The day the Earth didn’t stand still for me

It all started when I decided to go to Victoria Terminus, now Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, to catch my train to Madras. I have a tendency to be paranoid about trains and missing them so I left an hour before the departure time. Granted this would only give me fifteen minutes at the station but hey, I’m a seasoned passenger. I’ve travelled on more trains than most fifth graders can count. I don’t need more than that. Well, turns out I did. And that explains just what I’m doing here at the airport, trying to get the so-called wifi to work.

The damn flight’s been delayed too. Have you ever wondered about that? Why are the things you’d rather get done fast usually the one’s delayed? I could have settled for ten minutes more in the morning. Coming back to that, this thing applies there too. A very helpful suburban local came fifteen minutes late and reluctantly bore me to the station. Too late, apparently. I listened, calmly incredulous, as the lady explained to me “1041? Wo gaya”. Not a trace of emotion on her face, not a flicker of embarrassment for having flagged off a train while its most important passenger was still biting his nails on a crippled local that was happily trundling its way through Dockyard Road.

One day, I shall find the people who did this to me. I will travel from village to town to city, the smell of guilt strong in my nostrils. I shall wander across deserts and hills…and rivers, or what passes for those here, and I will reach a city of great splendour. With the memory of this railway betrayal fresh in my mind I will roam the streets, my eyes scouring the signs for the place I want. And I’ll know it when I see it, and I’ll barge in, smashing the door down, all rage and fury. And then, just as I draw myself up, just as I scream out, “I am become revenge, destroyer of rails.” in impassioned anger I’ll realise that I’m looking at a mirror.

The wifi doesn’t work either.

9 thoughts on “The day the Earth didn’t stand still for me

  1. I once had to catch a train from Kharagpur to Calcutta for a flight that left at 5:30 AM. The plan was to catch a train around 9PM the previous night, travel for two hours to Calcutta, and spend the entire night goofing off, which is my usual operating hours.

    Me and a friend head to the Local station to find that every train is late. Later than the guy says it’ll be. I finally board the train at 3AM, with grumpy and sleepy parents, who decided to cancel the ticket, assuming I won’t get there in time. And booking a 7AM flight, four hours before the flight departs, despite my protests to try and get on the regular flight.

    The worst part is that I reach Calcutta airport at 5AM, by a miracle, my regular 5:30 flight is delayed to 11AM, and I’m so exhausted, I nearly miss my new flight.

    Ever since then, I very strongly oppose flying back to Bangalore. It’s a 40 hour journey by a direct train, and totally worth it.

    When I get rich, I’m going to buy Howrah railway station and turn it into a parking lot.

  2. Holy Jesus, Anirudh, I feel much better now, at least I didn’t experience twelve hours worth of delays. And about Howrah station, while you’re at it, do something about those cheating cabbies too. Rs. 120 from Howrah to Sealdah!

    Chitra, yes it is, indeed. I am happiness incarnate, now.

    Marc, ha ha, I got quite a kick out of that. I was waiting for someone to react.

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