Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Trapped ... a 12 hour train journey

Yesterday night (27th March, 2005), when i arrived at beloved Thrissur Railway station, I was full of hope (the quintessential ...)
Hope that a dusty berth would be confirmed for me. But nope!
Latest Status: Waiting List 9.


Images of horrendous General Compartment Journey flashed upon my inward eye!
The only thing i could do at the moment was sip a cup of tea and wait till the train came , so that i could beg, borrow , steal a berth from the TTE .Things took a wrong turn, when i was at the wrong end and met the TTE for the AC Coach...

I had to be squeezed inside the general compartment and was finally landed in..
There was just enough space for everyone to stand. The Tamil family made a cradle out of a cloth , hung it on the two luggage carriers and placed the baby in it.
The young engineers to Salem, started talking about Unit tests and other stuff.
Two middle aged people were talking something very seriously about trains and particularly the Palakkad station.I didnot dare to keep my bag on the already overflowing luggage carrier, because it contained two of my most prized
possesions, viz a viz my passport (paid almost 8000 bucks - tell ya later!) for this one , and my degree certificate (waited almost 2 years for this one).

So i stood their amidst my country men, and really wished the Swades background music started playing ..yeaaaaheaaa yeahea yeaaaaheaaahein ... heaaaheaahein ...
Usually , my legs would have worn out in 15 minutes flat , considering the fact that my body was pampered with 23 deg centrigrade cool room temperature for the past 2 years, and that the only excercise i did was kick starting my bike ..
Dont know why, maybe because of the good afternoon nap i had, i felt really energized to stand..The trick was to stand as much as possible.. As a good 5 years train travelling had tought me , when i stand, i want to sit, when i sit, i want to lie down, when i lie down, i want to stretch and turn around, so the request for comfort keeps growing.

a 6 hour journey can be spaced as 2 hours of standing , 3 hours of sitting and 1 hour of lying down if possible ..but for 12 hour journey , i have to stand atleast for 5 hours, and then fight for a place to sit .... otherwise my body would
give in too soon and the end result would be sheer frustration.

so , the baby was sleeping the cradle, sparks were dancing under the train when it braked , once in a while , some one squeezed thru the entire crowd to the toilet or to wash his hands ..only one toilet was available because some drunkard had locked himself in the other one ever since mavelikkara (4 hours and counting).. though, he was drunk, he was diligent enough to choose the toilet with Europen closet ... ha ha ... SNORE .......

ok cut back to reality , up there goes gravity ..
Train stops at Palakkad, the two people who were discussing about all the trains in South india jump out .a whole crowd of my countrymen rush inside ... i see it .. .i see it now ..there is a sack lying in the area between the toilets , it stinks .. but hell what , i want to sit! its just over an hour and i have already developed a cramp i think... i leaped like a zebra.... sat on the sack .. woaaa! the smell was disgusting , but hell yeah, i wanted to sit..2 minutes later , an very very old man steps out of the bathroom and says "bluhughuh akkada gukkada bluhhuhuhu "
it was ancient dialect which sounded something like telugu mixed with hebrew!
near the sack was yet another college student sleeping like a baby ...
very soon, everyone was looking at me as if had commited murder, i stood up and gave him the sack this time the rest of the compartment was brimming with people and the only place left was the place i was standing right now
amidst the toilets ....

the nauseating smell of the old mans head which was now directly under my nose ....
the frequent buggers who came to urinate ..sweat ... no air circulation .. and cramped leg ...yet, i felt that i was the luckiest person on earth ....
After a while, the old man took out an ancient beedi (should be atleast 200 years old!) and lit it ...aaah! the aroma was intoxicating ..... for the first time in my life, i thanked a smoker ...because it saved me from everything other disgusting smell in my present universe.....

The sleeping boy opened his eyes and asked me if i wanted to sit.. "nope..."
he stood up and started a coversation right away ...he was an engineering student at some college at Erode and told me everything about it .....he said that it was run by a group of goondas and students were literally man-handled by the staff! They were also forced to pay small amounts of money every now and then ..and cheated on the University to keep the affiliation intact ! He had a million questions for me ... how much do you earn ? how much do you spend ? .. what is work like ? will an electrical engineer be ok with software ? is chennai and so on ..One more hour passes by ..........

The rest of the journey was more or less eventless .. i stood for a total of 5 and half hours ... then sqeezed as the 7th person on the bench ... half butt the baby in the cradle peed on me and on the guy sleeping on the floor ...military guys .. hit everyone around with their metal trunks and god knows what iron packages .... bastards .. they woke up everyone every 10 minutes .. they were moving the luggages all the time ... at 6 in the morning , everyone was awake , everyone was looking at each other .. everyone was trying to recollect the journey ... the baby was still snoring ... there was a new bunch of students on the luggage .. talking out loud about their syllabus ...and i was feeling like the protagonist in "Once Again" .. "am i alive ? am i awake ? " ...

Sunday, March 27, 2005



A long weekend begins. I wake up at 10 in the morning. I walk in and out of all the rooms in the house.

