“..Platform ek par aa chuki hai..”

“40 hours?WTF dude?” I retorted when a  friend informed me about the duration of the journey we would be undertaking.We were going to Pune from Trivandrum for a football tournament in some fuckall train called Cape Mumbai.I may sound like an elitist ass but this was my first experience travelling in a non-AC coach. The experience wasn’t as bad as I hoped it would be.It was an opportunity to observe the demographics,geography and dialects of our country,for this joke of a train traversed through five different states.But every train compartment symbolizes our country.Bucketloads of people,confined to a space,each communicating in different languages,sharing food and folklores.And suddenly it came as moment of epiphany,I do love my country and almost most of things she can offer.
I start off with my first co-passenger, Mr.Malyali.He is your everyday office going guy,with oiled hair combed with precision which could put Javed Habib to shame,by precision I mean the daily routine of an average middle aged Indian man and his attempt to cover the balding patches on his scalp.He’ll have a copy of a malyali newspaper in one hand and a suitcase in the other,probably an ancestral property used by three generations.He will ask you for your newspaper and gobble up the editorial on communism.I’ve always appreciated the way Keralites go about their politics.Don’t be surprised to see posters of Stalin,Karl Marx and Lennin in Kerala.The whole compartment was filled with such people,getting down at weirdass stations.Say ‘Ootapalam’.You have a better chance at winning the lottery than pronouncing the name of a Kerala station correctly in the first attempt.
The ubiquitous vendors are a colossal pain in the ass.Who the fuck wants to buy a matrimonial paper in a train?I have nothing against coffee vendors though,one could always do with a fix of caffeine.Tea,is not my cup of tea.As for food,the pantry car offers you three options and the guy selling it gleefully shouts “Chicken Biryani,Anda Biryani,Veg Biryani khaana khana” .Food isn’t bad.Nothing is up for comparison when a monopoly is involved.And I didn’t want to complain about food on a moving train.After 10 hours and a good afternoon siesta,I was in Tamil Nadu,sharing the space around me with orthodox tamilians and from the looks of it,they had nothing but contempt for my messy hair and goatee.One foolproof way to know about your location is by checking for intensity of greenery.If you find a noticeable decline in coconut trees,then congratulations,you have left Kerala.If you find weirdly colored houses then you are in Tamil Nadu.We passed through a jungle,I actually spotted deer in their natural habitat.Beautiful,I must say.I gulped down my dinner,played a few games of rummy and forced myself to sleep and woke up in Andhra Pradesh.Breakfast was platform wala bread-omelette.If you are in AP be ready to confront loud mouths,and words like ‘mama’ ‘bava’ .6 hours and a biryani later we were in Karnataka.The areas we were passing through were nomadic and dry.The stretch from Wadi-Shahpur to Gulbarga was a cynosure to the eyes,life moved at its own pace there,laidback people enjoying their evening cuppa and appreciating the onset of dusk.Winter sunset at a nomadic place,need I say more?
We finally made it to Maharashtra and god-bless Sholapur and their food.After gulping down pantry car’s biryani for one and half days,we had enough.Dinner was Pav-Bhaji,Idli-Vada and Vada-Pav with sliced cucumber and salted chillis washed down with Pepsi..Life was good.
We finally reached Pune at 12 30 a.m after 40 god-damn hours.The experience, was(to put it in their lingo) “Ekaj Numbarr.A1”.As for the football match,lost in the first round itself.Spent the rest of the time ogling at girls,eating food,a lot of food to be precise.For the record  I have nothing against objectifying women,anyperson who turns your head just by walking past has my respect.The return journey was better.My first time experiencing the Konkan railway.I don’t want to play a spoilsport by letting you on the details.Screw the English countryside,you’ve got to experience this first.
Maybe I’ll conclude on that note,for I have to review a restaurant for the college newsletter and complete COD:Modern Warfare 3.I’m busy at times,you see.

Beckoning

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