My Kinda Travelogue – Part 1
Posted by AtPeace on October 15, 2005
The auto screeched to a stop to let the bus pass by. As I watched the volvo ambling across carrying loads of people happily reclining in it, there was a familiar ache in the heart – the yearning to travel. *sigh* When was the last time I went on a tour? I think back… Not counting the US trip, well, I think we last went in the beginning of March to Coorg. What a trip that was! Great place and lovely company… really wish we guys can go again somewhere. *sigh* Kerala, probably… Would love to go there again… I smile involuntarily as I begin reminiscing about my past tours… there are too many memorable experiences… in fact, every one of them was memorable in a way. And there is something I can never forget about every single trip I have ever been on in my life – fights, reconciliations, tears, laughter, friendships being sworn, relationships lying shattered, lonely hearts, broken hearts, kenjals, konjals, ottals, the songs, the dances… *sigh* someday, I’d write them all down.
However, for some vague reason (maybe it’s because this one’s not got much of an emotional value to it), I’m now going to write about one relatively recent trip that my team went on. To attend Chandru’s wedding in Trichy last year. (Only Deepti, Sang and I belonged to the same team, so the rest of my gang – Karthik, Prasanna, Muthu etc – won’t figure in this story. And our protagonist Prince is a teammate.) Hmmm… this is a weird story… in the sense that the story is not about the wedding or our visit to Mukkombu or Srirangam… it’s the travel – the train journey – that I am going to relate now.
(Aaaahhhh…exactly when I was composing this, a team-mate just shared photos of his recent trip to kerala… Athirampalli falls, Chotanikkarai temple, Guruvayur, Malampuzha dam, Trissur… aahhh… mixed memories begin to flood me … of a college tour… of a tour with office makkal… and, of a trip with my parents… *sigghhh* I guess I’d get back to my story.)
Let me start where it ought to be started – the ‘To’ journey. The tickets to and from Trichy were both bought by Prince and Nanda, as Prince had taken it upon himself to organize the trip. I won’t elaborate on the train journey to Trichy, lest I take up too much space. Suffice to say that Deeps and Sang both missed the train…. hehe. Deeps arrived at the Egmore station exactly as the train took off and Sang was struck in a traffic signal in Teynampet! (Deeps and I are like experts at missing trains and flights… more details some other time!) Ultimately, the two girls went to koyambedu and got a bus instead.
Apart from this the trip went without any hitches – err, if you ignore the fact that we went late to Chandru’s wedding the next morning. Later in the day, we went to Mukkombu dam and then on to Srirangam. The Srirangam trip was because our manager stayed there and had invited us home for dinner. (OC saapadu ache, pogama iruka mudiyuma?) And we had planned on taking our train from the Srirangam station.
So, after a peaceful dinner at our manager’s place, we reached the station arnd 10-15 mins ahead of time. The station was deserted. Samatha, we walked over to the place where our coach was supposed to stop and waited. Soon after, the train rolled in to the station, exactly on time.
Our coach doors had been locked from the inside and after someone banged the doors, some kindred soul let us in. After the entire gang was safely inside the train with the luggage, we went over to find our berths. The entire compartment was asleep, except for a few people we had rudely awakened by the door-banging. Behold our surprise when we discovered people sleeping on what were rightfully our berths. Nanda spared no efforts in waking up people sleeping on our berths. Rudely awakened from their slumber and questioned, one guy irritatedly told us that he had a confirmed berth. (Trichy-lerndhu train Srirangam varradhukulla TTR vandhu enga berths-a innorutharuku allot panna chance-e illaye, I wondered). Another occupant of ‘our’ berth said that they had been travelling from Thanjavur. (Huh? I thought Rockfort was from Trichy. Mathitangala?) I was absolutely confused and as we resolved to find the TTR, people went back to sleep. What train were we on? I asked a guy sitting, watching the proceedings with an amused eye. ‘Rockfort Express’. ‘Thanjavur-lerndhu varudhu nu solranga..?’, ‘Amaam, idhu special train.’ Hmmm… fine… or was it? It still didn’t seem to explain anything. Prince and Prasath had meanwhile gone over to the next compartment trying to solve the mystery.
As we clamoured with our luggage trying to move near the doors (basically out of the way), I saw Prasath coming over to this compartment, walking thru that connector between compartments. ‘Madhu, idhu Rockfort dhan, aana namma Rockfort illa’. ‘What?’ – didn’t make any sense to me. As he came closer, he lowered his voice and repeated ‘idhu Rockfort express dhan, aana…’. Aana enna-nu I didn’t get a chance to know, as the rest of his sentence was drowned in an extremely loud hissing noise. Though I have never really heard this particular noise so loudly or from such close quarters, I instantly knew what had happened.
Prince had pulled the chain.
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