Returning to Bombay from anywhere has never been as painful as this particular journey. It all began with me and my friend picking up our lazy asses on 25th evening to catch a train from Chengalpattu station, Chennai. Travelling by train was a mistake, we went one step ahead and boarded the train with our tickets still not confirmed. And we all have seen how waiting passengers are treated.
Train departed from Chennai at 6 pm and we were told by the lousy ticket examiner that we cannot rest our butts until Tirupati which was four hours away. Disappointed and already tired we started looking around only to realise almost the entire train was to get empty at Tirupati. Relief.
We stopped at one bogie and sat besides a certain Mr. Ramesh Chandra. Was a sweet man aged around 55 and was from Jammu. Told us they are a huge group who had to pay 6K to some guide for a south-tour. I was interested more about the place he hailed from as J&K has always intrigued me. I diverted the conversation
to the constant unrest in J&K and wanted his views on the same. Born and brought up in Jammu, Mr. Ramesh – a shopkeeper – told me how badly certain Pakistani muslims in Kashmir want to separate Kashmir from India. Its these particular group of anti-social irrational muslims are responsible for every unrest, and even though Jammu has more of hindu population as opposed to less muslim population in Kashmir, these muslims manage to grab maximum seats in the constituency. They get to call the shots each time. It was nice to hear all this first-hand.
Four hours flew and we did not have a hint of what was to follow. Train halted at Tirupati and all the passengers unboarded except for maybe just two of us. And in no time close to seven hundred bald people took over the entire train. They were supposed all travelling back to Bombay after their annual trip to the bald town. They sure did remind the rich god of Bombay‘s existence in India. Imagine my horror of watching seven hundred bald heads, all travelling to the same place.
At close to 2 pm, one of them offered the two of us a seat so we could sleep. And we immediately surrendered ourselves to our puny eyes. I spent the entire next day (that is 26th) watching them making fun of anyone who was not one of them.
Nevertheless I have managed to complete this seemingly impossible journey back home and I am all set to chill now. Lessons learnt – Get confirmed tickets and make sure nothing religious falls in between my departure and destination points.