Traveling from Jaipur to Abu road on a train during daytime triggered me an idea of traveling long distances in trains during the daylight, watching the exquisite Indian landscapes.
I executed the idea of this daylight train journeys whenever I had a chance. Whenever I have to travel and have time to extend my plans, I chose daylight train journeys. Likewise, when I had a chance to return to Jaipur. I chose to travel through train canceling my booked flight tickets.
This journey seemed to be the toughest for many reasons. First of all, I couldn't get the tickets easily. I booked a ticket a week ago with waiting list 33 and it got halted at WL17 on the day before journey. Failed booking Tatkal and got a WL3 in that as well. Hoping for a miracle, I waited. Miracle did happen and got WL1 & WL2 in general and Tatkal categories. Amazed by the pace I got cruised through WL and stopped only at 1 & 2.
Next day, I was more diligent in booking and got the ticket booked. HYB-JP. Hyderabad to Jaipur. 8.25PM
Next day, Ouchitya helped me to pack properly and dropped me at Harry's home as well.
Departed from Harry's home at 7.14 bidding bye to Anjali and Harry.
I scrolled down the screen to recheck the ticket. I could glance through these details.
HYB-JP 20:25 27.June.2022 Coach: X1. Seat:XX
All good to go. I'm excited to take this train journey, I thought. I left Harry's house by 7.14 PM, wishing I'd reach by 8PM to have 25 minutes in hand. Looking through the stream of car red lights, 'By what time, can we go?' I enquired the driver. 'By 8.10 PM, we'll be there,' he assured.
Which means, I'll only have 15 minutes to take my luggage out, carry it, reach platform 6 and walk till the coach. I was visualizing myself to be agile to do everything in time.
As the driver promised, he dropped me at the station sharply by 8.10 PM. I quickly got out and carried the bags. Carrying 30kg bags, I decided to skip the bag security check. Yeah, in railway stations, there's an option of entering through exit, exiting through entry. No one gives damn.
As I googled the platform earlier, I decided to walk directly into the platform rather than checking it on the screen. I trudged to the escalator and cruised to the bridge. All the LED boards had one message, 'WELCOME' in bright red dots with background of black screen. Why didn't they put any sign of my train, I thought. As the cold breeze turned into heavy blown cold air, I waited on the bridge for some sign. I walked till the 6th platform and looked down to see the train number display on the coach position screens. To my disappointment, the screens were also blank. I waited for a few more minutes. 8.25. The train has to come here. I checked the phone again about the train running status. The train hasn't started it yet was the update I could get.
Being relaxed, I looked at the platform number again. 6 it was written. I stepped down towards the 6th platform. I went and put my bags down, wondering how this train journey is going to be. I looked at the phone, the empty railway track and the deserted platform.
The whole reason of traveling in train was to catch up with passengers for some candid conversations and I see no one at the platform at all. I approached a lady to enquire, 'Jaipur train yehi platform par aayega na?' She nodded very quickly saying, 'nahi malum.'
Looking at my luggage and the painting I've been carrying since a month, I've started taking some pictures of it in the railway station. Suddenly, I recollected the travel anxiety tales shared by a friend. Recollecting those tales, I thought of my train again. Looked at the phone to check and the train has left and is reaching Secunderabad.
Wait, is it not supposed to start from Kacheguda? If not Kacheguda, where is it coming from? I was puzzled. How many major railway stations are there in Hyderabad, I asked myself a quick Hyderabad GK question. Two. Kacheguda and Secunderbad, I could think of. Renny, you're missing something, I told myself and got the right answer. It's three. Kacheguda. Secunderabad & Nampally.
The train has started from Nampally. HYB stands for Nampally and KCG stands for Kacheguda. I've been booking these tickets since a week and I couldn't think of what code stands for what station.
Without thinking much, I took my bags and began to climb the stairs with so much of pace. 8.43PM, I started climbing stairs. 8.55PM is when train would reach Secunderabad. Without being logical, I ran towards the exit with all the pace, not worrying how I'd fall flat on my face with 30 kgs bag, if I lose out balance in my running.
This time, I ran through the exit searching for an auto. Three autos were placed in line waiting for their customers. 'Secunderabad Jaana hai' I asked. Aa jao, 200 hoga, he responded. Without worrying of the price, 'Jaldi Jaana hai bhai' I dropped three of bags in a trice and started to look through phone.
'Time nahi hai anna. Jaldi jaana hai.' I mentioned it to the Autowala. Understanding the intensity behind time nahi hai, he became the swift super automan vrooming through the chikkadpally lanes. Before I could identify RTC X roads, I was at Musheerabad.
Anna, jaldi Jaana hai, I kept telling him, being anxious of what I'd do if I miss the train. I already post poned this travel and I cancelled my booked flight ticket for this. If I've get onto the train, I'll have to wait till day after tomorrow. Tomorrow to book in Tatkal. Day after tomorrow to begin the journey and then 3 days in the journey. I'd need one more week to reach my work place. Taking 40 day break, I simply didn't wanted to postpone my work anymore!
paanch minute, hum pahunch gaye! He affirmed. All through out this dhoom machaale ride, food delivery person calls asking my whereabouts. I ordered Bawarchi biryani to be delivered at my coach.
"Anna is my train there. I'm still coming to station." I panicked.
"The train is not yet there. It'll be in no time. Come fast." he giggled, "if not, you'll miss it."
Why is he laughing at me? I thought. Is it because, I'd miss train or is it because I'd miss biryani?
Whatever! I thought and focussed again on the road. "Anna, let's go from backside." I directed the super automan. Thinking of the 10th platform, I could think of the train journey with Vikas. We went through 10th platform and ran till the 1st platform then.
Now, I gotta run till 6th platform. To be reassured, I called the food delivery guy to confirm the platform. "Platform no. 6." he confirmed.
Thanking Nazeer bhai, the super auto man who dropped me at the Secunderabad Station safely, I got on my heavy bags and ran as fast as I can. I could only rethink of the way, I ran through these bridges with Vikas, Rathod Bhai and Sandy Bhai.
As I was climbing down the stairs for the 6th platform, I could see women in ghungat and many people gathering in crowd. Yes, this it the Rajasthani crowd, I got double confirmed and went ahead. I reached the place where my coach would come. There was one lad holding a plastic bag and looking at hte phone. I called the food delivery number and he looked at me and greeted with smile, "Train hasn't come yet. Have the food." he handed me the packet.
Two minutes, I looked around and waited, the train arrived. The Jaipur express, the one where I'd spend my next 30 hours or more!