Monday, November 19, 2007

AC-3 or AC third class

DELHI (19 Nov) I bet you know I am pissed off because this post is being written after 1 am. I can't shake off the feeling that the Indian Railways with its offering of "the mo*^%&#-f$%^#ing AC-3 tier coach", along with my co-passengers, is out to screw me, have a smoke, then come back to screw me again. I present the following evidences:

1. The compartment, including the side berths, is meant to seat eight. However the passengers in my compartment have approximately 287 people to see them off. And they all squeeze in or stand in the aisle, leaving no room for genuine passengers. All of them wait till the last millisecond before getting off the train. This is accompanied by shrieks of "arey train chal padi!!", as if we paid all that money to go sit in a stationary claustrophobic cell.

2. Atleast one person attempts to swap seats. He offers a seat, usually a middle berth (Murphy's law) in a compartment 20 coaches away, or sometimes in the adjacent train. "Travelling together" is a big deal even in the night trains. If there is no such person, nocturnal predators with wait-listed tickets are usually on the prowl for confirmed ticket holders who can "adjust" for a few hours. Since I am a bachelor with the innocent face of a sucker, I can't escape being gang-adjusted repeatedly by a series of wait-listers. My medical results reveal that I may never recover from this severe trauma.

3. Atleast one of the co-passengers carries luggage that will put an Antarctic expedition to shame. Consequently, the entire floor space plus halves of two berths and the aisle become full, allowing only someone with the skill-level of Bob Beamon to make it across to the bathroom. Oh! and needless to say, all that hunk of luggage will not have a single book to read on the way, except "Stardust" which will be over by the time the train pulls out of the platform.

4. The presence of atleast one baby in my compartment is mandatory. And if the baby's bawling and howling is insufficient, the parents make repairs by throwing in some brain-dead baby talk. The baby talk comprises of atmost three sentences of the kind "Ale Ale Ale baby kyon lo laha hai...", "deko deko bahar doggie hai cow hai pigeon hai...aley waah aley waah" and "chalo mamma paas chalenge, abhi beta soyega, raaja beta soyega" and so forth. These three sentences will be repeated in an infinite loop until the mother dies of dehydration or I puncture my ear drums, whichever happens first. If the baby talk does not suffice, the dad usually initiates a suave and sophisticated game, like pulling a coin out of the baby's ass, thus cementing his skills as a magician, and the kid becomes all wonder-eyed thinking "Holy Shit! My ass did that ??" With all this talk of babies, I'm tempted to use the pun "berth control" here but I am sure it has been used a million times already.

5. The person on the lower berth feels "sleepy" at 8:30pm, just two seconds after s/he finishes dinner, forcing the others to retire. Unless I am the lower berth owner, in which case, I won't be allowed to sleep before 2:30am. Even then, a group of wait-listers will suddenly materialize to sleep in the aisle, thereby giving a new meaning to "sleepovers". (Question: Is throwing bread crumbs at the bums sleeping on the floor impolite? More importantly, should I use brown bread?)

6. The person on the middle berth will sleep the longest, turning the rest of us into Hunchbacks of Notre Dame. On being woken up, he/she will generally give an Oscar winning "oh am I causing any trouble" look. The rest of us have, ofcourse, already been woken up by the obnoxious tea seller at 5:45am, who usually passes on secret information of the kind "abhi Aligarh cross kiya hai" along with the freaking mud water that passes for tea.

7. All the bathrooms will be occupied till 2pm, so the elderly uncle will lose all pretense of good manners, and will let loose the dogs of hell, otherwise known as the farting guns of Navarone. While the more adventurous of us can start guessing which pickle did uncleji have with aalo and rajma last night, I prefer to lean outside the door, looking for the next electric pole to bang my head into.

8. Needless to say, a delay by a few hours is to be expected. For example, my "superfast express train" after Diwali took 21 instead of 14 hrs, and this was a good day I was told. The last 20 kms took more than two hours. Hell! I could have run faster than that. Shameless self-advertising ends here.

Next time, I am travelling in the cargo hold of the first airplane that I see.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good one!

Manish

Vandana said...

LOL!! Hilarious.. Was reminded of my many many train trips during my student days. Of course we travelled 2nd Class.. (much more crowded) and sometimes stayed up entire nights chatting or playing antakshari... much to the annoyance of our fellow travellers.. he he he :-)
By the way in US.. the flights are way worse than trains..

Anonymous said...

this post's "AWESOME"...way too good.

Asterix said...

@Manish, anon: Thanks

@Vandana: 2nd class coaches in trains to and from Bihar are usually out of bounds. I have found that out first hand.

Tweety said...

ROTFL.....
This one really tickled me :) You are back with your usual brand of humor !
Amazing stuff... possible to relate to (or have witnessed) each of those incidents on my numerous train journeys on the konkan kanya !

pat-on-the-back !

Cheers,
Tweety

Mudra said...

Lol... All true, all true... I hate sleepy middle-berthers too. But if you're on a school trip or something (i.e. if you have several consecutive compartments to yourselves) nothing can be more fun!

PS - Do not forget that you were "Alelelele"-ed to in your own childhood as well.

PPS - Get rid of the word verification, will you?

acidity said...

