September 02, 2005

Fast action

Train vignette time again.

***

At Panvel station, there are three poles towards one end of the platform. One has a bent and twisted sign, as if someone has been bashing it, and it says "Please Be in Que". I imagine someone got sick of being in Que, perhaps he wanted to get out. Or perhaps he wanted to be in queue. And he started pummeling the sign.

Naturally, this also reminded me of a Tshirt I own. It has several sheikhs on it, and it says "Aap Qatar mein hai; You are in Q." (If you don't follow, get an Indian who remembers trunk calls to explain).

But this is, of course, about Panvel station.

Second pole has a plastic bag hanging from it, stuffed in which are several loaves of bread.

Third pole has several -- 7, 8? -- gleaming silver locks attached to it.

And then we've left Panvel.

***

Roha is home to the Dr CD Deshmukh and Sally Tamhane Arts College. Now there's a name I may never ever forget.

***

I'm dozing over my book. In a waking moment, I look out and in the distant dusk, I see a young man in a blue shirt tending his green fields. I doze again, and when I wake up some indeterminate time later, I see a young man in a blue shirt tending his green fields. How curious, I think! Two identical scenes!

The third time this happens, the reality penetrates my sleepy mind. We are actually stopped at tiny Kolad station, and that's the same young man in the same green field. We stop at Kolad, inexplicably, for half an hour.

***

Half an hour later, we stop for another half an hour, at Mangaon. This time I fight sleep by getting off and asking a passing tea vendor -- Chai, garam garam chai! -- for a cup. He serves another man just before he gives me my cup, and while he's pouring out mine, the man splutters in his tea and barks, "This is not hot, this is cold!"

To which the vendor's reply is, "No, it's hot!"

How do you resolve this?

I get my cup, and the truth is, they're both right. It's sort of lukewarm. It also tastes unmistakably of boiled and reboiled and rereboiled and then boiled again tea leaves. Quite the worst cup of tea I have had in years. But by the time I realize that, the vendor has scurried far down the platform, and I can hear his mournful call: Chai, garam garam chai!

***

The woman in the next compartment has a smart duffel bag. It is labeled: "New Comon Fast Action."

7 comments:

km said...

Dilip, do railway station vendors have a "National Coalition to Serve Dilip A Bad Cuppa"? I remembered your post about drinking the worst coffee ever (or was it lassi?) on another railway station :))

Krishna

Twilight Fairy said...

hi Dilip,
Thanks for leaving that comment on salibandy game and that link..it was quite interesting to note that archaeological dig! For all I know I may have walked over ancient civilizations without even knowing it! :).. I read your comment only today!

This current post reminds me of a train journey I made by Karnataka express and then blogged about such things later :)

Emma said...

Before I came here, I read your post on adoption , and left a comment on the same. I realize it is an old post, but do take a look at the comment.

Dilip D'Souza said...

km, you are a sharp man! Thatwas the worst mosambi juice, actually. But shh, don'ttell anyone, there is such a Coalition. I'm the President.

Fairy, you'll love salibandy. If you're interested in that dig and others, send me email ddd AT rediff DOT co DOT in. I'll put you in touch.

Emma, please send me a note at the same address.

Vinod Khare said...

Hi,
Lovely post, I must say. I actually made me relive various train journeys I've had. Sometimes I feel that to experience real India you have to travel by train. Not a new bit of wisdom, is it? A man called Gandhi did it years ago!

MAHARAJADHIRAJ said...

Very e-vocative!! Have too written a sumthing on train tracks called Fallen Ladders... do read it on ma blog.

arzan said...

train journesy in india...nothing beats it.

have done the eurail backpack 3 month spiel...twice...but nothing compares to the dozens of cross country train rides ive done in India.