Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Nepal Tour Part 3 - The train journey - Palghat - Jhansi

Chuk chuk chuk the train arrived. Some among us was showing the stopping sign and was seen flattering that the train would not have stopped, had they not shown the stopping sign.

Got inside the train and scampered to find the seats allocated to us. Was eagerly looking around for our co passengers as we usually do during all our train journeys. Did not find any between our allocated seats. 10 of us in one compartment and rest in another but the whole gang cannot be separated,  since we all sat together in those 10 seats, just for that fun factor. 

We could feel the pull backwards as the train started to pull ahead and we heard a screeching sound coming from our own throats, a phenomenon resulted from the culmination of excitment in embarking the journey which we all were dreaming for the past few days.

Soon we were joined by some 3 or 4 passengers in our coupes. Two of them belonged to the fairer sex as a result of which most of our energy was concentrated in that direction.

One among this was a young woman and seemed like a truly serious type, because our efforts to make her speak all turned futile because of her one word answers. Nevertheless we were having fun, some songs were being aired and it seemed like no one want to sleep, but the Ticket examiner had other plans. He came and requested to switch off the lights and sleep so as not to disturb other fellow passengers. We obliged rather reluctantly and soon we were all sleeping peacefully with the rhythmic music offered by the wheels meeting rails, offering a background score.
That is the end of Day1 of this Journey

Day 2 - A lesson on Underprivileged

The sound of “chai valai” waked us all and suddenly the action began again. The lady next to us asked 3 of us sitting near her to take care of her belongings while she went for brushing her teeth and we duly obliged. This support to her made her talk to us more and soon she was opening up her story, a story which made us the listeners truly felt how lucky we all were. She was only 18 years of age and was travelling to Delhi to her work place. She is a tailor there with a paltry salary and the factory where she works offers her leave once in 3years and that too for 10 days. She was going back after her first vacation ever since she joined her at the age of 15.  Once we heard her story the perception towards that lady changed to that of a respect mode even though she was a good 3 years younger to us.

We had to spend that whole day in train. But we were not complaining, since we had lot of things to do even though we were travelling through the barren lands of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, everything seemed beautiful, even the hot and humid climate was not bothering us since we were playing cards, we were playing dumpsharads, we were singing songs with anthakshari competition being the favourite, we were making fun of each other, we were creating new stories about each other, we were discussing about the beauties back in college, we were discussing about our lecturers, we were discussing about what to expect of our future partner and a hell lot of other things. At this age there are lot of things to dream about and for discussing dreams, imagination is only the limit and when the number of participants in the discussion increases, it is something which is sure to make one laugh.  We were advised by experienced people travelling through these parts of India that we should shut the windows down while travelling through remote villages, since people especially children have a habit of throwing stones at the passing train, which they think of as a fun activity, but quite dangerous to the persons on board.

Another day spent in train, during which time, we laid out foot in different stations just to boast that we have been to so many places even though our stay there is a matter of just 2 minutes.

One more night to go in this train. We have to alight tomorrow at Jhansi, from where we have to switch the train. Just like the previous day our activities prolonged our sleep. By this time our staff representative also was in full mood and he completely joined hands with us in all our activities. Lucky that we got such a staff to accompany us.

It was about 12 in the night when the lights were switched off and we started snoring our way to the most easiest job on earth. I felt someone is shaking me up and I somehow managed to get up from the deep sleep only to see the Delhi bound lady trembling in front of me and asking me for help.

She told me that someone tried to attack her when she went to the bathroom and she is fearing that he will attack again. I though of calling up my friends but then decided to wait, but my sleep was gone. I just had a look towards the end where the bathroom was housed. No one could be seen there. I asked the lady to sleep in my berth and I went to sleep in hers. But I could not sleep because I felt like the attacker could come any time. But nothing happened. Just I lost my sleep and I was made to think about her plight. Got up early in the morning and discussed about this with my friends who were sleeping near me. This lady soon came near us and thanked for helping her out. To a question on what will happen after we alight, she replied that fate has many things in store for her, if she is destinied to be attacked then let it happen. We were dumpstruck by this statement. A statement made by a girl in her teens and seems to have lost hope in everything. She seemed to be just going through the notions of life. The train soon came to a halt at the Jhansi station. We were discussing on how to help her. But found out that nothing seemed practical.

At Jhansi

We alighted at Jhansi on Day 3 of our tour. We could see the girl waving hands bidding good bye to us., when we were standing on the platform of Jhansi,  the land of one of the most bold woman - Jhansi Ki Rani.   Soon the lady in train faded into the memory and we were waiting for the next train to arrive which was schedule to arrive here at 2pm. That train will take us to Gorakhpur, from where we will embark on a bus journey to Kathmandu.

The waiting at Jhansi was pretty eventless and some of us caught some good sleep, while some went out of the railway station to have a stroll in Jhansi town and also to get a glimpse of the statue of the great warrior, Jhansi ki Rani (Queen of Jhansi). We also stocked a lot of pepsi bottles, since water seems to be a rarity in this place and we started using Pepsi for even washing our face.

Part 4 - Another Side of Life : Jhansi - Gorakhpur

Part 1 - The plan

Part 2 - The Approvals

Part 3 - The Journey begins - Palghat - Jhansi

Part 4 - Another side of Life - Jhansi - Gorakhpur 
Part 5 - The Himalayan Cruise: Gorakhpur - Kathmandu Bus Trip 

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