Sunday, March 14, 2010

Love in Shimla - Part I

En Route

“Did you pack two pairs of socks?”

“I am not going to carry cold cream. Ami, you do that no?”

“Whoa! Are those Crocin tablets? Plan to set up a shop there?”

“snowwwwwww (giggle)”

These were some random sentences uttered (sometimes even in our dreams) before leaving to Manali and Shimla. The excitement was sky high and the packing list endless. My mom and sister forced me to come up with a list of things to pack, which was a task by itself.

Lesson No.1: Remember a twine rope, safety pins, mosquito repellent and a torch can complete any list.

So I added all these and much more, packed two bags and set out. My college had organized a trip to Kulu, Manali, Shimla and other must-see-places-if-you-have-gotten-off-at-Delhi-railway-station. I was with my group of friends and other college mates. How many? umm..around 200. Fun aye!

The train in which we traveled (Karnataka Express) had to accommodate 180 manic teenagers and some tweenagers along with some lecturers (yup lecturers. We had to take them along. Rules I believe). Our fellow passengers looked very nervous. They looked intimidated by the sheer racket we all created when we got in. 3 days? No way, they all must have thought. One of them was seen crying next to a stinky wash basin muttering “death.. death.. take me” (note: you know how I love to exaggerate). We found our ‘berths’ and I got a last minute do’s and don’ts from Dad. The train was about to move. I impatiently looked around for my sister. She was stuck in a traffic jam and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to see her for another 20 days. But she made it. Wheeeeeeeeee I said and exchanged hugs and some cash (working sibling=ATM. We younger one’s are so nasty *evil laughter*). After saying our goodbyes we got back to our seats and wondered how to sort the crisis that needed our immediate attention. Few of our friends were in another compartment and we had to move them. So we went around asking our co-passengers:

“err escuse Mister large man with a frown can you please shift to berth number 43, pliss?” Lesson No. 2: Never mess with such people. just smile and offer a packet of Frooti.

“um sorry, kind lady with a badly behaved child, can you take that fabulous seat number 50 and let our friend sit with us” -so on and so forth.

Even after all our pleadings and drama two of our friends ended up in a different compartment. We didn’t bother much as we had other important issues to tackle. Like dinner, for instance. So we sat down and gobbled yummy curd rice and chutney puDi with chapaatti. We failed to notice that there was a man sitting on the edge of our reserved berth and shouting very loud in a voice that could give Rajdeep Sardesai a run for his money. “Train ko kharida hai kya?” he yelled. We all took a couple of minutes to look away from our food.

Lesson No. 3: Know your priorities while traveling. Food should be your first priority. Always.

We looked up and gave one of our get-the-hell-out-of-here looks. He was upset that most of the seats were booked before he could. Our world famous get-the-hell-out-of-here look didn’t work; he kept other passengers entertained with his sulk-sulk-blah-blah. We kept ourselves entertained with curd rice and pickle. He left after sometime. We had already decided that none of us would sleep during the journey and planned to stay up the whole night. Yes, stupid teenagers. We kept ourselves awake by talking non-stop (read: bitch*ng session). But I noticed most of my friends were yawning after 11PM. I for one can never sleep while traveling so I didn’t want them to sleep. I asked them to be strong and keep themselves awake.

They left and slept peacefully.

I kept waking up from time to time, trying my best to read the names of all stations. I was on the middle berth, a difficult spot I would say, but I managed to read 'em all. Or so I thought (they were written in Hindi and my hindi reading capabilities from a distance is err how do I put it, questionable). The train was too slow for my liking and it was ~5 AM. As it was the first time that I had woken up so early in my life I thought of making the best use of it by brushing my teeth and eating some plum cake that we had packed. Hey! you feel hungry while traveling.

