A lil background:
I have never been to Bombay (yes, yes, Mumbai) in 22 years of my existence. Now, I am not really an outdoor person who travels a lot, but even so, I would like to see at least the 4 big metros in India. Since my brother is currently in Mumbai (SPJIMR) and couple of my friends (one of them from college, the other from work) stay in Pune and we had a 3 day weekend coming up, I finally decided to make a trip both to Pune and Mumbai. Also, since I currently stay in Mangalore, it takes 16-18 hours by train to Bombay, which I can manage (Although travelling alone, can be both boring and difficult. Esp when you have to take a leak and can’t ask anyone to take care of your bag for you. For all you know, when you come back, both the person and the bag will not be found. It is better to be paranoid about such things, than to trust people and end up on a train alone, with your belongings long gone. Trust me, trust no one 😉 )
Well, now, 18th also happened to be my birthday. Unfortunately, tickets were not available on 17th or 19th and I had to take this. I did have to go to office for the morning half. Now, I few things to do before leaving and this is where things get interesting.
The open bag and almost making it to the train
I made it early to office and finished up on some work I had. My train was at 12:50 and I live 20 minutes away from my office and another 15 minutes from the railway station.
I was trying to wind up and leave by 12:00, when all of a sudden all the people in my level ( floor, if you like it) decide to sing me a birthday song. Well, now I am really flattered (and I think it was evident with the ear to ear smile I was giving.), but I was also in a hurry. Somehow, managed to leave by 12:15. Not good. Not good at all.
I reach the bus stand at 12:25. I need to go home from here, pick my bag and reach the railway station. Now, this is when my brain deserts me. Instead of taking an auto, I decide to walk. Can you believe it ? I reach home at 12:30 and leave home by 12:35. This is going to be cutting it real close. In 15 minutes my train will be on its way to Bombay and I might not be on it.
I realize that walking is going to get me nowhere and start running. I am 5 minutes away from the station (by rough estimate of course), with some 3 minutes remaining to 12:50, when an auto guy whistles and slows the auto near me. Man, is this guy rubbing it in ? I know I should have taken an auto, but I don’t need one now. I shake my head violently in his direction without really looking at him, but this guy won’t let go.
Finally I give him an annoyed look and he points at my backpack and he is gone. I remove my backpack and see that it is wide open. Holy shit!! This is all I need right now. Thankfully, my backpack is really packed to caapacity. So, I don’t think anything fell out. I don’t have time to check anyway. I just look in the direction I came from, and decide that’s enough. What more can I do ? Retrace my path back home and miss the train for sure, when there was only a 70% chance I’ll miss it ? 🙂
So I fasten the zipper of the bag and continue running. I reach the station at 12:51. Great, now, I just have to find out which platform the train is on, get to that platform and hope that the train is travelling slow enough for me to board a running train. Awesome!!
Well, this is when my luck turns. The train is just starting on the first platform, and without missing a beat, I go right into whichever coach is in front of me. I can walk to my coach from within the train later. After boarding the train, I did check with a couple of people, if it was the right train and they gave me the thumbs up. Phew!! That was close. Now to 16 hours of boring train travel.
The remainder of the journey
Matthew Reilly’s Ice Station was a pretty good read on the train. ( I had earlier read Contest and liked it quite a bit). The journey was pretty scenic. This train travels really close to the west coast and you can see ocean in quite a few places, along the way. Also, the dal vada on the train was pretty ok. It’s a pity that I didn’t get any decent lunch though. All I had was a bread omelette and a samosa 😦
A few snaps