Travelling by train is not only moving from one destination to another, but the opportunity to meet many like minded people-who prefer using the Indian Railways, (rather than aeroplanes that get you so quickly across that you hardly have time to even know your neighbour) spending hours together in the company of strangers….on the way making friends, sharing the odd light moment, dining together as we pass thru endless tunnels, station to station….as we move along! I would say the smartest of India’s population travel by the railways, and why not? Its affordable, its comfortable and most times than not it gets you on time to your destination.
I have had my fun-moments when it comes to travelling, be it at luxury in the 2AC/3AC compartments or the Sleeper section or even in the extreme cases of travelling on urgent-basis with a general ticket in hand into a JAM PACKED ‘GENERAL COMPARTMENT’ they do not call it jam-packed for anything-have a look in next time you are at a station, you may well find me in one of them, if not already in, trying to get in! In India it is all about adjustments, trying to fit it the extraa two or three for the place of one!
What does one do then on a journey? read a lot of books maybe! for the older folk…catch up on some extra sleep! and for youngsters like you and me, improve our communicative skills especially if there is a pretty girl sitting by our side or on opposite side. I can guarantee you she would not be travelling alone, she’d probably be with her dad or uncle or brother. Never mind the company, a train journey gives us ample of opportunities to strike a conversation, even if we arn’t the best of starters atleast we do not quit trying…..and everyone isn’t as lucky as a Chetan Bhagat, where on one of his journeys he meets a girl-she tells him a story and he publishes a book! Not bad! Some people have to work harder than that….I know of a couple of friends who fell in love on a train journey (if not mistaken it was on a journey to mumbai 12/13 hrs from Goa) ‘Love’ doesn’t really require much time to develop these days? does it? hmmmm, well I haven’t been all that lucky, but I did come fairly close to what I could call ‘the start of something…………………..
Go ahead and have a read…………..
It was on a journey to Mumbai, (I loved travelling to Mumbai for holidays) A family of 4 (mum,dad, brother and sister) were travelling back from Goa after the vacations-as we were all sitting in the same compartment, I was as usual caught up reading, opposite me the family of which the mother was very friendly (as she was talking to everybody around), dad the serious type, son engaged in deep sleep and the daughter looking outside the window admiring nature. She would be around my age…..well ok! maybe 4-5 years younger, she did not look so – nobody would tell the difference! I thought ‘perfect entry; friendly mother….lets get talking’ and so I did…..
S: Hi aunty, would you happen to know what time the train reaches V.T station (like i wouldn’t have checked the timings before!)
A. maybe around 6 in the morning, she turns to her husband to confirm-he nods his head….wow! hez one serious guy!
A: are you staying at V.T?
S : no aunty, im just going for holidays to mumbai. are you’ll also getting down at V.T station?
A: we are getting down at dadar, we have to proceed from there to kandivali (ok! i know where they stay) my daughters college is starting tomorrow so we had to come back. (bingo! her daughter is in college….. moms do talk a lot)
S: ok, thats nice.
A: what do u do? are u studying in Goa?
S: I am working in goa, I am into real estate-I head the operations in south goa (i actually do not do that, i looked after sales and marketing. u have to use the right jargon to impress people sometimes)
A:good, thats a good line you go into. (little did i know the father was over hearing our little conversation…and he butts in!)
U: what are the current rates of property in south goa? land? (did i really have to open my mouth about work?!)
S: it depends uncle, the area that you wish to purchase
U: what about benaulim?colva that side?
S: around 10,000/- per sqmtr …. (it was getting kinda boring! work! i thought i was taking a vacation from work!…tho i always carried my visiting cards) I gave him one .. just as he was about to ask the next question …. his wife interrupted!
A: 2 U: stop asking him so many questions john, call him up when he gets back to work…let him enjoy his holiday. (guess she saw the look on my face and understood)
U: my husband is always like that, don’t mind …..
S: its ok aunty, i did not mind at all ( i would have thrown the guy out if he carried on with his questions)
(just then the daughter comes to her mom, asking for something to eat)
A: 2 D: sophia this is……i forgot to ask your name!
S: savio….savio paes
A: savio yes… this is my daughter sophia.
S: 2 Sp: hi, how are you … (she smiles) she has a beautiful smile by the way. …. i smiled 🙂
well if you think we started talking …no we didn’t… the mother hadn’t finished as yet……
A: are you the only son? what do your parents do?
S: I have a sister, I live with my parents in margao
A: where in margao? we also have a house in margao, at aquem
S: we are not far then, i stay behind grace church
A: we stay very close to carmelite monastary
S: thats very good, we are neighbours practically … not really (Margao & Aquem) but still .. its atleast closer than goa and mumbai!!
S: (i thought to myself …wow! jackpot! pretty girl, friendly mom….. ok forget the serious dad….house in goa! house in mumbai (u got to be rich to be owning property in mumbai)
and the conversation went on and on … work to family to what do u like doing? I apparently was saying the right things coz she she seemed to be very happy with my answers.
the nite fell upon us, and no I did not get a chance to talk to sophia! damn! but still i got thru the mother … and that the entry …. i should not be all that dissapointed …….
had dinner….. all sophia and I did was exchange smiles ….. but one important thing happened before we went off to sleep…..
A: do come and visit us at kandivali while you are in bombay, have lunch with us
S: sure aunty love to
she writes me the postal address, as to how i shud get there
A: this is the address, do come over, and the telephone no
S: thanx aunty, i will try and make it!
and the nite falls …………we all go off to sleep …………. next morning ……. as the train nears dadar station, they are ready with their luggage to move out, the mother says bye savio, the father says ‘I’ll call you regarding the rates’ and the daughter waves her hand to say bye’
S: bye 🙂 (waving my hand like a small child, as the train moved off the platform) with a big smile on my face …………. the brother who had no idea who i was …. never looked back … who cares anyways!!!
and it was still another few hours to reach V.T station …… my trip was already a fulfilling one ……
Its a weeks holiday in mumbai……………………………………………………………