For the number of times I am travelling on trains and buses every month Bangalore to Chennai, guess I am even entitled to write a book on my travel tales. I want to capture the number of things I encounter during these travels that I am starting a new series – WTS – Wacky Travel Stories! It all started when I joined college which was close to 25Kms from my home. I would spend a good amount of time travelling in buses. I would catch up with my sleep sometimes, prepare for tests, go through my class notes, catch up with my friends and if not anything – just listen to stories that would fall directly into my ears – thanks to those gossips – what a good pass time it was. Every day, my friends would listen to one or the other travel story from me that they started calling me the travel story queen!! Before I knew, college got over and I was posted in Bangalore for my first job. My dad warned me not to come back Chennai until I get my first month salary. But GB being GB couldnt spend two straight weeks without seeing her parents that she decided she would travel Chennai every weekend. Its true that I traveled more than 60times/year for the first 3 years of my stay in Bangalore. Needless to say, my health went for a toss. I suffered major health difficulties. Fortunately wedding happened! I was slightly happy that I could be put up at one place finally but again luck proved different for me. We had to travel bi-weekly, mostly as we had to support our in-laws in Chennai. When I was still cribbing for the bi-weekly travel, S made his big decision and that has brought us back to square one. Either S is traveling every 4 days or I have to come Chennai for the weekends. Sigh! I seriously wish there is an end point to my nomadic life. All the time, I am found with my baggage waiting for buses/trains. To cut the long story short, we are bringing a lot of profit to the irctc and ksrtc! 😀
Last night, I had to start to Chennai – big wedding shopping plans for the weekend. As much as I am loving to take part in my sister’s wedding preparations, I am not up for another travel. As I dont know when I would have to travel, there is no way I can pre-book my tickets also. I depend on the hopeless tatkal service. Its a world wonder to have atleast a waitinglist ticket booked through online tatkal. But to our astonishment this time, my sister had booked the first ticket of the tatkal quota 😀 What a happiness!! Staying close to the IT park, there is no shortage of Volvo buses from my place to the railway station, but every bus comes jam packed is a different story altogether! I will try being early always than missing the train due to traffic in Bangalore and thats why I started at 7.45Pm for my 10.45Pm train. I waited for an hour and 5 mins, before I could board a bus where I could atleast stand comfortably. I had to stand for another 40mins in the bus, before I could rest my legs. All in all, standing with a huge luggage for about 2 hrs left me so tired and frustrated. Luckily for me, the train was already on the platform. I boarded the train, rested my back which by now was paining so badly. Before I can go on with my story further, I should put up some short names for the berths for easy reference. I was travelling by 2nd class sleeper and as we all know there would 3 berths on each side of the coupe. Lets call the ones on the left as LLB (Left Lower berth) LMB (left Middle Berth) and LUB (Left Upper Berth) and similarly the ones on the right as RLB, RMB and RUB. Lets also say, I occupied the RLB. Now the actual story begins.
There were two ladies with 2 kids, who just had a side lower berth confirmed. Not knowing they all cant travel with just one berth, they placed themselves comfortably over other unoccupied berths (to which ppl are yet to come). They were shouting on top of their voices. The kids were running around the compartment screaming, peeing openly and pouring water all around. Rather than controlling those kids, these women were busy discussing something else in their loud voices 😦 After all this drama, a middle aged couple occupied both the LMB and RMB. They were talking to each other from across their berths, again loudly! There was still about 40mins for the train to start and I was already getting frustrated. Thank God, the train started right on time and in about 10mins, it was in the next station. There boarded another couple with about 101 bags of luggage, I kid not! I wonder from where they could find such small plastic covers to put in little little things. They switched on the lights to settle themselves at 11. The guy from that couple patiently took out some bunches of locks and kept putting them on to each and every small cover 😦 When somehow he settled and I closed my eyes, TTE came up for ticket. I dont even remember when I fell asleep. At around 2, I could feel the train being stationary but hear loud engine like noise. Wondering how, I opened my eyes only to realize that the train indeed had stopped at a station and the noise was nothing but the loud snoring from RMB, right above me. He snored so so so loudly that he was giving a tough competition to the train engine, as such. One minute it will be the train engine, shaking me up and down and the next minute it will the guy from RMB snoring like that of a roaring lion. Meanwhile the guy in LLB also got up, due to loud snoring noise. It was deafening. He got so irritated. He started “shhhhhhhhh-ing” as if the snoring guy would listen to him 😀 After sometime, his shhh-ings too got very loud though nothing really helped. Not able to control himself, LLB got up and started waking up RMB – “Hello… mister! Hello… ” But RMB was snoring off to glory 😀 I was having a good laugh inspite of missing my sleep. LLB was cribbing all the time how RMB was disturbing his sleep. Now wasn’t this LLB the same guy who switched on lights for an hour to get himself settled?!? Only when it came to him, he understood. As if all that was happening was not enough, he started talking to RUB from LLB. What do I do now? LLB is cribbing and talking to RUB, RMB is snoring off to glory and train is shaking me up and down. Sigh!! Sigh!! Within an hour, LLB got up again, switched on lights to unlock his things. Can you believe it? This guy took an hour to lock and within 2hrs, he was unlocking again 😦 Why are people like this, indifferent to the feelings of other people travelling with them? Within 25mins, I had to get up as the train was nearing Chennai. I hardly had an hour’s sleep last night – thanks to the eventful train journey! Though I got down at 4.25Am, I could reach home only at 6.15 as there are limited train services during that hour of the day. But I am happy, I reached home in one piece and what could be more joyous than meeting S? He too got up at 5, we spoke for sometime and then he was waiting for me at the station to pick me up the moment I got down from the electric train 😀