Going from Mumbai to Pune was something I did very often. My family stayed there. I had to get up real early to get there.I got ready, packed my bags and went to the bus stop. I waited for the bus to come at its normal time of 5:40 am. Imagine the unearthly hour I needed to get up at. I did it anyway because in the end, I could visit my family and get my beauty sleep for 2 straight days and then… Ugh ! I didn’t want to think about “then”. The week would start again and so would work. Sometimes, I hated it and sometimes I loved it. This was one of those times I was not looking forward to the work week.
I was waiting at the bus stop alone and it was still dark out. Dark because it was winter and the sun did not rise till late. Did I mention I was cold too ? It was way too early, wasn’t it? I was cranky alright. Man! I needed a caffeine kick. I waited 12-15 minutes before I started panicking about missing my train. It was a long way to the station. I started to look out for autos. Once I saw one, I waved to catch his attention but he ignored me. After that, I just stood there for a while.
My usual autowallah was not seen. His name was “Babu bhai”. He was the sweetest auto wallah I had seen. He had a huge mustache which he constantly fashioned and usually took me to my destination without asking the extra fare.
Finally, I saw the light. Well,it was the light of an auto . “Bhaiya, Thane chalo ge” I asked him. The “autowallah” miraculously agreed to take me to the Thane railway station albeit for more money. You know how autowallahs are in India. If they are in the mood, they will take you to your destination else they ask for more money or flat-out refuse to take you. I was pissed off but I had no other choice to pay more. I counted the cash I had for the trip. With a sigh, I hoped that it would suffice for the train fare provided I didn’t buy food.
On-route, the autowallah wanted to fill gas and there was a long line of other autos. All those guys were staring at me. I got scared. Here, I was, all alone and it was way too dark. I imagined all the ghosts under my bed. I called up a friend of mine in case I died. Once we left from there, I was unsure of the route, so I told my friend on the phone the id of the autowallah in case he was a creep. I think he got scared and rudely told me to relax. Well, I couldn’t chill. I was mad as hell. I was rude back. He dropped me at the station at 7.00 am. I paid him and just ran with my huge luggage till the ticket counter. Looking at the long lines, I decided to go to a ticket counter at the other end of the station. I ran again.The queue was smaller here. Nonetheless, it was long enough to make me late. It makes me mad that people aren’t ready with their money once they approach the counter. They keep digging around for change. Ugh !! People. Move it already.
Eventually, I got my ticket and and reached the platform just in time for the train. It was 7:30 bang on. The train hadn’t reached yet. I was like “Wow ! Here I am on-time and the train is late”. Wonders never cease. The train lazily chugged into the station at 8:00 am. There was a mad rush of people by now all waiting to get into the train. There was a particular guy who was huge and he just pushed everyone aside and got into the train. I had to push my way through and eventually got on. I ran to look for a seat. I kept telling myself “All this running is good. Losing the pounds “.
My heart sank. There were no seats available since this train was coming from another town. There were already a lot of people on it. Finally I found one but there was a handkerchief on it. I just removed it and sat on it. Soon, what I thought was going to happen well happened. An irate guy started raining abuses on me in Marathi. I could gather that he was saying that the seat was his since he had his handkerchief on it. I pretended not to understand. But, he pestered on. Who the *beep* told him that putting his kerchief on the seat will ensure him a seat. He would have put it from the window and expected to get the seat. I was there first and that’s it. I started yelling back in Kannada, my mother tongue. I know absolutely no swear words. So, I had to make do with simply talking loudly with him and expecting him to back off. Finally, he did and went on to search for another seat. I proceeded to get myself a cup of tea which was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. I spent an uneventful journey home. That’s enough adventure for a day.
PS: This is a fictional story and has no resemblance to anyone living or dead. In case someone wants to know. The picture is from http://www.palaceonwheels-train.com/