Para's room.
Nobody. Para and Shobi have made the most of a long weekend and have gone home. I brush my teeth using the only safe to use wash basin. The other one in the "Dining area" is clogged with my shaved beard...That happened a month ago...

Nihas's room.
Nobody. Ditto for Nihu. The GE corporate consultant has gone home to whack his little brother in the head and knock some sense into him. Meanwhile his T-shirts are at my mercy. A sly villainous look crosses my face. I look out of the window to the house across the street. Is the "madaama" up and about? Yes I am now reduced to these voyeuristic excesses. I need a girlfriend.

The bed in front of the TV looks slept in. Hell it always looks slept in. It is hot and muggy at 10 in the morning. I switch on the TV to VH1/SS music/DD Sports. Flicking through mildewed rock stars, vacuous VJ Shreya and Pakistani batting. Nothing interesting. I look across to see kelu spawled in the other bed by the door. He was back home around 12:30 am and somehow he always seems to operate on UK time. A weird permanent jet lag.

More like Hell's kitchen. I sniff the air for the smell of something rotting. Thankfully ever since the Dog has left, no body has really explored the limits of their limited culinary skills. So there are no rotten eggs or vegetables in the sink. I shake the can of water. Reassuringly enough there is plenty to last the 3 days for the both of us. Now I look for a tumbler or a relatively clean bottle for a drink. I rinse out an empty bottle of sprite and fill it up. It tastes tingly sweet. I like it.

Dog's room.
I head back to where I woke up. The Dog has been gone for a while now. Nihas will be gone soon. Then god knows who is next. I am incapable of serious thought and so I check the status of the downloads. We are milking the BSNL connections for all that it is worth. Great! Amores Perros has been downloaded. I run a quick preview. Uh subtitles. No problem 5 minutes and a net search later we are good to go.

I check up to see if Kelu is up. No he wont be until about 1 or something. Kelu wakes up on cue at 1 and brushes his teeth. Watches TV for an hour and goes back to sleep. In the meantime I manage to sneak of to Perumbur and back. Pakistan is still batting. Goddammit.

3:30 PM

I am back home and find Kelu's bed empty. As I walk to DOg's room I see and empty Pizza box on top of the waste paper basket. Kelu is brushing up on his C and SQL skills for $#@!&^. I decide to let him be as I grab the remains of the bottled poison by the computer.

9:00 PM

We go to an Andhra hotel and have some dinner. I am filled and every belch is bringing my dinner back to my tongue. Gross. We see some TV. Check some Blogs and eventually fall asleep again. Not before Kelu goes to office again.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


15:66 "So let your family leave during the last hours of the night, and you follow just behind them, and do not let any of you look back, and go to where you are commanded."

20:15 "The Hour is coming, I am nearly keeping it hidden, so that every soul will be recompensed with what is strived."

21:50 Those who reverence their Lord, even when unseen, and they are weary for the Hour.

25:12 But they have denied the Hour, and We have prepared for those who deny the Hour a flaming Fire.

19:77 Until they see what they have been promised, either the retribution or the Hour. Then they will know who is in a worst place and weaker in power.

18:36 And he went back into his garden while he had wronged himself. He said: "I do not think that this will ever perish. And I do not think that the Hour is coming. And if I am indeed returned to my Lord, then I will surely find even better things for me."

16:62 And if God were to immediately call mankind to account for their transgression, then He would not leave a single creature standing. But He delays them to a determined time; so when that time comes to any of them, they cannot delay it by one hour or advance it.

12:108 Are they secure against the coming of a cover of retribution from God, or that the Hour would come to them suddenly while they do not perceive?

7:33 And for every nation will be an allotted time; when their time is reached, they will not delay by one hour nor advance.

7:188 They ask you regarding the Hour: "When will be its time?" Say: "Its knowledge is with my Lord, none can reveal its coming except Him. It is heavy through the heavens and the Earth; it will not come to you except suddenly." They ask you, as if you are responsible for it! Say: "Its knowledge is with God, but most people do not know."

3:18 The patient, and the truthful, and the devout, and the givers, and the seekers of forgiveness in the late hours of the night.

34:31 Say: "You have an appointed day, which you cannot delay by one hour, nor advance."

43:62 And he was a lesson for the Hour. So have no doubt about it. And follow Me; this is a straight path.
43:67 Do they only wait for the Hour to come to them suddenly, while they do not perceive?
43:86 And blessed is the One who possesses the sovereignty of the heavens and the Earth, and everything between them; and with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, and to Him you will be returned.

54:2 The Hour draws near, and the moon is breached.
54:47 The Hour is their appointed time, and the Hour is far worse and more painful.79:42 They ask you about the Hour: "When is its appointed time?"

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Every Dog...

The wise man said, "Every dog has its day".

And so after 20 months of barking up the wrong tree,
A dog has fled to the garden city...
A place for him to be free.
A whole new territory...
To explore and pee.

In a month from now, another fat man shall depart.
After months of painful 'Files' and obnoxious farts.
He too shall be the garden city's part.
Finally getting a headstart,
Upsets somesoft's applecart.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Kudos to neo, who survived a 6 hour interview. I am awed.