Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nepal Tour: Part 4 – Another side of Life – (Jhansi – Gorakhpur)


The train which we were waiting for has arrived. It was for the first time we were going to travel in a train which runs through central India and part of North Eastern railway.

Armed with reserved berth tickets which entitiles us for a full seat for sleeping, we entered the train. We were surprised to see that seats allotted to us were already occupied. We doubted whether we entered the wrong coach. Soon ticket examiner arrived. He checked the tickets and was about to go when we asked him whether we are in the right coact to which he said yes. When we complained about the inhabitants of our seat, his response was to find another vacant seat and sit there. We were rather surprised. Somehow found some place to sit.

The compartments were outright dirty. People were travelling with goats, vegetables, plants and none of them seemed to have seen water for the past one year. The foul smell emanating from the bathrooms was horrible and we could sense that we are not in for a comfortable journey for the next 9 hours.

Somehow we started getting used to the foul smell and the ambience and were soon getting back to the mood. Soon the train stopped in one of the major stations and we could see people crowding up near the windows for buying water. Yes I said it correctly, for BUYING WATER. One glass of water costs Rs. 2/-. We alighted at the station to see this sight. From the station we felt as if, the train is a refugee camp, with the inmates putting there hands out through the window grills for water. The water suppliers will take the cash and put the glass in that hand.

We just had a look around and agosh one sight made us really sigh in awe. We could see the water being collected from a nearby lake in buckets and being carried to the station for supplying. This lake could easily be mistaken for a sewage drain and we could see lot of cattle in that water. It is for this water, these people are dying for and paying money!!

We were also very thirsty but could not drink or eat anything because of these sightings. Sighting of another side of life. Sighting of another India, diversity of which is unmatched by any other country. Life in this part of the country also goes on smoothly and people are content having quenched their thirst.

The train again started and one local guy who seemed to be well dressed came and sat near us. Two of us smiled to him and he smiled back. Using all our knowledge in Hindi we tried to pick up a conversation with him and soon we were exchanging details and from him. We tried to understand the culture here. We explained to him about our state in the southern most part of India of which he had only heard of. Somehow our Hindi improved quite a lot during this conversation and we could feel a sense of excitement when we were eagerly telling him about our culture, festivals especially Onam and he was eager to know more. From him we understood that most of the people in this part of the country do not even take tickets for the train journey and ticket examiners won't do anything to prevent that, since ticket less travellers easily outnumbers those who travel with tickets.

It seems that during each phase of our journey we are learning something which has more to do with the reality of life which we can never learn from our classrooms, which we can never read from any of the books, but which has to be experienced to understand. The beauty of travelling!!!!

Even though the journey was horrible, it was a real experience. We were not able to use the bathrooms at all. Pepsi was used to wash our face and also for quenching our thirst. None of us could sleep really well the whole night and soon the train rolled to Gorakhpur railway station. When we told our local friend that we are going to Gorakhpur and we will reach the station at 2am in the morning, he warned about the Goons in that place. This warning had all of us in arms and discussing a strategy to adopt when we alight at Gorakhpur. So that was end to the most horrible train journey of our life and we were smelling bad too.

The Bus Finding (Day 4 early morning)



We are now at the Gorakhpur railway station, day 4 of our journey. The platform was really long for we were not able to see where it ends. Wonder whether it holds any record of sorts for this. Time was 3am in the morning and the look and feel of the people around us made a little scary as the guy whom we befriended in the train had told us that people settles any quarrels with knife and gun only. We were trying to show a bold face. Our next aim is to find our bus which has come all the way from Delhi for taking us to Kathmandu.

We came out of the railway station. Soon lot of rickshaw wallahs approached us. All of them had cuts and bruises in their face. One of the rickshaw wallahs approached "Appox" and asked something which sounded like Engineering College. He thought the rickshaw wallah was asking whether we came from some engineering college. He was happy that he found the right person and he gave his luggage to this guy and called all of us. We also thought that for a change Appox did something sensible and ran towards him only to find that his bag was with the rickshaw wallah and he was asking Appox to get inside. Somehow the Hindi speaking experts among us especially "PisPisPistu" talked with the rickshaw wallah and managed to get the bag back. Soon Appox got an earful for his “sensible” act.

Again our search for the bus continued. Three of our friends went outside in search of the bus and others waited near the gate. Meanwhile a heavily built man approached us and asked where we want to go. His figure matched that of goons seen in Hindi movies and we all were scared. He was carrying some kind of a weapon in his hand tooo. One among us was bold enough to tell that we are going to Kathmandu. He told that he will arrange a bus soon and not to go in any other bus and disappeared in the dark. Ghosh !! does it sound like a warning.? Suddenly we understood how timid we are. All of us were silent and looking at each other. Again PisPisPistu came to rescue. He had managed to contact the Delhi office by phone and he found out our bus tooo. We ran towards the bus with all our belongings and also holding our dear life. When we reached near the bus, the same goon was standing there.


What is going to happen? Who is gonna beaten up first? Twenty two youths, all in their early twenties who thought, were synonym of angry young men were not speaking at all. The goon asked why we want to go in this particular bus and he asked us to take the bus which he will arrange. Somehow the driver of the bus convinced him about the prebooked bus and the tour package and we were relieved to see him back off in the dark.

At last we entered the bus. And we felt as if we reached home. This place even though looked nasty may not be that bad. The impressions given by the guy, the time of the day, the look of the people and most importantly an unknown land might have given us a wrong perception about this place. Anyway we were much relieved when the bus started rolling. So now our next destination is KATHMANDU and more importantly we are going to cross the border of India by road for the first time in our life.

Part 5 - The Himalayan Cruise - Gorakhpur - Kathmandu Bus Trip (Click to read).



The story so far: (Click to read)

Part 1 - The plan

Part 2 - The Approvals

Part 3 - The Journey begins - Palghat - Jhansi

Part 4 - Another side of Life - Jhansi - Gorakhpur

2 comments:

Sorcerer said...

wow!! I love reading the travel blogs
its so awesome :)

wonderfully done!

subu.ps said...

thanks!! diabolical blogger !!

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