Tracks and Trails of India: “Adina Fast Passenger”

 

Indian railway tracks and myriads of roads connecting the
corners to the neighborhoods holds millions of stories. In my life like may, I
had many memories scattered on these paths; and in turn I have treasured many
an event that I have experienced. These are some of those, a collection of
facts, as all what’s there in my abode!

 

This was in the early nineties, when I was a sales and
support executive for a leading IT company, making frequent and long tours all
over eastern India. To repair the UPS systems installed in many BPCL depots I
used to frequent cities in middle of nowhere. This was a trip when first I went
to Malda, a town middle part of west Bengal and famous for its Mangoes. The
morning I was supposed to finish my work, I got a message from office that I
need to go to Barauni from there – a town in North Bihar, supposedly close and
accessible from Malda. I finished my work at Malda within 10 in the morning and
came back to hotel, enquired to find that there is a “Fast Passenger” at 1 PM.
Asked them to keep a bills ready and wake me up if I fall asleep. As feared I
was not awakened in time and I had to rush to station in a cycle rickshaw. I
took a ticket and rushed towards the platform, asked the ticket checker at the
gate about the train. He pointed towards platform No. 3 and there was it –
“Adina Fast Passenger” already started moving, leaving platform no. 3.

 

I rushed through the over-bridge with my rucksack on my back
and the brief case in hand, climbed down the stairs and still had enough time
to select a relatively empty compartment to board the “Fast Passenger”.  It was supposed to be a six hour journey. I
looked around the sparsely populated compartment to only see a few locals and
farmers.

 

Couple of hours into the journey and I was enjoying one of
the most amazing route on single line track, winding its way though farms,
gardens, villages and at times it seemed we passed though someone’s backyard.
Soon the train came to a halt, the scene outside gave the impression of a mid
sized village, with fences touching the train and windows of mud houses at
handshaking distance from the window of the train. The train stopped and didn’t
move for at least an hour. Peeking out from the window, I saw a big commotion
in front of the train and all passengers slowly getting down and walking
towards the front. It seemed almost the entire village was already there. I too
got down and walked towards the scene. Soon I found the reason of the stoppage.
The train has killed a goat of a villager, and he has squatted on the tracks
with other villagers supporting him. He wants a compensation from the driver or
the guard, and demanded if required let the Railway minister come and solve his
plight.

 

I came back, and the train started moving after another hour
or so. I guess the Panch of the village must had convened and found a solution.
The train was already 3 hours late. The evening fell and woke up from a doze to
discover there was no light in my compartment. In the pitch darkness of the
compartment and matching black outside I waited till the next station. The plan
was to get down and change the compartment. After waiting for about half an
hour the train chugged in to a station. I got down, stood in the darkness of
the platform, watched the train from end to end, to find that it was a train
without a single light barring the headlight, which was just enough for the
driver to see the track far enough to drive.

 

I came back to the same compartment and sat through the
journey clutching my two luggages. Was sure that there was not a soul in the
compartment. Even if there was some, they must have got blacked out by the
darkness. The train reached Barauni at 11:15. The tea stall owner informed that
it will be futile to go out and look for a hotel at this time. I enquired abut
the retiring rooms, The second class waiting room was just a shade better than
a stable, and the upper class retiring rooms were locked, with the in-charge
not to be found anywhere. I didn’t had any upper class ticket either, so talking
to the station master was not feasible. So I asked the tea stall owner to
inform the retiring room in-charge, if he is found and helped myself with the
newspapers I always carried. After nearly an hours sleep on the paper spread on
the platform with the hordes of mosquitoes, a guy waked me up. He was the
in-charge; he took 30 bucks for the first class retiring room; it went to his
own pocket obviously. It was a 20 by 20 room, with two single beds, with
mosquito nets and a toilet clean enough to be used. He even helped me with a
dinner against 20 more rupees – dal, chapatti and mooli.

 

And that’s how I mostly used to reach Barauni, a “Rocket”
bus to malda, and “Adina Fast Passenger” to Barauni, with the night at upper
class retiring room.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

21 responses to “Tracks and Trails of India: “Adina Fast Passenger”

  1. really nice post. its always an experience travelling in the interiors of the country. gives a jolt of reality to me. i really loved the post.
    reminded me of a time when i, with my family was stranded at Kalka station, on my way back to delhi from a trip to shimla. was an awesum trip. n even the time spent at kalka was gr8. we had a connecting journey from kalka. n the next train was a couple of hours late. was around 11.30 at night n the place was as grave as it could be. hunger pangs were thriving n as we trudged our way out of the station, we came across a dhaba. n my-oh-my the hot food served to us (chicken masala n tandoor rotis, tht was everything available to us) was tastier than most of the delicacies i\’ve ever had. trust me. the taste\’s still on the tip of my tongue.
     
    it\’s every journey thats worthwhile with such experiences, isnt it?

