Monthly Archives: October 2003

A short snippet of my train journey

This has been typed out by me…just the way it was jotted down during my train journey from Delhi to Bangalore. It might be a little abstract in portions… where I have just penned down whatever came to my mind without paying attention to grammar etc.

28th September’03 (have already spent one night in the train)

My train journey consisted of panoramic views whizzing past, green countryside…dotted with stray cattle, past the famous ‘thumbs-up’ point (a name given by travellers on this route to a mountain which has a rock shaped like a thumbs up sign, on its top).
Railway Stations always fill me with a disturbed feeling that I associate with paranoia and tension…may be  for catching the train on time…the smell of human excreta along with the smell of dirty coaches…the noise of hawkers with their ware, noise of announcements on various platforms … it all disconcerts me.
Till the time of boarding the train, the feeling hadn’t sunk in…had no time to think..was so preoccupied with my work. My parents had freaked out just the previous night when I had come back @12:30 pm in the night from office, that too after having driven back myself at that unearthly hour. No interesting company in this cabin in which I have to spend 2 nights. One talkative kannadiga, bent on knowing my interest in music, literally interviewed me on the topic! He described himself as a good listener of music. He owns 3000 cassettes (“Is that all”, I wanted to ask). Robert Miles makes him cry…he went on asking about my opinion on per singer/group basis …when we reached George Michael and I was just beginning to wonder whether GM doesn’t make him cry, he promptly added on his own that he did (Jesus to a child seems to be a painful and soul stirring tragedy) and broke into song to no one in particular…

Sheesh! I have got the worst choice possible for a novel to read in the train. I had hurriedly asked my mom for something to read in the train and she handed me a book titled ‘great american short stories’. Interesting you would say, but for the fact that all authors are 18th century ones and most of the stories have either cowboy language (Ye get on the horse) or Shakesperean English (thou shalt not read a novel). Too late to repent..

Whatever attempts I make of retreating to my shell get thwarted. FK (friendly Kannadiga) keeps asking me about anything that I happen to be doing. If I read my novel, he wants to know the stories. If I listen to music, he’ll ask me what songs are there in the cassette. Before I knew it, he had asked for my Walkman and the next thing I knew was that my treasured possession was in his hands. But I relented, thinking that at least that would occupy him for some time and I would be left alone to myself. I explained Kandisa and Indian Ocean to him, but he couldn’t comprehend it.
Even while listening to the Walkman he went on asking me about the other cassettes that I have…told him, but that has whet his appetite more. He wanted to know the 3rd song on the B side or the 5th song on the A side of one of my cassettes!! For heavens! I don’t remember them like that! I named a few… he wanted me to *sing* them!! I hesitated, said I am not a public performer… he pestered.. I end up humming the tune and then singing.. again, it only makes matters worse. He wants me to sing various songs now… (which are not a part of my cassette collection), recollect their tunes… I decided that I have had enough and strategised to use his methodology on him. Now *I* asked him to sing particular songs.. some English ..some Hindi… my strategy works!! He’s transformed to a kid who’s been conned into getting engrossed in his own thing. I took out my pen and paper again and jotted something. As expected, he’s inquisitive about what I have been jotting all this while… wonders if I am a writer or a journalist… later I get branded as a spy.. :-). Every time I take out my tools (pen/paper, me no laptop carrying executive), I get referred to as the spy making notes. I’ve come to enjoy it…
FK has started singing songs in all languages he could sing in… that includes hindi, english, tamil, telugu, malyalam, kannada…even some broken punjabi.

