Thursday, September 13, 2007

ONLY ONE ADVICE : Never get into a KSRTC

At the fabled marine drive in Kochi!!
Rare non motorcycle diary:
Kochi – The Queen of Arabia

The day started off as usual. Nothing much to do. Pretty much the usual college going day. PMG, one of our teachers told us that there would be a workshop in the evening where we would have to teach the newcomers how to make paper bags at the eco club. And that is what we actually did – we were making paper bags, and instead of the required 25 bags (as there were only 25 newcomers) we made almost around 40 or something bags. Anywho in the middle of all this, I receive a message. But I was too busy teaching all these people how to make paper bags (and the fact that I had forgotten how to make paper bags made me more interested in the bags than anything else). But my phone has the habit of sending me alerts every ten minutes. And then after the last bag, I looked at my phone and guess what – it was my best friend – Anusha!!! She was really missing me out there and she needed somebody to give her some company and she asked me as to whether I could make it to Kochi the next day. I called her up and she was quite glad that I did. But then she had a kind of guilty feeling. She didn’t want to disturb me. But I got real tough with her. I asked her to think it over and asked to her after half an hour that as to whether I should come tomorrow. And she said – YES!!!!

Well, now begins the part where I’ve got to use my head. Now if I were to tell my mom that I was going to Kochi to meet up with Anusha, she would not kill me, but she would surely guess that I’ve got some ‘chakkar’ going on with Anusha. If my dad was here, he would have understood better. By de by, Anusha likes my dad better. Yeah, so I decided to use the usual lie and escape treatment. I bought in my accomplice for the crime – Harish. I told him that he should tell my mom that we were going for a tour to Athirapilly waterfalls. And it worked, except for the fact that my brother tried to disturb the trip by discouraging Harish a little!!! But that was not to happen!!! And then I went and booked the Volvo bus to Kochi at the KSRTC bus station. And then I left for Harish’s place to stay over for the night! And there I was at Harish’s place talking to everyone on his phone, which has unlimited free calls to all Airtel numbers within the state!!! Talked to his girlfriend Jisha, Fath, Adu and loads of others!

Anyways that was just the night. I got up early in the morning and then saying bye to his family, Harish dropped me at the KSRTC (the state run bus service of Kerala – the Kerala Road Transport Corporation) bus station, from where I got into the Volvo A/C bus to Kochi. Now funny thing – just within an hour and a half to our journey, we broke down at this place before Kunnamkulam!!! And bloody the conductor didn’t even refund our money (which we found out only after coming to Calicut). Anywho we were ushered into a fast passenger bus (which did not have A/C) and taken to Thrissur! We had to wait at the bus station over there, until the nest fast passenger to Thiruvananthapuram came there, and then we were ushered into that bus! (It was one of the worst bus rides I had ever got into) (And the fact that I was getting such a service after paying Rs. 206 is what eats my head!!). Anywho, I suffered it all since I really wanted to see Anusha and she too wanted to see me real badly!!! And then panting and sweating, I knew I had reached the cosmopolitan city of Kochi, since the bus as no more moving at the usual pace and you are encountered by a traffic signal every now and then!!! And the fact that it was sweltering hot and that you also got a headache helps in the fact that you knew you were in this city which I don’t like too much!!! Anywho, next on I dropped myself off at the Kaloor bus station and then caught the next bus to Marine Drive, that’s where the Bay Pride Mall is situated and that’s where Anu is gone be!!! And then again I reached there at a snail’s pace!!! After almost an hour I was at my destination and then it was all normal after that!!

