So what if I frequently claim that whatever I write in this blog is ONLY for myself..There are still moments when by a single simple act of a random individual, I am forced to question that fundamental tenet itself..The last week during my 'lone wolf' trip across the Northern Part of this wonderful country, whenever I switched on my mobile, it was such a delight to see sms' and fone calls ranging from concerned queries if all was fine at my end since there were no blog updates, sarcastic comments that I had finally found time to work and not blog, pointed threats to stop acting pricey and write some crap to forceful arguments as to strike while the iron is hot (to be read as: break news like a journo ???) Needless to say, I'd be lying if i didn't admit that the attention was very flattering. Of course, what took me by surpise was the sudden realisation that there were quite a few people as vela as me who actually seemed to miss something which had become part and parcel of their mundane daily routine. To all these regulars, I dedicate this post :-)
Been thinking quite a lot about how I shud write about the experiences of these last 1`0 days. Should it be a day-2-day diary ? Shud it be a travelogue ? Should it be a lessons learnt kinda post ? After much deliberation I've come to the conclusion that it will be a mix of all kinds but more of free wheeling since there is so much I want to say and most of it would miss out if I were to force fit just one template to this whole post. Its gonna be mighty long so maybe there will be multiple parts.. Pls endure the long rants !!
So where do I start ? Yeah... The Rajdhani train journey..Since I'd left on a Thursday evening, I'd written off any chances of having 'interesting company' and having stuffed my backpack with a couple of books, I was praying that my companions in the coupe would not be the intrusive kinds. As any guy will testify (neone who denies it is kidding himself), the first thing I did when the train chugged in was to scan the reservation list in AS1 compartment for anything which fit F 21/22/23/24/25/26...Suprise of all surprises there were atleast 9 who fit the bill and the best part was there were 3 in my immediate vicinity. Thanking the Gods for this small act of kindness, I quickly found my seat, dumped my luggage and waited in anticipation. The first party to occupy the rest of the seats in my coupe was a North Indian family of 4....And then came 'Suchitra' :-) The two other seats in the next coupe with "interesting people" was already taken but they weren't to be seen. I slowly turned my attention to Suchitra and gave her a polite smile. She coolly ignored me (or maybe she cudn't see me thru those Sania Mirza glasses) - I felt miffed. The train left and then the other two damsels waded into the compartment. We had hardly traveled a couple of kms when I took out my brand new Grisham - THE BROKER. Suchitra who had been yawning was clearly impressed and asked me at once "You planning to read the book ?" Under the cirsumstances, it was possibly the dumbest thing she could have said and at that instant I was tempted to retort " No, I've brought them to seduce women". Instead I held back and gave her a curious frown (s'thg I've patented which only a select few friends have seen) She seemed to resign herself to boredom but feeling suddenly apologetic for my behavior, I pulled out my other novel Arthur Hailey - WHEELS and offered only for it to be gratefully accepted. Without a word exchanged we became friends. The family was still busy in organising their luggage and seemed to me totally unaware of the rest of us. I then turned my attention to the two beautiful damsels. Now this is where I make my first disclaimer. Most of this post is based out of my own experience - there is no way you can dispute since they are MY OPINIONS but of course, I do not claim that they are universal truths. Now where was I ? Yeah.. No sooner had I opened the Grisham and flipped the first few pages than did I see one of the pretty damsels trying to steal a glance in my (ok, my book's) direction. I knew coz I was waiting for it. She quickly scanned the title but her face registered absolutely no recognition. She quickly whispered to her companion who also turned and spied on my novel but with the same result. It was then that my suspciion was confirmed. They had to be Delhiites :-( There are just three kinds of women from Delhi....They go like this.. Fair, very fair, goddamn bloody fair...and in the same order they look dumb, very dumb, goddamn bloody dumb.. Maybe I am being very charitable here... Lets replace LOOK by ARE in the previous sentence :-) Since I am done with generalisations, let me describe the two actual species under observation in detail now. One of them was around 5'6" (yeah, thumbs up), wearing a figure hugging pink polo neck woolen sweater (yeahhhhhhh, double thumbs up) which only accentuated her pink cheeks and ears and carried herself as if she were a model.. A true 2020 babe..The second was 5' 4" (tch tch), traditionally dressed in a black salwar and maroon sweater, divinity personified with a face and grace that made me think of pulling the chain and forcefully draggging her home to my mom ;-)
For the rest of the evening, we stole glances in each other's direction neither willing to make the first move. Night slowly crept in and before long, we started making preparations to hit the sack. I have this record in Chennai Express of sleeping for almost 18 hrs of the journey and since nothing exciting loomed in the future, I decided to give directions to the pantry people to not wake me up for breakfast hoping to doze off till noon the next day waking just in time for lunch. However the crappy Grisham novel with its unbelievably Bollywoodish plot refused to let go of me and I was totally besotted with it till well past midnight. All along I realised that the light in the next coupe had not gone off and I peeked to see the divine damsel reading Abdul Kalam's Wings of Fire. At around half past midnight I sneaked towards the door hoping to catch both some fresh air and the fair lady's attention. After a frustrating wait of 10 minutes, I gave up all hope. Maybe this godamn bloody dumb one never read those B-grade romantic paper backs ;-) Just as I was coming back to my seat, I saw her approaching the door. I knew it was too late to turn back for it would have meant swallowing my pride and admitting interest. Cursing my luck, I got back to my bunker and tried to get some sleep noticing the lights in the next coupe also going off within a couple of minutes. When I woke up it was 11:40 am and Suchitra clearly indicated her amusement at my looong nap. We chatted idly till lunch was served and found that we were both traveling to Delhi for a wedding. After lunch I was disappointed to see that the two damsels preferred to have their siesta and left with no choice, I returned back to Grisham. By now, the family had also warmed up to us and we were soon subjected to the usual prying questions about work, family and marital status. By evening, I was plainly tired and wanting to escape from the monotony of the pointless conversations, spent an hour sitting at the door and observing the barren MP countryside. By around 7 pm, I got tired and returned to my seat to find the two damsels engaged in an animated conversation. Though I tried my damnesdest to hear their "sureeeley aavaaz" I failed. Then there were periods when they barely spoke just staring at each other. These sessions spooked me so much that I knew that I had had enough. After a quick dinner, I finished my novel and retired for the day. When I was woken up on Saturday at 5:15, the train had already rolled into the station and just a few minutes short of reaching the final destination. Whilst I hastily repacked, I noticed that everyone else was through with theirs and waiting to disembark. When we finally got down, the damsels with their minimal luggage had already engaged a porter and were on their way to some unknown destination.
Yet another flop show...Rail Snehams seldom work for me :-(( Dammit !! I think its all because of some jealous cats who must have wished that I don't find my 'trainwaali' :-(