The day is finally here. Today, we make a trip to visit the one of the most elusive yet highly worshipped Hindu Gods. They say ‘chalo bulawa aaya hai, maata ne bulaya hai’ and before one can finish this line, someone else will say, rather force the fact that you cannot visit her until she wishes to see you. I used to wonder about the latter statement but as I sit in this train, which takes 30 hours to reach, I have accepted that it’s the fact and you can’t anything about it!
I have visited this temple some 12 years ago along with my 20 odd relatives. Today’s trip was suppose to include those 20 relatives plus their children. As it turns out, after 3 months of planning, its only Mom, Dad and me, who are traveling while the rest had to cancel due to certain ‘unavoidable’ reasons. Original plan would have justified the long train journey as we cousins always have good times together. Not so much fun now! I found out little too late to back out, felt like a mouse biting the cheese placed nicely in the trap!
Coming back to the present day, the alarm went off at 0630 hrs (that’s 6:30 in the morning you morons). Took me precisely 10 seconds to get out of my bed – not by will, purely by force. My father was standing within a feet of me! Morning tea wasn’t required as I was up and about like a watchdowg, strange how dad’s method of waking me up still works even after finishing school over a decade ago! Mom’s constant comments didn’t faze me as I went about packing my bags while brushing my teeth. Yea, I am multi tasking! Also, I always pack just before I leave! An hour later we were on our way to the station, I don’t quite remember when I stopped replying to Dad’s questions. Maybe the moment he asked “Why do you carrying your laptop?” If only you knew Dad, If only!
So, here we were, standing the Borivali station at 0810hrs (that’s 8:10 am, idiots!) and Mom had a sudden attack of realization! I would have chosen other words, but c’mon guys, she is my Mother! She said ‘kitni bheed haina Bombay main.. Dekho, saari local trains full hai itni subah bhi’. I know it wasn’t anything major and she was only trying to lighten ours moods. But c’mon Mom, I expected better! How about “We should have taken a flight straight to Jammu or at least till Delhi” Ignoring her comment I asked Dad about the total travel time. He looked at Mom and said “We’ll reach tomorrow.” No exact number, no approx time either. The mouse just keeps coming closer and closer to the trap!
Train arrives and we all take our seats, Dad still cribbing bout the laptop and Mom checking out everyone on the neighboring seats. It feels like I am destined to travel with either a crying child or a couple over 100 years old. Today, the old couple turned out to be Gujratis and the Punjabi couple with an infant. For fuck’s sake lets call them Mr & Mrs. Jignesh Shah, The Kapoors & the Monster Baby. Btw, I think Gujjus are the most obnoxious and senseless travelers
The journey begins and with it, the hauling of MB. I think he needed something to drink. How dumb! What’s the point of crying son, just wink at your father and he’ll get you some whisky on the rocks. Mr. Kapoor seems like a man who starts his drinking sessions with a morning cup of tequila! Anyway, MB kept crying even after gulping down a gallon of milk and some. I wonder why is it illegal to slap these little maniacs to shut them up! C’mon wouldn’t you be tempted to beat the hell out of your neighbors dog if it kept barking through the night? I would!
After exchanging fake pleasantries with the Shahs & Kapoors, Dad hands me my ticket and asks me to go and get it signed by the TC. Quite surprising! Why, you ask? I’ll tell you! When three family members are traveling, you don’t need to individually get your tickets checked. After a long pause, he says ‘Oh yea, we couldn’t get you in the same compartment. Your reservation is in the seventh bogey from here. It’s in second class.’ Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you trap a mouse! So, after a long argument with my father, I leave to find my true place, value, seat! 5 A/C and 1 cooking boogey later, I reach the stinking second class. Guess what! Another fucking hauling monster, this time belonging to a joint family of 9 – all Mr. & Mrs. Jignesh Shahs! I waited for the TC for about 45minutes. Hungry for food & cigarettes. Completely mindfucked, I kept waiting despite the constant stares from my fellow passengers. Maybe I was looking like Paulomi from Roadies! The only difference – This was Hell within, and all around me!
What’s worse you ask? Its only 1230 hrs! Yes, I am missing home within the first 4 hours of this fabulous trip.