Thursday, October 14, 2010
Halla Bulla on Lokmanya tilak Netravati Express
Wherever you go, you bring happiness and joy... that is what we believe and we started our journey with these thoughts in mind. I was standing below a fan in the railway station, rubbing and removing the water droplets from my body that started emitting in the hot weather on Sunday. There were men in white dhoti and casual dress and women in saree and salwar; some waiting for the trains, looking consistently to their watch and others discussing with their friends and partners. I waited watching them for long until I received a “mahaganapathim manasa smarami...” ringtone on my mobile. It was Gopu and he registered his presence in the station disconnecting the call and shouting “hey abs... I am here”.
(Home theatre in train)
Gopu was carrying a long bag he says he received from his uncle during his visit to Qatar. It was a black coloured bag capable to encapsulate 10 large anacondas. He headed towards me with the as usual Richie-rich smile, wearing a kurta and blue jeans. He opened his mouth informing me the late timings of the Netravati express which he says would be 50 minutes. Then he switched on the Gopu channel that keeps chatting non-stop for hours. I like the people who speak a lot and Gopu is among them.
I tightened my muscles, twisted the body, the neck to get a breaking sound that would emulate the Hollywood action heroes. Like the sweat flowing from the neck of Amitabh bacchhan in film coolie and him lifting the weight with one push and pull, I tried to lift the bag and suitcase. It did not take 5 seconds to hear a sound “enta amme” (Mother) and I dropped the luggage to the ground. I turned around to see whether any women were watching the macho man’s influence over the gravitational force. I gave a slight smile looking at Gopu and politely asked him to call a coolie.
We waited at the station for 30 minutes with no entertainment. Gopu was busy cleaning his sweat emitting body and cursing the Indian Railways. He would turn his head towards me and after each interval of 25 seconds, he would say, “We should have gone by a flight”. I comforted him, convincing that the train journey will be entertaining and adventurous.
Soon Netrawati express arrived at platform number 1 and we rushed inside to occupy the seats and absorb as much as cool air we could to relieve from the hot weather. I could see an old man and a young boy sitting on the lower compartments of the bogie where we had our reservations. The old man gave a smile and it took less than 5 minutes for him to expose his “family potli”(family history).
I would like to call him a “grandpa”. So Grandpa was a energetic gujju(from gujrat) with Celeron processors but having intensive non-stop chat functionalities and the capability to perform multitasking without letting his system hang. He was the head master of Gopu when it comes to talking. Sorry, I should say he was the Guiness record breaker of all Gopu’s in the world.
Grandpa told me everything about his 10 crore flat in Mumbai, details of him photographed with Amitabh, Malayalam actor Ashokan, his son-in-law living adjacent to Akshay kumar’s flat, his car journey with Malayalam actor Mohanlal. I could only nod the head and murmer “phek bhai phek, aaj tera din hain”(ok you can bluff, it is your day today). Gopu was waiting for the right chance to hit and then he started his Ram katha telling Grandpa about his visit to Dubai, hotels there, his new car, his son and everything he could to exceed the old man. I had noting, so big to discuss with them. My neighbours are two small children and I never had even a train journey with actors.
The passenger next to grandpa who accompanied us in the travel was a boy from Kerala who was travelling to Mumbai for his training from Cipla. He was busy with completing his assignments and used the side table-like attachment as a writing table. After we familiarized, I asked grandpa and the boy whether they would mind us playing some movies. Grandpa was happy to hear that we had laptop and he would be able to hear the feeble sound emitted from the laptop. I asked the boy to move his book and placed the laptop facing the entrance. Surpassing the expectations of all the passengers, I pulled two big speakers from the suitcase and plugged them to the switchboard. The boy placed his books in the bag and agreed to watch the movie with us.
(Safe reach in Mumbai - Hotel Le Grande)
I pulled the curtains at both the ends and switched off the lights making an environment similar to the theatre. Then started the movie with hi-fi sound effects and soon people were seen wandering in our bogie to watch the movie. None of them expected that we will be bringing speakers. :)
The time started moving faster with one movie after the other without letting us know that it was time to have dinner and sleep. The next morning started with another set of movies and we reached Mumbai. Grandpa thanked us for the lovely time he spent with us. He said he never felt so energetic and pleasing travelling in a train. He would normally drop at each station and then start looking outside to spend his time. However, this time he was inside the train without even knowledge of the time that could move faster than the way he speaks.
Thomas called us informing that his car is waiting outside the railway station that would drop us to the hotel in Andheri.
Mumbai trip was really interesting and the stories will follow.