There was my friend, let me correct that again, my best friend, Anusha going through hoards of cards in the Archie’s Gallery on the first floor of bay pride mall. I wanted to hug her as soon as I saw her. But it was all different than I had imagined it. There was no hugging, only the usual ‘hi’, ‘was sup’ and the following. We immediately got out of the shop and we were like where should we go to have lunch. We had quite a few options and then we decided on the food court in Bay Pride Mall. And so there we were sitting on a table for four, waiting for our order of burgers, fries and Pepsi. We talked for a quite a while and we ate (or rather Anusha ate so slowly) that we finished our lunch only in around an hour and a half i guess. Anywho, after that we talked more and then Anusha went and ordered the Joey’s chocolate cake (I had named it Joey’s chocolate after watching an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S in which Joey eats this totally sumptuous chocolate cake with so much chocolate all over it that your water starts watering almost immediately as you see it). Anywho enough of making your mouth water already. So after that we decided to buy each other gifts and we were again in Archie’s Gallery. While she bought me something, I was outside getting money from the ATM. And then I went in and bought her a gift – a book titled – “101 reasons why I love you”. I know it’s kinda cheesy, but let me tell you, this place from where we are buying all this is damn-damn-damn (yeah three times damn) expensive. I was lucky that I found that book at a reasonable price. So after carrying each other’s gifts we decided to take a walk on the marine drive. And we walked and we walked and we talked and we talked. I wanted to take some pics of hers, so I went on clicking my (actually ma friend Nawab’s) camera again and again. In the end I decided that a video would do me better. So I took a video. And in the meantime, we exchanged our gifts and you should have seen what she got me – a cute little huggable teddy. It was totally adorable and I am glad that she thought of me the first time she saw it. It gives you a feeling that someone actually does like you after all. Anywho by the time all this happened, time had passed by so quickly, yet so slowly that it was time for the bye byes. We caught the bus to the railway station and she sat with me till I reached the station. (Yeah people no more KSRTC’s for me). I took the ticket to Calicut for the executive. And as usual the train was way beyond its normal arriving time. So at around five it came around, and then it was the way back!!!!

Anywho, once again I am in this one hell of a train. It’s so crowded that I am able to keep only one foot at the place where I am standing. But after three or four stops, things eased a bit, until we reached this station called Shoranur. Now Shoranur is this junction from where trains are passed to two different tracks of railway lines in Kerala, and usually trains stop there around for at least ten minutes. So I thought, why not go and have some ‘vada’ and ‘chutney’. I had my fill, and I was buying a bottle of water and drinking when guess who comes along? My cousin (who is very close to my big bro), and I was like – “shit, all my planning is down the drain”. But being as diplomatic as I could, I totally veered away from where I had been to with the conversation with him. And he moved on, as he was in some bogies down my bogey. And whilst I was drinking my water, I heard a familiar sound go off in the distance. And before I knew it, the train was moving. There was this mad rush for people to get into the train, that somehow I got one leg in, and then the other, and all the time hanging to the side bars on the edge of the door, and before I knew it, I was sandwiched in between the people who were trying to get in and the other people who were not pushing into the bogey as they should have. Somehow as the train gathered speed we were slowly finding ourselves reaching the inside of the bogey. A lot of people fussed about this and then again we were back to the normal rush hour within the train. And then immediately after this we had a scuffle in our bogey between an alcoholic and a drug addict. But as they say Indians tolerate much, but after a while they react. And they did this time too. They shut both the intoxicated men and it was back to peace.

at the station

At around 9.30 we reached the Calicut Railways station. Harish had come to pick me up. And from there I traveled to the KSRTC to see if I would get a refund from y wasted Volvo bus trip!! And surprise surprise….looks like the conductor had to pay us after all. So there went my 206 rupees down the drain. Never again would I get into a KSRTC after that (but if somebody else’s is eager to take me a ticket I wouldn’t mind that), but otherwise the point of writing this whole blog – I know that India can be quite a scary place to come down and have a holiday and stuff. But then again we are not so bad. We are people with heart. They say man is an extortionist, and we ain’t nothing more than that man. But whatever comes, in the end you have the adventure you were looking for. And that’s exactly what I had in this single day. Then again I have just one advice for you people who are coming down to Kerala to do – Never ever try (yeah, don’t even try) to get into a KSRTC. That’s all and that’s what it is all about!!!