Search This Blog

Monday, August 13, 2007

Southwards bound: Delhi to Goa

It was the afternoon of the 13th of July and we had to catch a train in a few hours. So, we called for a taxi to drop us at the railway station.

As on most such trips, the luggage appeared to be more than absolutely necessary and my brother and I resigned ourselves to the fact that we would have to, well, lug it around throughout the trip. We loaded as much of it as possible into the rear of the hatch-back that was sent for us. I put one of the couple of bags that were left on to my lap and my brother placed the other at his feet, as we set off.

It was a hot and humid day and it did not help at all that the taxi-driver turned out to be friendlier and more talkative than I would have liked him to be. My mother did not seem to mind though and she and my brother chatted with the driver, even as my father and I mostly kept to ourselves throughout the drive that lasted almost an hour.

The 2780 down Goa Express departed on schedule at 1500 hours, from the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station and after securing the luggage under the berths with a couple of iron chains, we settled down for a journey that was expected to last for at least 41 hours.

Besides the batteries of my brother's and my cellphone having run out much before we reached Goa, there were a few more memorable events that occurred on the way.

Near the Raja Ki Mandi station at Agra, we were met by a very repulsive sight. Several men were defecating in the open, near the railway tracks. Now, I had encountered something similar on earlier occasions, while travelling on local trains in the National Capital Region, but what I saw next left me incapable of reacting in any way, for a long time. At the edge of a paved surface along the tracks, squatted a slim, dark, young woman, with her shapely rear-end exposed to public view, as she answered the call of nature. I suppose she represented some perverse form of women's liberation, somewhat similar to the formation of street-gangs by female criminals in the Western countries.

Then, one of the soldiers, all of whom were, apparently, on leave and off to their hometowns, offered to bribe the T. T. E. (Travelling Ticket Examiner) to convert his 'waiting list' ticket into a regular one and to allot him a berth against that. However, since the soldier's ticket had been issued against a 'travel warrant', the T. T. E. was too scared to accept the bribe! So, the soldier could not secure a berth for himself. He tried to spread a sheet on the coach's floor, between my mother's and father's berths, but my mother would not allow him to do that either, since she was afraid that he might cause her to trip and fall, if she were to get up to visit the toilet at night. I think that the soldier should have boarded a general category compartment rather than a reserved one, since that is what all passengers with 'waiting list' tickets are supposed to do, unless their berths are confirmed before boarding the train. Amused as I was at the predicament of the corrupt T. T. E., I felt sad to observe the soldier's dishonesty and also the way Indian Railways treats the men who put their lives on the line for the country's safety and security.

Towards the end of the journey, my parents befriended a gentleman who turned out to be a Kashmiri businessman. He told us that he spends a few months each year at Goa. For the rest of the year, when there are not too many tourists there, he goes back home to Srinagar. He has a shop at Goa that sells Kashmiri carpets and handicraft products. I leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions about how this reflects upon the situation in Kashmir.

Last, but not the least, some of the scenery that went by the train window was rather nice. The photograph posted above was taken somewhere in Maharashtra, as far as I can remember, and shows a rock formation that might just as well have been shaped by man, as by nature.


Sidhusaaheb said...

I know that mountain. We passed it many times while traveling from Delhi to Goa. We had named it ‘thumbs up’ mountain. I have some video footage of it somewhere!!
cyberkitty | Homepage | 08.13.07 – 4:40 pm | #


It definitely does look like a ‘thumbs-up’ sign. I wonder what the story behind it being like that is.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 08.17.07 – 1:51 pm | #


this is a great travel piece – of the alternative variety..
Enjoyed reading it; and I have to follow this trail sometime in the future
will there be a sequel?
Raza Rumi | Homepage | 08.19.07 – 5:10 pm | #


Good one SIdhu, Where is the rest of the journey, come out with it bit by bit.
MP | Homepage | 08.20.07 – 2:42 am | #


@Raza: Thanks for the appreciation! I sincerely hope that you’ll be able to do that very soon.

I aim at writing a sequel, and then some more.

@MP: Thanks! I’ll try to do that.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 08.20.07 – 8:40 am | #


Sidhusaheb – the rock formation you saw is called Habdi-chi Shendi (Hadbi’s ‘top knot’ choti). One can see it 3km out of Manmad station on the right (if you travel towards Daund) and to the left (if you travel towards Mumbai).

More photos here…/ p24351989.html General…g_0655.jpg.html
nomad | Homepage | 08.20.07 – 1:20 pm | #


Ah…Finally, the legendary Nomad has posted a comment on my blog!

You’re right. This was on our right, a little way off Manmad (My Ma purchased some resins there, which, I believe, were locally produced and packed.). So, now I know what it’s called.

Am off to check out the photos now…
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 08.21.07 – 3:56 pm | #


the journey must have been fun! it remind me of the time when i had gone from mumbai to goa with my family…it was amazing!
malaika rizwi | Homepage | 08.25.07 – 1:59 pm | #


Oh wow .. sounds a fabulus journey

For how many days you people stayed in goa – 44 hrs one way is a long journey but the fun of train is scores of people you observe and meet in the way and teh sight-seeing :>

In winters maza of “garam anday” makes the fun double fold

I’d love to read sequels of this as your tour de Pakistan tale … so oil up your fingers sir :P
Asma | Homepage | 08.26.07 – 8:32 pm | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

@Malaika: It was, indeed, a lot of fun.

I hope you’ll soon be able to find the time to blog about your trip too.

@Asma: Absolutely!

We were there for about 2 days.

You are right about the train journey. We enjoyed ready-made meals served by the Railways (including roti, subzi, daal and chaawal), besides packs of andaa-biryaani, bottles of sweetened, flavoured milk and soft drinks, etc., besides sweets like peDey.

As for the sequel(s), Mademoiselle’s wish is my command!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 08.26.07 – 11:33 pm | #


Hey I want to have a sip of that sweetened, flavored milk…plz plz plz :P
Btw the taxi driver seems to be a very friendly person :D and abt that liberal aunty…I have heard that such liberal ladies are found in Cyprus too.
Fariha Akhtar | Homepage | 08.27.07 – 7:31 pm | #


Awww…mera inna wada saara comment kithay gaya…not fair….i asked u for a sip of doodh aur tussi mera sarra comment kha gaye..bad!
Fariha Akhtar | Homepage | 08.27.07 – 7:39 pm | #


hehe…You’ll have to visit India for that.

The taxi driver was garrulous!

Meanwhile, it was not an auntie, but a young woman, somewhere in her late teens to early twenties. I wonder how tourists in Cyprus react to that kind of a sight.

Tey comment taaN aithhay hi hai janaab. Ik waari pher vekho taaN sahi!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 08.28.07 – 12:23 am | #