I’ll give this another shot then.
I packed very little, because I take great pride in travelling light, and then borrow or buy most things when I get to my destination. But I didn’t forget my trusty maroon shawl because I have a great horror of feeling cold, feeling hungry, and needing to visit restrooms on train trips. The shawl wouldn’t be too useful for the latter two (unless in desperate circumstances) but the very knowledge that my big red shawl glowed quietly to itself in my tiny overnight bag made me feel positively toasty.
Of course I had to take out a lot of other things to make space for it: like the lower halves of all my outfits and toothpaste, but it was a minor sacrifice. And I had no use for my shawl because they give you blankets on trains and once I reached Hyd the friends I was visiting rolled over laughing at the sight of it; because well, it was Hyderabad in July.
Anyhow, I get ahead of myself. I asked around at work about how long it might take to get to the railway station from work (distances are stupid in this city) and I got advice ranging from 3 hours to an hour. So me being me, I left 3 hours in advance, and again, as is usual with me, I reached my platform two whole hours before scheduled departure.
I perched myself on a bench under the relatively merciful Bangalore sun and swung my legs as I read my book about teenage vampires. Profound literature is a MUST on long train journeys. The platform was entirely innocent of fellow passengers, so I kept the dogs and several unsavoury characters company until some people started trickling in.
This last paragraph will give you the impression that I serenely passed the time reading my vampire book; but that isn’t entirely true. Every 12 minutes or so: I would root around in my bag for my ticket; inspect it as if for the first time in case I had got something wrong, like the day, or the coach, or the train; and then…affecting a casual attitude, I would carelessly hoist my bags and water bottle over my shoulder and amble over to the train that was still locked up tight. I would then proceed to scan the list of passengers and locate my name; and ensure it hadn’t, by some dark magic, vanished off the page since the last time I checked (viz. 12 minutes ago). Satisfied that it was still there; and telling myself that it was too late in my life for another Ushasi Sen Basu to crop up in the same compartment; I would try the door handle once more and saunter back, relieved for the time being.
This I did for two hours. But despite all this activity I unfortunately managed to finish most of my vampire book; which left me with only a few pages when I finally boarded the train.
(To be Continued...promise to be in Hyderabad by the next post)