Time 4:30 pm…place: somewhere near Manmad
It’s raining heavily. I have finally managed to get my Walkman back and am listening to some great English classics instead of those ‘yellum belluvam’ songs…As the train whizzes through the rain, I see the rear end coaches following like a snakes tail, when the train takes a turn..Chris de Burgh croons ‘Lady in Red’ in my ears as I feel like dancing cheek to cheek, dressed in red…

Time 5:00pm
The FK is becoming a real jukebox (no pun intended). I’ve had an overkill of South Indian songs. As I pump up the volume in my walkman, Ozzy osbourne asks me what I would do if God was one of us, just a slog like one of us…
I drown my auditory senses in music and I see, FK entertaining the rest with his south indian songs, with the utmost zeal and passion.. Occasionally, he glances at me too, with an expression akin to an actor, enacting a duet, when he has to show passion on his face, his eyebrows and eyes expressing intense passion.. I give him one of my disarming smiles as Shanice says, ‘I love your smile‘. The rain’s stopped and the sun peeps through the thick black clouds.

Time: 6:15pm
History is being made. The FK has been crooning for the past 2.5 hrs now. Some guy comes and congratulates him, introduces himself as a bigshot who has known Sonu Nigam from rags to fame… tells him that he must pursue music professionally. He drops a few more big names like Naseeruddin Shah, Gulshan Kumar etc. and I start thinking he’s a farce. Things get rather melodramatic when he asks for FK’s card and promises him something if he ever shifts base to Bombay again.
I get back to my novel with Indian Ocean singing ‘Hai tamasha yeh kya..‘ from Kaun. Pretty apt. A picturesque sunset charms me as I look outside and contemplate. ‘Kaun chaday roz yeh sooraj, pawan kaun phoonke’…apt again.
The sky has a greyish blue hue, whilst the horizon is dense with dark clouds forming weird shapes..thru the cocoon of the clouds the sun manages to let out the last few bursts of flame before settling down completely. the intense black clouds look as thick as a fortress and slowly but surely they are engulfing the sun…
Another guy congratulates FK.

Day 2, 9:30 am
I need some sun… I feel like a leaf unable to perform photosynthesis because of deprivation from sunlight. Finally had something edible at the last station…aah.. hot fresh vadas with chutney. People have started calling me the spy… because I keep jotting down stuff. 4 more hours to go.

Day 2, 9:45 am
CS (FK hereby rechristened as celebrity singer) is up and energised even after a not-so-sumptuous breakfast. The “Piramalam Yelladeva” session starts again. Mohit (another passenger who’s joined the bonhomie) is also bored now. The 2 of us try to get him to English numbers but somehow CS sticks to south indian songs only. I try to look as bored as possible in an attempt to at least stop the session. No use.

Day2, 1:00 pm
Aaaaaaaarrrggggggh!!! The train is already late.. it’s supposed to reach Bangalore at 12:50 pm and we are nowhere near Bangalore yet. I can just not sit still. CS aka FK has stopped the music sessions some time back. They all seem to be concentrating on how I seem to be restless and *too* keen on reaching Bangalore. What the heck!! Of course I would be! I am on vacation…am excited about meeting my best friend after 1.5 years! I have had to consciously check my smug grin into a sober face *so* many times. I defend myself by saying that I am not from Bangalore so it’s not a subtle homecoming for me.. I get permanently labeled as ‘The spy’ (not the one who shagged) and Mohit is warning CS that the next days papers might have all kinda uncomplimentary things written about him.

My train was late by about more than an hour. I really enjoyed my vacation. The next post shall be about my Devbagh trip. Till that time, visit my photo blog for the pics of the place and my new blog (no I am not leaving this place as of now) for a short account of the place.

