"Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its root into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write." Rainier Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ever seen an Angel !

Ah it was heaven ! She has not had this much time to herself in quite a while and maanvi was so happy to be finally travelling alone and having all the time in the world for herself. She had so much on her hands,it was impossible to grasp the possibilities of all the adventure. Maanvi was sitting in the AC compartment of a Delhi bound train  from Chennai and couldn't imagine her luck at having absolute bliss of 40 hours at hand. All she had done so far,was gaze at the beautiful scenery out from the train window,read a novel and sip over gallons of hot coffee.

A temple in Chennai
It is absolutely wonderful and thrilling to be able to experience the beauty and ease with which the landscape had changed from coconut trees and colourful temples of Tamil nadu and Hyderabad to rough terrain of Maharashtra to the hustle and bustle of busy Madhya pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and finally she will be reaching New Delhi the next morning. No...she didn't want this journey to end. She thought sadly as she absent mindedly gazed over often read and re-read volume of Harry Potter-the Deathly Hallows.

All she wanted to do was to read this novel and sip hot coffee from the train pantry and gaze outside at the beautiful world speeding past her.

Chennai Central

Saravana Bhavan at Chennai Central
She loved the vast Chennai central and having idli-sambhar at the Saravana Bhavan,as much as she loved to have a cup of piping hot coffee in the middle of night at Warangal. She loved to stand at the edge of the train door at Vijaywada when the train roared past the mighty Krishna river.The thrill of the roaring waters of Krishna below and the lights at the bank of the cities ! 

Krishna River at Vijaywada
You have got to experince it, to feel it. Truck-loads of words are not befitting for it...not even close ! Then somwhere in the plains of Maharashtra comes a beautiful place called Gandhigram,a small town and believe me when i say, it looks as non-violent as it sounds ! She would get down at the Nagpur station to be pushed and shoved in the crowd,all for a glass of fresh juice of Nagpur oranges :) She would admire the city of Bhopal and would wake up early to check it out. Did you know bhopal has a slum running alongside the railway tracks and it might as well be the cleanest slum in India ! Well most of the times she would sit and stare as the train passed those slums and wonder if her room was as much clean as those slums ! Probably not :)

Somwhere down south :)
Well yeah she would miss all of that immensely. Even the excitement of finally finishing up college and returning back home could not cheer her up from the fact that this might have been her last journey,and suddenly there was yelling somewhere. All the people got up and craned their necks to find the epicenter of all the commotion and there she saw a passenger shouting at the AC car attendant. Pffew what a ruckus...and then there were talks of all the laziness of the attenders and how they would never get in clean sheets until you pound them up(verbally ofcourse). Many had stories about how public has to revert to strict measures to get the work done and pretty much quickly the war-zone had extended to all the government employees. For a while maanvi just politely nodded to all the chit-chat and petty talks that co-passengers make, just to avoid the boredom,more so at nights when there is nothing else to do,not even a scenery outside to absent mindedly gaze at ! Tonight though,nothing would stop her from having her 'me' time,she promised that to herself.

Lady travelling between the coaches

After gorging on the pantry food that she found unusually palatable and cherished on her last night of journey,she never knew when she slipped into the sweet oblivion. Only to be woken up by the shouts of 'Chai-chai' and the hustle-bustle of passengers waking up,and packing up their stuff excitedly as well as unnecessarily fast even though New Delhi was the terminal station. Guess,some habits die hard for Indians ! Maanvi woke up with a heavy heart,had and savoured her cup of tea and started packing,to just keep herself occupied. It took her unusually long time for unchaining all her baggage from the hooks at the base of the berths,at which point she realized she had carried too much,but couldnt help. She had packed off fom college,she had truck loads of stuff ! The train slithered into the New Delhi railway station as she bid adieu to the lovely journey. But where was her uncle ? Oh there he was....but heyy he just went past her compartment. Oh great, now what ! Everybody left off and she was stranded in the middle of a compartment with six heavy baggages...all alone !

All of a sudden, a coolie(porter) came and asked if she would like to hire him. She said 'no' and shifted her attention to the platform,where she could see her uncle running to the next coach,oh bugger...why couldnt he come this way ! She couldnt shout at him through sealed glass windows,but there was a graver problem inside those sealed glass windows,she turned and saw about 15 coolies all sitting around her,laughing and jiving at God knows what and for the first time in this journey was maanvi terrified,she had almost peed in her pants. All she could see was 15 satans in red,laughing at her through dirty tobacco stained teeth. Quick maanvi,if at all there is a time to say your prayers....it is now ! And just as she thought it,there appeared a lean and lanky frame of an angel and a kind voice asked her 'Do you need any help?'. Maanvi sprang from her seat and said 'yes,could you please just help me keep my luggage at the platform'. The angel helped her with bags,placed them beside a magazine stall on platform and asked her if she would be fine. Only after being satisfied he turned and climbed back into the coach,but not before giving her a reassuring smile. And then the AC car attender vanished from her sight.

Note: I was compelled to write this story over just a single thought "Have you seen or received an act of kindness from anyone!" Esp from a person who knew that you could never pay him back. If you have,then it is your duty to pass that good back into the universe. If you haven't...well all i could tell you my friend is that you haven't being paying attention. Pay more attention next time.


the.orchestra.of.life said...

ahhh ... reminded me of our family's annual summer vacation trips to Hyderabad on the AP Express from Delhi when I was in school. dammnn ... I am craving for those daal vadas now :)

Atrocious Scribblings said...

You've made me miss the Indian trains now with your write up.

I've gotten to travel in one of the worlds fastest trains in Europe but the rhythmic rattling of the coaches, cries of the tea vendor and sprawling scenery on offer in Apna Bhartiya Rail is something that is unparalleled.

Very beautifully written, took me back on a journey.

Cheers :)

Dr Mandeep Khanuja said...

Thanks a ton to the authors of @the orchestra of life and @atrocious scribblings. It felt good that you likd it,hope to write somthing evn much bettr :)

Vicky Dada (Vikas) said...

I just breezed thru the post but the postscript just caught my 'attention' :) Very beautifully summarized. We receive acts of kindness in so many ways, a lot of times we may never even realize it. We need to pay a lot of attention madam. Thanks for that beautiful message.

Dr Mandeep Khanuja said...

Heyy vicky awesome to see u aftr such a long time !!!! :))))
thanks that u liked my work,u wer aftr all the first person to giv me advice on writing :)

Gopal M S said...

:) Nothing beats Indian Railways when it comes to seeing India :)

Dr Mandeep Khanuja said...

yeah i love the journeys,more than the destinations ! They make me feel like im on move or somthing. Hate being holed up to a place,makes me feel stagnant.

Vicky Dada (Vikas) said...

Thank you doctor jee! It was a mutual first. I was the first person to encourage you to write and you were the first person to listen to me. ha ha.

You are sure coming a long way with this. I am proud of you!


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