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…
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.
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.