The whole freakin train was asleep. How can they all sleep so peacefully I wondered? With nothing much to do after eating plum cake I went back to sleep only to be rudely woken up by eunuchs at around 6 AM. Four or five of them were all around the place - *clap clap clap* “aye hero utho..” *clap clap* “haan ..haan good morning” they wished us. I needed coffee. But they kept clapping. It hurt my head. Somebody please give me coffee, I pleaded silently. For us Bangaloreans waking up to find no coffee is like going to Tirupati and not hearing MS’s Suprabhatam or going to Tirupati and not standing in queue. More claps followed forcing me to peep through my shawl. One of them caught sight of me peeping, thinking I was a guy (don’t ask me why) tried to wake me up. After s/he found I’m in fact a girl, asked me to go back to sleep. Sweet, no? I murmured ‘coffee?’ sleepily (threw in some sympathy angle muhahahaa. clever me!). “coffee?” s/he asked me with a frown and *clap clap* called the coffee chap (who had just walked into our compartment) and moved ahead to harass a cute guy who was sleeping on the ‘passage-wali’ seat (ahem.. a cute medical student. more on this later)

Lesson number 4: Don’t infuriate eunuchs. Stay calm and smile or act sleepy. They’ll help you. Really.

I thanked the kind eunuch, which went unnoticed, paid Rs.5 to the coffee chap and had my first sip of “Brooo instant coffee”. I immediately felt dizzy. I will never be able to describe the taste of Broooooo. But my fellow coffee lovers may I request you to join me in requesting Indian Railways to ban this dreadful blend of warm water, three spoons of sugar and coffee powder tin’s lid thrown in for the effect. I vowed to drink only Tea for the next 20 days, any day better than Br-ewww.
Lesson 5: You might have already guessed, yes, say NO to coffee while traveling.

Rest of the journey was uneventful. Oh yes the cute medical student (no, he is not the protagonist of this story). To be honest I didn’t find him cute, in fact none of us did. Much to our amusement he slept throughout the journey and kept throwing furious glances at us. Well I dont blame him, coz our chatter matched the decibel levels of the train’s engine.

And thus we reached our destination.

Now, let me skip the rest of the places we visited and head to Shimla, alright. Or on second thoughts...

to be continued....

22 plate meals:

Karthik said...

Whoaaaaaa!!!! This is going to be one helluva fun ride, I'm sure.
Awesome narration. I could've read all of it in one go if you'd posted. (No matter how big it is) :)

Eating cake plum at five in the morning? Hehe.. that's fun. I love it.
Masstt post. Waiting for the remaining parts. ;)

lostworld said...

I'm gonna faint-Two posts this month from Shruthi madam!!:-0 But hey am not complaining!

You went when in 12th I guess(since we are from same college I know about this college trip). I didn't get permission to go..boohooo. I would've cried more had it not been the case that my parents did take us to Shimla themselves:-D

I'm reliving those awesome memories through you. Lovely warm post. Could just imagine the racket you all created! Somehow energy levels at that time are quite hard to control no;-) Can't wait for part 2.. pls don't make us wait for a month more! pls 'puttudu':-)

Sandeep said...

haha.. 'Love in Shimla' is the title and you describe your train journey! :))

When was this trip btw?

A journey called Life said...

a) i love plum cake and can eat at anytime..
b) u r right when u say food is the biggest priority (i say, travelling or not).
c)i cant sleep whilst travelling too and envy ppl who sleep like they are sleeping at home..
this said, lovely narration and will look forward to the rest of the parts..

Shruthi said...

@Karthik, :) thanks! I thought you guys would get bored reading my silly story :) glad you liked it. and yeah, you must try eating plum cake at 5. Its liberating :D

@Lostworld, heheh yeah we'd get excited about anything and everything specially in such circumstances. oh you too same colleze-aa? goodiieee :D and nope I wasn't in 12th, was in my degree. So that makes me a year senior to you i say!
Thanks Lost, will try and post the next part soon :D

vimmuuu said...