First things first

I am back from my vacation…sigh..wish it could have lasted back to the grinding schedule. I reached Delhi on Saturday and after a zombied Saturday, and a partially zombied Sunday too, I finally went to watch Maqbool at the 34th International Film Festival at Siri Fort Auditorium, Lodhi Road. Had gone with my sis and we just managed to reach on time, all courtesy Twilight’s abilities to calculate the shortest path (NOT using Djikstra’s alogrithm) to Siri Fort Auditorium 🙂 (please note, no smartphones with maps were available then). Of course my sister’s resourcefulness in getting the 2 of us in, with 1 delegate pass also counts. So here we were in the heavily packed hall with no place to sit. I spotted 2 empty seats right behind me with a note saying ‘Reserved’ stuck to them. I pointed them out to my sister and was just contemplating another bout of ‘resourcefulness’ when I saw some hostess ushering someone to those seats. Now it isn’t everyday that I come across big shots or when I saw that the ushered in was Milind Soman, my heart gave a squeal..My head tried to explain to my heart that it isn’t really such a big deal.. after all they all are just normal ppl like us and I *have* seen better bods than’s just hype..but my heart told my head to shut up and ogle in an unladylike manner, which my head promptly did but it wasn’t long before my head wrenched off from it for the sake of *my* dignity. In the meantime, the lady on the stage started thanking all kinda bigshots for making the movie possible and on the stage came.. Irfaan Khan, Pankaj Kapur, Bobby Bedi, Tabbu etc.. again, my head told my heart, ‘see they all look so normal like everyone else in the hall’ and this time my heart nodded *its* head in silent agreement (getting twisted, are we?).

Finally we spotted a few seats empty in the left wing of the hall. We reached there and realised why they were empty. Getting into and out of that row was a torture! There was *just* no leg space. But then beggars can’t be choosers, so we strived to get in. The first two occupants simply came out to let us in. The next two, stood up to let us pass by. The next two kept sitting and after a major mishmash of legs and thighs and limbs, we disentangled ourselves and settled ourselves in the next two seats. phew..

Now that I could get my bearings, I looked on and the next thing I know is that the CEO of my company comes down the aisle with his wife and chooses to sit right next to us! The whole exercise followed again and when they were crossing us (we had of course stood up, in fact my sister stood *on* the seat!), I greeted him with a ‘Hi A, I am from XXX’ (where XXX is the company which employs me). He tried blinking in the dark and after not being able to make out much uttered some polite sentences and then we settled down. It took me a little more time to get rid of the overwhelming feel that comes with such an out of the blue coincidence and by that time the lady on the stage announced that she would not stand any longer in between us and the the movie started.

Tabbu as usual managed to look nice and she is one of those rare bollywood heroines who manage this without any skin show. Irfaan Khan was intense and expressive. The Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri duo was great as always.. The story is supposed to be an adaptation of Macbeth but I had absolutely forgotten the story line to be able to compare anything to the Shakespearean version. So I saw the movie as any normal movie goer would. Of course, my sister had this as well as all points like script, lighting, camera, picturisation etc in mind. The movie was all about the underworld, the way it gets you to the top at times and throws you down just when you think you have made it, it shows all typical underworld stuff like treachery, blood, gore, jealousy, loyalty, anger, and of course mistresses and mujras. It lasted longer than we thought it would and by the end I just wanted it to finish soon. It was getting too heavy a dose for me though the movie is quite good. After the movie finished, my sis met a couple of her friends who had worked in the movie (behind the scenes) whilst Milind Soman signed autographs for his fans. I decided against giving him bhaav by not taking his autograph, though it would have hardly made a difference to the huge ocean by the absence of this one tiny droplet.

Just as we were coming out, a lady with a mike suddenly popped it in front of me and a light somewhere focussed on me and I realised I was being asked how I found the movie. I saw that the mike bore the logo of Zee news on it. I said something like ‘It’s quite a good movie but a little heavy’ and scooted out. Right behind me was Milind Soman and obviously all the news crews barely managed to *not* topple him over with their equipment. ‘Their goes my shot in the drain’, I thought. Later I kept nagging my sister about how if she would have replied to my barrage of questions throughout the movie about how it is similar to Macbeth, I would have been able to give a loooong and elaborate answer which would have increased the probability of my shot being telecast to an all time high. But then this much of excitement was enough for a day. We also saw Irfaan Khan roaming around callously with his arms around ppl’s neck! But by then the feeling that all these ppl are also quite normal like us had sunk in to quite an extent. We set out for home although my sister wanted to stay and watch another movie. Whoa!