If this has got you thinking in any way that I am going to compare Bihar with California, then just grab a gun and kill me. Ping me on facebook and I will give you my full address and the right time when you can break into my house and do the honors. I will leave the doors open. And my last wish probably will be to let me listen to Coldplay. Any of their songs will do, but if you play the songs of Ghost stories then I will be grateful (I haven’t got enough of that album).
But apart from discussing my murder and last wishes plans, I have a lot to tell you and one blog post is not going to be enough. So, this is part one of my PATNA CHRONICLES series – PATNA CHRONICLES; The battle begins. And it is going to about (as the title suggests) this city named Patna.
So, lets get started!
Patna is one of the most ancient cities of India and it is a great city to remember but for all the wrong reasons…
Which, by the way, are…
What gives me right to bitch about this city is the fact that I have been there and secretly found it amazing as well. Non-Biharis and Biharis but Never-been-to-Bihar Biharis are, in my opinion, simply not eligible to comment about this state. And the reason behind this is that their opinions are quite ridiculously based on stereotypes and their own imaginations.So, if this post hurts anyone in anyway (which I don’t think it should) then, don’t spit on me and show me how dearly you love your motherland. We are on the same page; I am just a little less of a patriot. But I love this place in my own way.)
Patna and the traffic tragedy
We have got a train that departs at seven in the evening and we reached Patna at around 3.
Well, we ALMOST reached Patna around three.
Oh! The difference one small little word can make!
Patna has been blessed by the great river -Ganga. It embraces it like a mother meeting her son after a long long time. And who wouldn’t appreciate that! This river pumps blood into this city. But this great river has a great bridge over it named Gandhi Setu. And this bridge, built over one of the greatest rivers of the world, sadly is the greatest tragedy that could ever befall on the face of humanity.
It was designed by the same person who built Guantanamo Bay.
I am telling you, it is indeed that torturous.We were stuck there for three freaking hours and that too because we were in luck. I am not afraid of death anymore but I am afraid of bad luck. Because if good luck means those three and the half hours then I can’t even imagine what bad luck can be!
When I called Gandhi Setu Bridge great, I wasn’t just using the adjective as sarcasm. It once indeed used to be the longest bridge in Asia. It is 5.5 km long! You don’t come across a bridge this long quite often! Though yes, nowadays, it suffers through a horrible fate. It is supposed to be a two way bridge and at some point it cease to be one because you know one of its incoming lane is a little broken. And by a little broken, I mean like a whole part of bridge is missing there. And that is where the tragedy befalls. Obviously.
The two way becomes one way. And what we see all the time is a huge, huge traffic Jam.
I have grown up in a city of flyovers and broad roads. I had never known in my life what real traffic jam was. And now do I not know it!
Traffic and roads are one of the major problems in Patna. Not just in Patna, but in whole Bihar. Roads are the lifelines of economy.
A city needs good roads.
A village needs good roads.
A village and a city need a good road in between them. That is an absolute necessity.
Unless and until a good network of roads exists how a state can ever make progress!
In Bihar you don’t need to look out for thieves or murderers or any other criminals. These are not the real threat. In Bihar people can be quite friendly and polite. And the probability is quite high that they will treat you good. What you really need to fear once you come here is; Means of transport. The time ceases to exist here. Minutes will turn into hours.
An hour journey could be quadrupled. And that is quite normal. You may not come here with money but you have to come here with a lot of time.
The traffic tragedy on Gandhi Setu Bridge is an everyday issue. And it will continue to be one until it is repaired or the other bridge is completed. Till then every time you happen to cross Gandhi Setu, I just hope you are not in car but just taking a casual walk. But of course, if you are sitting inside a well air conditioned car and have your IPods on then you are good to go. In my case the situation was not exactly the same so yeah, the very name of the bridge still brings me nightmares.
To conclude-In the end, we had to throw ourselves out of the car, grab our stuff, go down and walk over to the other road and catch an auto.
Patna; The traffic tragedy returns
So, okay its 6:50 already and our train is set to depart on 7:15.
We have left the car and we are inside an auto.And guess what follows us here as well!
Of course, the traffic didn’t end at the Gandhi Setu Bridge.
Its vicious web was spread all over the city. We are running and running but Oh! In a web spun so well how could you ever escape!The adrenaline level has started to get a little high inside our bodies but the traffic continues to torture us very much like the way Bellatrix tortured Hermione. Only this time there were no forbidden spells but sweet symphony of Horns and fragrance of Carbon mono/dioxide.
We are silently praying and though the traffic continues to give us whiplashes, I still know that somehow we will make it to station in time. Some things you just know.
And hell, did we not MAKE IT IN TIME!
Patna; The traffic tragedy v/s The train tragedy
As it turned out, we did not just make it in time; we made it too early in time!
When we reached the station, a pleasant surprise was waiting right there with its arm wide open, ready to greet us with a compassionate irony and sarcasm.
Our train was five freaking hours late.
And that is how fate makes fun of you. The bloody bullies.
The train tragedy in Bihar is ancient.
It’s the heart and soul of Bihar.
You boarded a train and it wasn’t even a single freaking hour late?
Then your “here” is not Bihar Dude! There is no way it could be Bihar! That is one impossible that can never say I’m possible.
So, the list of what you should look out for in Bihar is updated with one more thing;
Trains! They will make fun of your watches in such a horrible way that your watch will commit suicide.
(For the college freshman who happens to read this; you ask what Ragging is. ^That my friend is the ragging which should be illegal.)
And even though we made it to a happy ending, in the end, it turned to be a tragic one anyway.
Patna: The Traffic Tragedy just got served and the train tragedy rules all over the Bihar.
So, we have to reach Surat from Patna. But we don’t have a direct train. We have to go Delhi from Patna. And from Delhi we were supposed to board another train to Surat.
There was eight hour margin between the two trains and we had thought that that would be quite sufficient.
But fate was rolling on the floor laughing at us.
Our Patna to Delhi train was already five hours late. But we had hoped that it will cover during the night because trains like Gareeb rath get preferences and generally they are not delayed.
And even if they are, it is never more than two or three hours.
But of course, we were proved wrong.
In the end, our train wasn’t just 5 hours late, it was 12 fucking hours late.
While booking the tickets, could anyone see that coming?
But, oh, yes, you can. When you are talking about Bihar, you totally can. And now I have learnt that quite remarkably well.
So, we couldn’t board on our Delhi to Surat train, because at the time it departed, our train was cradling us in a most torturous way far far away.
So, you might ask at this point that how did I get to Surat ultimately?
Well, that’s another story that deserves another blog post and here it is to quench your curiosity; Patna Chronicles-the battle continues.
Till then let’s end it here and end it like old times.
And by old times, I mean this-
So, kids what was the moral of this story?
The moral of the story was-
Patna is a sweet little Hotel California.
“You can check in anytime you want but you can never leave”
And if you do try to check out, then ghosts follow you and haunt you until you are shit scared and shit tired and you are crying your heart out- “ I JUST WANT TO GET HOME!! LEAVE ME ALONE!”
Trust me, I have seen those ghosts.
P.S. To read the next part of the series you may click here; Patna chronicles-the pre-battle scenario.
3 thoughts on “Patna, the Hotel California”
Writing about Bihar,May i know where r u from?
I am from Bihar, of course.
Well, I m from bihar too but I happen to disagree with u that trains r by default late in bihar. I have travelled a lot through trains and I have boarded many times a right timed train in bihar. Wat I have observed is that bihar bound trains r late. Other trains r given preference over bihar bound trains. Well, observations might differ person to person but this narrative of urs is quite intriguing…