Monday, September 22, 2008

B-ing in the train

I am back on campus! Sitting on the same old bed, and with my noise-cancellation earphones bombarding me with 'Socha hain', I say to myself "Write On!" (and also mumble, 'Socha hain..XL mumbai se itna door kyun, grading relative hain kyun, competitions hain itne kyun, zindagi mein aaram kyun nahi, Socha hain ...). Just minutes ago, my friend - a mallu chetta (brother) - asked me to minimise the use of Hindi, for the benefit of my mathrubhoomi TN and states around, but how could I sing a Hindi song with translation?

Cut to the scene on 20 Sep 9pm, when I wait for Howrah mail scheduled to arrive at 9.35pm at Kalyan station. A train called LTT-Howrah Dnyaneshwari express arrives at 9.15 and I start cribbing about Indian railways which schedules 2 trains to the same destination spaced 15 mins apart to my dad. The IR bashing continues with discussions about new trains to Amravati, open air platforms, mismanaged routes, and so on. The standard female voice (Mumbai suburban ki Ms.Ameen Sayani) announces on the speaker - "2809 down Howrah mail, platform kramaank 4 par thodi der mein aa rahi hain". i.e...arriving shortly on platform no 4.. (translating to save those few I-yam-southie-I-don't-know-Hindi-jee readers from running away). I enter the train, keep my bags with a BIG group of friends, (smiling to welcome me, as if I bought them goodies from California), wave goodbye to my parents and to aamchi (our) Mumbai and now the journey begins.

XLRI, 22 Sep : [for all those wondering why am I switching scenes, it is just to give it that Mani Ratnam's filmi-ishtyle & also to justify the randomness in the posts :)]. I see so many contest posters, PDFs and timelines being bombarded into my inbox - b-plan, papers, quizzes, case studies, and all other contests on earth (except for the likes of Indian Idle - where I would have undisputedly won). I drop my jaws looking at the prizes and the process for the final rounds - the chance to present in front of all the big names, that you have only read in pink papers (Hum rahe comic strips ke charrekters aur woh bijness page ke stars - Kaise ho payega inka milan?).

Howrah Mail, 21 Sep 10AM: I try my level best to wake up (or to be honest -not to wake up), and the pantry guy comes in with 'Khaana, order?'. After giving him the order, I wake up to find that there's no one selling coffee from the pantry. Everyone's going chai-chaiyye. We stop one guy to ask 'Coffee kab aayega?'. He replies 'System bandh ho gaya'. We look at each other wondering "Is he a laid-off IT engineer talking about systems getting de-commissioned?". We get some coffee finally, with water and some drops of milk added to coffee powder, which satisfies me as much as the movie Ashoka would have satisfied a SRK fan. Some long discussions among us, over the newspaper headlines and coverage (and including those channels which broadcast 'Breaking-news: Great Khali ke baalon mein 167 dandruff mili') follow. After lunch, we watch 3 great movies from completely different genres - 21, Golmaal, and Duck Tales (we had occasional visitors forgetting their garma-garam-samose jobs and catching up with some entertainment - we were expecting some refund for this 'service' that we provided)

XLRI, 22 Sep 11PM: We have serious looks on our faces and discuss our likes, dislikes and don't cares for the summer internship process that is due soon on campus. 7 of us then get together to have a long discussion on a group assignment-cum-plan that we need to submit by tomorrow night, and disperse with not much progress, but atleast some headway. (Poora India bhi toh aisi hi chalta hain, thoda hi sahi, progress toh kar raha hain na?). We get back to our rooms and think of working on another b-plan too. 3 of us get together in my room, and announce 'we will finish off some part of some contest now' (Wow, how planned our meeting was). One of them dozes off in the middle, with an occasional 'Hmm..' to ensure that he is not physically assaulted by the two of us. We jala-ofy our dimaag-ki-batti and come up with a few ideas, none of them 'exciting'. Then we think of ..

Howrah Mail, 22 Sep 1AM: "Plz get down. Berths 25 and 26 are ours", an old-aged guy shouts at me, waking me up from my tight sleep (happens to me everytime Rourkela arrives in the train that I am travelling). We somehow send him back to the other coach, that he had mistaken this for and then wonder why haven't we yet neared Jamshedpur (scheduled at 1.40). After a little 'research', we find out that we are 1 hour behind schedule. We sleep for some more time, wake up at 2.30, just to find that we are still running 2 hours late. Sleeping for some more time, we find out at 3.30 that it is still 20 minutes away. We keep ourselves awake for some time and realise that it is actually 1 more hour away. We give up, and get back to what we have mastered for 23 yrs of our life - sleep ! After an hour, seemingly, we were closer to Jamshedpur and get ready to reach the place that we all wanted to get into, 3 months back, but probably not that eager as of now :)

Disclaimer : The following idea is entirely fictional (actually, too stupid to be true) and bears no resemblance to the ideas that we discussed :)
XLRI, 23 Sep 2AM: "Imagine such a situation. Why can't we have an electronic chip implanted in your brain, with which you can control the time that you want to wake up. Think of all the pains that we have taken just to ensure that we do not miss the station. We could even diversify into selling the chips to all those b-school grads who crib for not being able to wake up for an 8.30AM class", I quip. An obvious reaction follows and all of us laugh at the extent of damage lack of sleep can do to you. We move from B-plan to the plan-B - close for the day . I plan to narrate the entire experience as today's post on my blog and start typing...

As an afterthought, I realise that I have to search a lot of things on the net for the assignments, but I am still writing this, and I put a screeching halt to the post.

6 comments:

Deepan said...

Goodies from California? What are those? I must have missed them.

Aparna said...

Are you sure brother is called 'checha' in mallu? I think it is 'chetta'

I learned this little bit while I was in Kerala ...

Seshadri said...

@deepan, hehe..that was just an 'imaginary' example to visualise the situation :)

@aparna, thanks. i was just confused coz of chechi being used for sisters. Updated the post :)

Barath.M said...

so back to blogging after long time... :)

Giti said...

It has a nice 5- point someone feel to it.. consider writing a novel on your experiences at xl..

Seshadri said...

@Giti, thx..but that's asking too much from a normal, once-in-a-while blogger