Talk about using multiple medium of transport in the same day and deciding within them in no time. With all the mixed feelings of leaving Mumbai, when I reached CST at 5 am sharp owing to my habit of being in time to catch my train, I was greeted by the coolies who with a straight face informed me about the delay. Rather delay seems to be an understatement. My train got delayed by 10 hours from the boarding point which basically implied by the time I complete my 27 hours journey to reach TATA, I would be running late by atleast 14 to 15 hours. For a second I felt if this is any indication to not leave the city and then snapped out of it as quickly as possible after reminding myself of the multiple signals I got to chase my other dream. For a few minutes, I really didn’t know what to do. So, I took the easiest way out. I called my dad for he has answers to almost all of my doubts. The problem in taking the delayed train was not of reaching late but being fully exposed to the upcoming verdict on Ayodhya and the risks of travelling after the sun sets in a stretch of almost 70 kms dominated ad ruled by the Naxalites. While the former was just a stretched form of precaution which I knew my concerned family would have wanted me to take, the latter was matter of common sense. No sane person would travel on that route once dusk settles. Even the police don’t. So why should I.
So now it was about which flight to take as I knew I am soon going to contribute big time in increasing the revenues of the loss making airline companies by not just paying for my tickets, but also for the excess luggage which was packed keeping in mind a train journey. Any which way, I rushed to the airport and for a change was pleased by the fact that I could still get the morning flight which was 2 grands cheaper than the one I was contemplating to book. However, the happiness simply vanished and I literally gasped for breath when I saw the total weight of my luggage. Well It was a little more than what one of my (ex)-roomies weighed, when he had his diet in control. I pleaded, negotiated, threatened and possibly used all the word and jargon I had in my kit to waive off some of the charges on excess baggage. But, I knew, I had no position to bargain and so the asshole sitting on the other side of the table took complete advantage of it and I ended up being a victim of corporate pricing of the luxury of carrying excess baggage to an extent which made me hate JET Airways. And, when I realized, I have paid more for my luggage than my ticket, it simply exaggerated my plight. Within few hours, I had ruthlessly reduced my hard earned money at a job which I just quit.
And amidst all this I yearned for some sleep which I hadn’t had for last 48 hours or more. But I guess, I had to remain deprived of that basic human need for quite some time. The problem is I can’t sleep in flight. So I just remained awake and even tough I was really hungry, I made sure I act miser enough to not pay even a dime more to the airline company which just took advantage of my situation.
I reached Kolkata, and was greeted by a hot and humid weather and people with moustache (which for many was denser than the ones present on the top of the skull. The prepaid taxi counter denied me a direct cab to my destination for apparently no good reason, once again leaving me to the mercy of the taxi cartel outside airport whose bread and butter comes from looting the newcomers through tampered meters and unreasonable fares. Anyways, for a change I wasn’t in that entire bad situation, as I did happen to have some idea of the city and so was able to cut a pretty decent deal. And for people who say Mumbai traffic sucks and Kolkata isn’t all that a metropolitan city, well it at least had a traffic worse than what we have in Mumbai or Delhi. The duration of my flight time and taxi time basically matched.
The bright side of the entire episode till now was, I got to meet my cousin after a very long time ad we had a good chit chat. Fortunately, I also could get a ticket to Dhanbad, which I didn’t really expect. After having a good time there, I once again left for the station hour and a half early which is generally a 5 minutes travel. But as expected today, transport hasn’t been the brightest side, I barely made it to the station 5 minutes before the departure, dripping with sweat and gasping for some air. I had a total recall of how I missed Rajdhani a few years back in a similar situation. Though History didn’t repeat itself and I could safely board the train.
And here I am now waiting to get down at Dhanbad and then drive back to my sweet home. The feeling of being back at home has already taken over me and I am only wondering what I am going to have for my dinner. I am so much waiting for my late night long walks with Dad on our terrace. It had been a long while and it is once again going to be a long journey away from home after a fortnight. Till then, I hope, I have a great time with my family.