  2. hating kids or not, i love this album here – ador.
    🙂
     

  3. lolz fast passenger 😀
    Liked this entry!
    Trains afterall..i remember you had mentioned tht u will post about your journeys too 🙂
    We want more tales!!

  4. Hi, a nice trip down the memory track!! its, till today, the best way to travel into the interiors of the country! Some of the journeys are blessed with nature at its best,some not so good,but the rhythm of the train is amazing especially on a monotrack!! Takes me back to my childhood days when train journeys wd last 3 days when travelling from assam to delhi on a posting….and the times when we travelled from pathankot to mhow on a course (my daughter being 1 yr old and just having found her legs …)!! grt post Horus!:-)
    tc and happiness always
    sonia

  5. Oh how i remember those kiddo days, with blackened skin & blackened souls of feet from running around in the compartments, those wake up calls with the shouts chai chai chai or coffee coffee – and those races between my train and those buses. indian railways is such a nice experience.
     
    thanks for the lift down the nostalgia lane.

  6. :)) Fun became!!And u were already working in the early 90\’s!! Whoa!(to be said slowly in a whisper)
    You know I\’ve always felt trains and me have a special connection(obviously coz my father works for the railways)….And after I read Atlas Shrugges, I just knew that I was the next Dagny Taggart!! If you know what I mean…
    I can the see the Vile Parle station from my balcony. Quite a story that one is too. Especially if you look at it at around two in the night…With noone but merry street urchins singing dhin chak bollywood numbers..it\’s quite a sight…

  7. And oh…rubber inflatable shoes?? uummmm….maybe…but it\’ll be difficult to balance oneself on them nai?? I don wanna fall into muck and break another tooth…

  8. hope u;ve had a nice inside city view…i m gonna write somethin in bengali …lol… kemon aacho… barir lok kemon aachen…kaj kemon chol chey….so how was it…lol….hehe…anyways…. so hows life treatin u now….. whts new…??… may waheguru ji bless u …..
     
    respect…saurabh…. 

  9. wah!! i dunno how it felt being in the train at tat time.. u sound happy now. thanx for putting this up.

  10. nice. :]
     
    looking forward to something like that.

  11. Soul Mountain must be a good read … en da? Another book I could recommend is … The River Town by Peter Hessler.

  12. what sample? Is it MY fault David Beckham kisses me in dreams…and that hoodie i saw was actually a hottie?
     :-S
     

  13. thats thanks to joining a production team- you just somehow realise that you\’re getting tired while doing the most jobless chores.
    And those dogs saw me everyday for a week. Still they barked each time they saw me..only on the last day they made no noise!
    how are you..and why no update mister?

  14. guess what Horus…….
    >>>>>>>>>>>:D<<<<<<<<<<!!!
    Its raining evry now n thn these days..in Delhi!!
    so, being a rain lover-m njoying the showers, being a good spectator!!
    well, don knw y bt m not gettin drenched in rain…
    may b coz i don hav time, or may b coz…smthin with in me is holdin me back frm doin so!!
    But still m happy…!!
    woooohoooo…
    wa boout u??
    how u doin?
    Tkcr..
    Megha.

  15. zindagi ke kuch thapere
    hila dete hain naav zindagi ki
    ya beh jati hai usse ke bhaav mein
    ya ladti hain bandhagi se
     
    nagme ki koshish mein
    lafazo ne dhoka diya 🙂
    purr kuch likhne ki kashish mein
    bahut kuch keh diya……
     
    how are you doing Horus? was hoping for an update :-)!!
    tc and happiness always
    have a wonderful day!
    sonia

  16. greetings horus
    haven\’t been around for a long while.
    just popped by to say hi.
     
    how\’ve you been keeping?
    simone.
    \\|/

  17. …all the probs relate to, Heart!!

  18. U knw horus..
    at times we are not escapists, but we still let it go , or avert talking or thinking about it!!
    so, perhaps..i dont have anything to share!!:D
    still thnks 4 being thr..n
    yess…
    i need a big ahug!!
    So…m waiting sweeetheart!!

  19. ..indian railways ever so special..chug along Horus!
    Abt the mail helping me I shall send you another mail..but let things get a bit clear..
    cheers
    N

  20. Window Shopper

    Precisely what i wait for on blogs in here …anything but philosophical outrage & sounding celtic all the time.
    This was a lovely reading brother, with words handpicked and soldered well within the circuit by the only technician i know in here.respects
    ..

  21. Arrey I\’m fine ya…Just a little shaken. Spent the time in my CEO\’s house who very courteously offered to take me to town instead of the mad rush towards the suburbs…That much for birthday celebrations. But the worse was that my dad aws in the saem train that blasted at Malad. Thankfully Vile Parle comes before tht and he reached home safe. But lost three colleagues:_( He\’s still in shock and disbelief…
     
    It\’s sick horus… I think I\’m gonna go paranoid in this city…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s