(Dated 3rd Nov 09)
Yesterday I went to Kollam.
I had nothing against Kollam and I had nothing against trains – till yesterday.
In fact I used to love trains – to sit in the aisle seat, and let all the wind hit my face, to try to catch up with the fast-passing trees and houses and people I see outside, to look way down the depths of the rivers and ponds on the way. Well all that is history now!
I am a new person. I declare myself a life-time train-hater. My duties include putting my tongue out and making faces at every train I see, yelling loudly to not hear any train whenever one passes, and other things which I have to think of.
The history now.
Train 1. From Trivandrum to Kollam. You take ticket, you get in, you sit down, you show the TTR your ticket. And instead of a friendly smile and sign, what does he do? He says “290 bucks”. “Eh what?”
“You paid 25 bucks and you are sitting in reservation class. That will cost you 290 bucks.”
Everyone is now looking at me. Their eyes said: “This girl has got in without paying money? Thief girl!”
I close eyes and say “Adra Cadabra melt”. I open my eyes. Darn I am still solid. I look for the nearest window. No use, I couldn’t jump. The 290-man is still saying 290. “Come here” he says and asks me out of the compartment. Sheesh, it was ultimate naanakedu, embarrassment, humiliation – call what you may. I just want to disappear as I walk away, not looking at anyone.
Train 2. Journey back to Tvm. I find the last compartment this time (being told that is usually the 25-bucks-one), even though I am running late. I find that this one is blocked from the others and the seats are all taken. Sigh 1.5 hours of standing, but it had to be better than humiliation. Hah indeed! Comes the TTR again. Why were these people born! It seems I have climbed to a compartment reserved exclusively for the disabled. It seems it is criminal for anyone else to be there. I could hear them questioning, rebuking and cursing another traveler in typical police curses. This is scary. My turn would soon come. Some ladies who seem to be in a similar predicament, come to me. They understand I climbed not knowing anything. They say “We are all getting down at Varkala. Mole, you too get down there and run to the next compartment ok?”
So we execute Operation Escape@Varkala. They hide me between them, giving me cover and I run as soon as I get out.
You would think that’s the end to a troublesome day. But there is more. Auto1. From railway station to home. I wave at one, it stops, I get in. The policeman who is in charge of the autos at the station suddenly stops this one. “Take it away” he says. He then sees me and barks “You – get out. Hah I said get out! (irangan, irangana paranje)”.
I didn’t understand what the problem was. I get out. Another lady comes running from somewhere, jumps into the auto and the driver takes off in full speed. I am left staring at nothing! Luckily, this world is blessed with kind ladies. This time a younger one in an auto stops, seeing the troubled me. She offers me lift and asks why I was asked to get out of the other auto. It must have appeared I was some suspicious character!
I don’t know what it was that went wrong with my “stars” yesterday. But I am telling them to not ever go to that position again!
A dedicated train-hater
(I know the auto-incident too had something to do with trains! It must have been the smell of trains from the station!)