Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Co-Passengers - What a Mixed Lot!

I enjoy travelling alone on long distance train journeys … after a hectic college schedule (now office schedule) chilling on the upper berth with a novel and dozing off reading it is something which signifies the ultimate rest for me…

It is fun to reminisce about the various co-passengers I have had… some gud, some plain boring… an 18+ hr train journey Is livened up by these specimens!

My journey from Ernakulam to Hyderabad for my MBA project is probably my longest journey alone till date. Saddled on berth 72 in a non AC coach, I knew the journey was going to be tiresome… but what I had not bargained for was a bunch of rowdy bankers off on a department holiday to Hyd. In the evening; the rowdies began singing round after round of crazy malayalam songs drinking what looked like Limca from a bottle, which later turned out to be ‘desi daru’… I tried my level best to ignore the melee and quietly had my dinner. Then I saw the pantry guys coming with cups of milk. I bought a cup…

“Hey, don’t drink that milk, that is Camel Milk!” shouted one of the rowdies to me…!

Needless to say, I paid them a deaf ear, drank the milk n dozed off. I was to reach Secunderabad only at noon n hence looked forward to sleeping till 10… little did I know that I would not be allowed my full beauty sleep!

Come morning, I was rudely awakened by someone pushing me… yes, the rowdies! Guess, what?

“Are u ok? It is 8 now, since u dint get up we wondered if something happened to u, thanks to drinking that Camel Milk!”, the one waking me up explained.

Of course, I was royally put off… My sleep disturbed, I had no option but to count hours till Secunderabad… God! Wasn’t I glad when the awful journey ended!

This April travelling from Mumbai to my home town alone, I had a different experience with co-passengers. Just in after a particularly stressful week in office, I was looking forward to the trip. I went up to sleep. The pantry guy came around just then n I ordered a bread omlette for breakfast the next day. I also warned him that I would be asleep and he will have to wake me up and give me my breakfast. He agreed n left.

The next morning I woke at well past 9. I realized that the pantry guy has not woken me up and I have to go without breakfast. It is then that a co-passenger uncle came up to me with my bread omlette…

“We thought u looked tired n in need of sleep, so we dint let the pantry guy wake u up and instead, bought ur breakfast for u!”, he said.

I was touched by the thoughtfulness of my co-passengers… it was amazing to see people I was meeting for the first time show so much concern…

Kids can sometimes be a real pain to travel with. I remember once a bunch of kids where being exhorted to play ‘Hanuman’ by their parents… making loud noises and jumping here n there, the kids were trying to impersonate Hanuman. Of course, the plight of their co-passengers who had to bear the noise and nonsense all night was not their concern, was it?

And then there was the girl who came up to me in my last year’s train journey and enquired plaintively:

“When will you leave? Leave soon, I need ur seat so my whole family can sit together!”, she stated.

I have always felt it unnerving to open my eyes in the morning in a train and see unfamiliar faces around me. Whenever I wake up in the train imagining myself to be looking like a wreck I am faced with co-travelers waving cheery good mornings!

I sometimes wonder how boring and long my train trips would be if not for this continuous study in human nature… here’s looking forward to more trips and more vignettes with co-passengers!

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At 4:05 AM , Blogger mythalez said...

nice anecdotes :)

such train journeys make me feel nostalgic now ..

At 8:21 AM , Blogger Adarsh A. Varghese said...

:) Very real and good writing!

At 12:44 AM , Blogger NiShA said...

ha ha....surely sumtimes observing people is the best way to pass ur time and entertain urself...u reminded me too of ma train journey after my SSc exams...i too had a rough time with some guys...i still cant forget their rendition of KAHO naa pyaar hain dat too with a heavy mallu accent...Needless to say i was laughing all the while....

At 11:44 AM , Blogger RAY GEORGE said...

So did u really drink camel milma ? ha ha ha :) nice one


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