Aaah, finally you are back with another of your masterpience.

Great writing....cracked me up....

"Holy shit, my ass can do that..." - priceless!

Asterix said...

@tweety: Thanks. Good to know that my misery is your source of amusement. I am glad I didn't post the North-East express story.

@mudra: Thanks. You are right, nothing beats raising mayhem with 50 classmates on a train. I fondly remember my college trip from Chennai to Delhi. For the record, I was not Ale-Ale-Aled in my childhood. Beaten yes, ale-aled no. Now you know why I am the way I am ;-) And no, the word verification is here to stay. Otherwise I will attract comments from Viagra sellers -- Its against my principles to purchase Viagra without a partner.

@acidity: Thanks. Long time no see. Btw once when the kid's mom was doing the "pigeon doggie" routine, the kid had a "oh you gotta be shitting me" look all plastered over his face.

Tweety said...

And yeah btw.... I do heartily agree with mudra that you have also *definitely* been 'alelele'-ed in train compartments - at least till you were big (and sober enough) to remember any spankings !!!

And yeah... one more "word verfication" hurdle to overcome now !!!!

Asterix said...

@tweety: hey! stop copy-pasting others' comments ;-)

Mudra said...

@asterix: You're just trying to bluster out of having to admit that you were "alelele"-ed to *too*. So there.

And argh to that word verification.

Tweety said...

Well it was certainly not a 'copy-paste' as you put it, since I did cite the original author.

Besides I strongly second the theory that you have certainly spent many long empty hours on train journeys being *alelele*-ed while still in your diapers !!! With ever-advancing age, memory has slowly started failing you ;-) Hence the reason for absolutely no recollections of having been amused with mindless-talk during your train exploits as a baby :)

And if you still refuse to accept this, then I guess all I can say is you have no doubt come a long way since your 'alelele' days and grown up - albeit only physically :)

P.S. Word verification *seriously* sucks !

Anonymous said...

Dude...this was just too good!..you have outshined "gunda" this time...kudos!
Keep posting such blogs...

Asterix said...

@mudra, @tweety: Why is it so hard to believe that I was not ale ale-ed in my childhood? FYI, I was a very well behaved baby ;-) As long as I got to sit at the window and gawk at the pigeons and doggies, I was content, unlike the babies today. And btw, please let the poor word verification be! It is my last line of defense against viagara and porn sellers.

@anon: Thanks. You seem to be the only one on my side!

Kusum Rohra said...

This post comes at a very apt time. I will be travelling in a train (for the 2nd time in my life) from chennai to trichy soon :) :)

I have made extensive notes. Will ask all my friends in chennai to come see me off, will carry huge luggage, will ask random single sucker looking blokes for exchanging seats, I will be on the lower berth so I guess I will force people to retire when I want I will try to use some non-existing charm :), I will carry ear pads to block the babies yelling or the *shudder* baby talk, will carry books for the delay :)

Thanks :)

Asterix said...

@kusum: Be very very careful. There is a whole bunch of loons travelling on Indian trains. You and me, just to name two of them. And if a baby cries, recite one of your blog posts to him. Either he will laugh so hard to cause a diaper change, or will bang his head on the window. Either way, the problem will be solved.

zahid said...

Hilarious !!!!extremely hilarous !!!

Was laughing all the time!!!!

But train journey isnt all that pelting...I do it all the time. And nothign of such actually happened to me...except of course the baby (which really sucks)

May be good happens with good people and such tragedies with people who invite can of worms themsleves(saw it in ur profiel)

cheers and check me up !!!

Wanderlust said...

Excellently put mate !!! But one must admit that train journeys are a lot more fun than the boring flights where even farts are appreciated by the air-hostesses.."Very Well Done Sir..Encore Encore !""

Asterix said...

@zahid: Thanks man! I haven't invited the worms though. Just waiting for them to arrive anytime soon.And good luck squeezing all the mileage out of your spectacles :)

@wanderlust: Thanks dude! It seems like I have been travelling with the wrong airlines ;-) By the way, I have been to your blog before and am a fan.

Ashish said...

thats cool post dude... in this role I have become frequent on Delhi - Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Jalandhar route and have experienced the same stuff. In Punjab if you travel anything less than Executive class in Shatabdi its like a taboo!! Train is like NRI Coach only diff is accented cry babies and accented good byes...

Aur how r u liking Mumbai?

Udipi Ghosh said...

absolute hilarious!!!way to go........

Asterix said...

@ashish, @udipi: Thanks. I have been on Punjab bound Shatabdis. Yes, the air is rife with fake accents and jhappi-shappis.

Anonymous said...

Came here via blogchaat. Nice place you have here. Definitely bookmarking this blog.

Arun said...

Simply *hilarious* !!!! This is the best blog I've heard in a long time (now now, don't get excited, I haven't read *any* blog for a long time :p). If I were to experience my train travel experience, this would be it but slightly worse. And how on this earth could you miss out on those amazingly irritating and scary (well atleast I get scared of them when they enter my compartment) eunuchs. May be they aren't allowed in AC-3 :D. This post made my day really !!!

Anonymous said...

kickass post... you are two good. You should also write "Rahul's 10 point someone" :)