. I finally fall asleep at 3 at night.
Scene 3- I am forced to wake up at 6 in the morning. By none other than a bunch of eunuchs straddling their threatning stuff for cash. Someone has slapped me lightly on the head I realize drowsily.
"Ai Raaju..dena.." Sound of clapping. Only it's no applause and no music to the ears either.
I force my eyes open after the third time. I vaguely see them. I say "Fuck Off".
They don't understand the lyrics but do get the gist of what I'm telling them to do. And yeah, it doesn't exactly please them.
"AIII RAAAJU!! ZYASTI MAT BOL...DETA HAIN KI UTHAUN??...
I say "Go have sex with yourself." and turn back to get some shut-eye. Only problem is that I don't get any. S/he is clamberin across the crowd of people to me. I panick so fast that a 10 Rs note flies off my hand as if I can mint money from hands. My sleep and money are both taken away from me in a cruel instant. I get up and wash my face. It's the first time that day.
15th October, 11.30 AM
I somewhere read a phrase as a kid on how to express a simile for packed things- "Packed as tight as a box of sardines." This later gave way to -"Packed tighter than the economy section of a Boeing-747." Going further with my story:
The heat is intolerable in the midst of 120 yapping humans inside a single compartment. The only respite is the AC compartments where I can't go and the big tankers having ice in the Pantry Car where I can't dunk my head into. I go wash my face for the seventh time since morning. I drink water like a famished UNICEF refugee from the train vendors.
2.30 PM afternoon:
I still don't have a seat and decide to wander like the lost. With only my backpack for company, I travel across the breadth of the train twice and finally between AC-II tier compartment. The passage is cool owing to the influx of cold winds from the AC-I tier and III tier. I thank the Lord and settle down.
I curse the Lord and get up as a TC comes in. His smug and oily face gets an uplift when he sees me.
I produce my e-ticket which is so very invalid.
"This isn't valid."- he says through a layer of greasy happiness.
"Dude I want a ticket. How much?"-I had to appear confident if I wanted to save my ass n cash.
He likes being called dude. At 40 and a bun-sized bald spot on his head, anyone would appreciate the subtleties of flattery.
"Yea. Goin home for diwali dude." Damn I overdid it. The word "Diwali" bought him back to his senses so fast I didn't know what hit me next.
"That'll be 1500 Rs." - he said smoothly.
I tripped on his words. "How much?"- I asked wide-eyed.
I recovered well. Too well. "You have an ATM card machine in trains? 'Coz I don't have that much in cash." Hell yea I was cocky.
"No but we have a special feature in our trains that helps us in throwing people off it. It's called The Chain. Would you like a demonstration?" Well-said. I almost applauded.
"I have 700 bucks man." I said in a panicky voice.
"I don't have time. Besides, I have an incentive for you. You can yourself pull the chain and get down. Nice na?"
"1000. Last and final."
"Where's the chain?"- I said, taking my cockiness to a new level.
"1000 done."- the TC agreed.
Bingo-ding-ding-ding...Haha..Yipppeeee. I mentally hi-fived myself. Not bad huh??..
"So where's the seat dude?"- I guffawed and walked towards AC.
He looked at me as if I was barking mad.
"What?"-I said instinctively.
"Firstly, seat is in Sleeper coach. Second, you get it after Nagpur. Thirdly, I'll still show you the chain just in case it's not a deal."
The happiness fizzed out like a defective suspense plot of a B-grade Kollywood movie. I panicked again.
"1000?"- I stammered.
"Then what? You think you get an AC seat during Diwali season for 1000 bucks? What are u? Super-nuts or somethng?"
I eventually paid him 1000 bucks for a wasted seat which I got only fr 12 hours outo which I spent 7 sleeping on.
You know what the morale of this story is??
P.S.- Screw the morale but gimme some cash man.
A fool and his money soon part ways.
A modified saying:-
An adrenalin charged emotionally driven cocky man with crazy tendencies of split-decision personality disorder and utter nonsensical blogging habits soon parts his ways with money.
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