So, now we are in Delhi. And quite far away from Patna but the ghosts haven’t left us alone. We have missed our train. And we need to reach Surat.
Well, here’s how…
The general Bogie tragedy
Since getting an AC/ sleeper bogie train ticket a day before is as good as winning a lottery in India, we know that our journey can’t possibly be comfortable.
That’s another Impossible that doesn’t say I’m possible.
We could go by flight but then that would have led us to Bankruptcy.
So, here’s what we do; we decide to go by general bogie. If you are an Indian, then this statement would have brought tears in your eyes. And if they haven’t then your heart is made of stone.
Fourteen hours journey in a general bogie; Oh! My sad little life.
But by this time god has softened a bit on us. When we boarded the train at New Delhi Station, it was pretty much empty and we got seats quite easily.
But General Bogie is so crowded that even if you are sitting comfortably on the seat, you can’t really be comfortable. And then there is always that one person around you who would make you consider the possibility of jumping off the train immediately over and over again.
And in our case, we had many.
- You-mess-with-us and you-are-dead family
These were a bunch of small vendors. They shipped goods from Delhi to Goa and sold it there. And hence they had a lot of luggage.
They entered the train and almost immediately we hear the heated altercation between the “meals on wheels” food vendor and them which was pretty much regarding their heavy luggage.
The meals guy wanted space for his own items and this luggage family were adamant to make a deal mostly because;
A. They couldn’t. They had so much luggage that even after stuffing them under the seats of various compartments ( wherever there was space) and filling up the whole entrance area, one could find the toilet door jammed with their remaining items.
B.They liked quarreling. They just did.
- I-would-make-your-ears-bleed woman.
This woman had a valid point in getting heated by the way the other woman beside her was sleeping. But what made this woman irritating was that she kept shouting and cursing even after the matter was long gone resolved.
She wouldn’t just shut up.
These are the most common kind of people you find in a general bogie. On their defense, I would just like to say that maybe they lose it because they must be pretty darn tired and irritated.
But then, these people are the exact reason why the other people around get pretty darn irritated and tired.
- I-would-marry-the-seat guy
I have seen people quarreling over seats before but this person, Oh! he takes it to another level. Not only did he quarrel over the seat, he also sat on the children who were sitting on the seat he wanted. He gets slapped, he gets cursed at but no! Nothing can stop him from getting that seat.
Ultimately, I think another guy offered him his seat and the matter got settled but the Academy award winning scene he created is going to stay on my mind forever.
From the early morning to the night, we kept sitting and sitting and sitting.
The hot winds continued to kiss our faces but what could we possibly do to stop it? Our skin was covered by thick layer of dust and sweat. We were hungry and thirsty and so freaking tired. We had spent our whole previous night on the station. I did not even have a novel that could give me refuge in its arms. I had already read the two novels that I had brought.
Traveling in train (that too in general bogie) is adventure in its own. And I don’t think I remember the numerous times I have travelled in AC bogies but I am going to remember this journey.
India is a huge country. And traveling from one place to another has always been quite a problematic issue. You want comfort, then you gotta loosen your pockets. You want to save money, you gotta loose comfort. The number of passengers is augmenting day by day. The number of trains we have is not enough.
And still somehow, Indian railways always manage to be at loss. The prices of the train tickets get hiked every year and traveling becomes costlier and costlier.
And I have no idea why I am writing all this.
My point being; I had a painful journey back home.
And it wasn’t over yet.
The train we boarded did not have a stoppage at Surat. And so we had this task of boarding another train from Vadodara to Surat.
And most probably again in general bogie.
And this time we knew that we wouldn’t find a single seat to sit. And with the kind of luggage we had, it could prove fatal.
So, did we make it to our home alive?
To find out whether I am writing this from heaven or not, you can read –
Patna Chronicles;Dawn of a new era -The fourth and the final part of Patna Chronicles series.
P.S.The general bogie tragedy has nothing to do with Patna but I still connect the city to it because if our train hadn’t got late then we would have had a comfortable journey back to home.