Oh my god, 200 of them ???? thats like one whole panchaayat travelling !!! :D :D :D :D

did you guys go for a trip or on a mission to destroy the peace and harmony of fellow humans ???

Loved all the lessons, but I thought they say dront drink coffee while travelling for some other reason !!! Ahem Ahem ! :D :D :D Misleading your readers, huh ! :D

Shruthi said...

@Sandeep, hehe yeses i digress a lot. I'll complete the said love story in my next post :) the trip happened not too long ago :) well it happened when I was still a student sigh..

@AJCL, thank you so much!! :D I love plum cake too. My dad gets it almost once every 15/20 days only for me :D

Shruthi said...

@Vimz, whaat nonsense! seriously the coffee tastes awful.
and you know what I have to agree that we did destroy peace and harmony wherever we went. well you cant blame us alright. huge number :P

kanaguonline said...

wow.. thats great Shruthi.. enjoyed reading this.... :D :D

surely college trip os memorable and with 200 they should have booked a train for you all...

poor those passengers... but the same case with our tour also... :) :)

Swaram said...

Cn imagine what fun it must hv been .. cn u believe we used to go on family trips like these .. ok, may not be 200, but the 30 of us were more than enuf :P

I luv plum cake, hate that coffee and can't sleep while travelling ;)

SG said...

You must have had a wonderful expereince. I envy you. In India, I have traveled by train only a few times and I loved it. Waiting to hear from from you regarding this trip.

sp.ajay said...

i am a guy and i have seen better(ironical) eunchs behave (read as mis-behave) with me; on a silver lining i would say they would make better police then the verrapan type mooch waala's, who tuck money at every possible oppurtunity!

teenage is meant to be insensible; if not then when are you supposed to ruin others sleep-when you are owner of an enterprise?

you have not yet reached shimla, let ur story reach there i hope you dont fall in love with shimla!

Shruthi said...

@Kanagu, Thanks! yeah it looked as though we had booked the entire train :D keep watching the space for my next bit of the story! :)

@Swaram, aye sooooper :) I used to love traveling with my family too. But not 30 and all, 15 max. We don’t find time to travel these days :(

Shruthi said...

Thanks SG :) yeah train journeys are always great. I still prefer traveling by train.

@Ajay, hehehe poor you. But as you mentioned they are any day better than the side-y hawaldars.
And well you’ll find out soon what happened in Shimla :D

scarlet pimpernel said...


dont stop tripping. Keep at it !

Subha said...

So many people going together for a trip....wowo...
I liked lyour lesson 2:-)
aryan's mom

Shruthi said...

@scarlet pimpernel, :) oh wish i could. I think I'll take a long holiday, after my retirement that is *sigh*

@Aryan's mom, heheh yeah frooti always works :) btw how's my darling Aryan doing?

MADHU RAO | (INDImag.COM) said...

Sorry ree, have not been for full-meals in a while. You now why and a big thankun to you for all the read :-) .

That's a nice post. 200 ? wow. :-) Looking forward to the next part. Wonder why our college did not take a cue from yours on Shimla. From college, we went to Kemmangundi-Kudremukha-Mangalore kinds. (or that's what our princy thought ; like on one, most of the 'project tour' was in Goa .. :-) . I'm sure that's common ..

Shruthi said...

@Madhu, aiyo thanksu geenksu ella bedappa :) hope the next phase of your contest is going great.
heehee project tour in Goa sounds good. context of the project will not be defined I suppose :D

SG said...

Waiting anxiously for your Part 2. Please write soon.

Destiny's child... said... I know...why u didn't find him cute :D Angry young men are good on celluloid not in real life ;)

And I must tell you, my train journey to hyderabad (college excursion)was exactly like this trip. Ditto. Including eunuch n everything :P

Shruthi said...

@SG, yes will surely write soon :) hows your vacation going?

@DC, heehee so true. The whole angry young man persona is a major turn off :P