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Showing posts from April, 2012

19th April 2012 - Arriving Cochin

17th and 18th April 2012 – Leaving Delhi and en route

Friends, The previous evening I had made arrangements to go to the New Delhi railway station, mistaking the departure station of the Trivandrum Rajdhani Express. Fortunately, I remembered in time that I had disembarked at Hazrat Nizamudin railway station on my inward journey. Anyway, no harm was done for I had enough buffer time on hand for the change. Despite the last minute change I had about an hour at the Hazrat Nizamudin station before departure of the train. The station premises and the platform were quite unclean and covered with flies. I found a group of Mallu servicemen in an interesting conversation blitzing the politics of Kerala and lost myself in that. I would have remained engrossed in that till the rake was backed on the platform had it not been for the pesky shoe shine boy who insisted on cleaning up my sneakers for a bargain of Rs. 20. I gave in after shooing off for a while. He completed a fairly good job and proceeded to offer certain value add to keep the sneakers f…

16th April 2012 – In Delhi

Friends, The Kalka Mail rolled into Delhi railway station at the scheduled time of 6.30 AM. I was booked to stay at the guest house of KRIBHCO in Noida. I stubbornly refused the offer of my friend for a vehicle. I was determined to experience the Delhi Metro that was being mentioned of in such glowing terms in the media and by people I had interfaced with. Therefore, as soon as I came out of the Delhi station I made a beeline for the Metro station. Frankly, at that hour I expected the Metro to be relatively free of commuters. I was horribly wrong. There were four queues that had more than 50 people each to buy tickets. I got over that problem by going to the ‘Smart Card’ counter. The card entailed a deposit of Rs. 50 and the balance was available for journeys. The card afforded a small discount for every journey. Buying the card was the smallest of the issues. Getting into the train was ‘the’ experience. The platform was full to capacity with passengers. The G4 Security guys were more …

15th April 2012 – Leaving Shimla

Friends, Laxman Singh was not a minute late with the bed tea. Serving it, he asked me what I would like to have for breakfast. He gave me the option of fetching either poori baaji or bread and omelet. I ordered for a 4 egg omelet and four slices of toast with butter. Laxman was bewildered. He said, “Sir, yahan omelet do ande ka hota hai.” The poor man’s Adam’s apple moved uncontrollably for a while, when I confirmed two omelets of ‘do ande ka’, before a nod of the head and a twitch of the moustache replaced it. The ‘slightly’ heavy breakfast propelled me outdoors for a walk to digest the repast to make space for another! I met a Commercial Inspector as I was moving out of the ORH. Of him I enquired what had become of the erstwhile goods shed. He told me that a part of the area was recently converted to a Rail Museum to exhibit rare collections of the Kalka-Shimla Railway (KSR) link. Curiosity got the better of me and I took to the railway track that led to the erstwhile goods shed. The …

14th April 2012 – Leaving Kalpa

Friends, I have a fear, an irrational one, of missing a scheduled journey by being late for it. This has been mine since a young age and to this date I haven’t missed a train, a flight or a bus journey because I was late for it. Nevertheless, the fear persists. Therefore, I do the following: I double check departure timings, sleep early to be up in time for the early morning schedule, ensure that an alarm is set and finally, after all this, I sleep fitfully. Hence, I have even arrived three hours ahead of schedule for a domestic flight in Cochin. A wintry morning I was denied entry into the Delhi airport as I was too early and I spent time walking around with my luggage so as not to freeze in the cold outside. Last night was no different. I settled my accounts of the stay in the Circuit House even though Sharma, the caretaker insisted that it could be done this morning before my departure. While Sharma was sure that the departure time of the Kalpa-Shimla bus was 6.30 AM I insisted on be…

13th April 2012 – In Kalpa

Friends, I had initially planned to visit Puh today. After walking up slightly late in the morning I decided to spend time locally, walking around to enjoy some more the salubrious environs of Kalpa. When I am about to leave a place I normally wonder when I will come back next to it or if at all I will. The same feeling assails me when I take leave of people who matter to me. This makes the moment of parting very somber within me, though I always try to portray the opposite. This day was no different. Therefore, to lift the mood a bit I walked to ‘The Monk’ Hotel to meet Prakash. In some manner this person, who I barely met 4 days ago felt like a soul mate, in whose company I felt light and cheerful. I reached the hotel and there was no sign of Prakash or any others. And the place was open. So I went around the lodging complex and saw that accommodation was being expanded by another floor. The view of the Kinner Kailash was superb from the higher floors of the hotel. When I came down a…

12th April 2012 – In Kalpa

11th April 2012 – In Kalpa