It was the cool Novembers in Bangalore. ‘I feel I should go home’ I heard Sidharth saying as I returned to the flats back in the evening. My suggestions of the same two days prior had fallen on deaf ears. I usually get irritated when such a circumstance arise when things that could have done comfortably take an unnecessary turn of events which brings complexity in its execution. Sidharth was diagnosed with mild jaundice two days earlier. He had put up a brave front and decided to stay back in Bangalore and battle jaundice out rather than going to the soothing confines of home sweet home.
Having known him for years together now, I had made the correct calculations that it was just matter of time when he would get perturbed by the situation and would long to go back home. ‘This is just the initial phase, jaundice would require some restrictions you better book the earliest ticket back home’, I told him. Though he told he would think on the matter I knew he was going to stay back to prove a couple of things.
Now that he has declared on his own that he would ‘anyhow’ go home now, rest of us got into emergency situation mode (such a situation was a favorites as it would bring about some action) to decide about how to get him back. But the punch came just a few moments later, when it was known to us that by the ‘go home now’, sidharth meant now as the next day!! ‘Take a flight’ came the suggestion in chorus. Amlan being the only among us having boarded a plane got a much longed for upper hand and spelt out the details of how to go about it. Where his suggestions got grounded was when it dawned upon everyone that a ticket for the next day would cost about ten thousand bucks! Sidharth did not have that much of money then (ATM’s were not that prevalent then), and neither rest of us were in a position to arrange for that kind of money. Flight plan terminated.
Taking the rail route was the only choice left, which in itself had quite a few sub choices. All information and experiences poured in a matter of time. Of all the only direct trains to Orissa, Yeshwantpur-Bhubaneswar, a weekly thrice train was scheduled for next morning departure at seven thirty in the morning. The train was to start from Yeshwantpur, a place twenty odd kilometers from our place. Obtaining a ticket for the next day was a tough ask, not because the seats would have got booked (the train ran almost empty), but because the time for booking was almost over. It was seven forty and the ticket counter, nearest one being in Indira nagar(eight kms away), would shut down at eight pm.
Wallets were scanned and a handsome seventeen hundred odd bucks arranged. A service of the transporter (read Anand) was called for. His auto rickshaw was there in five mins time. Volunteers for the job included Bijay, Amlan and me. The seriousness one shows and gets into those times is remarkable. You feel that you are not going for a mere ticket booking but on some James bond mission!! Anand was given a detailed narration of why and what we were going for on the way, not because he was inquisitive but he was a part of our matrix courtesy Amlan. ‘Faster bhaiya’, all three of was pressing him as the clock ticked towards 8. But the auto would not move any faster.
Finally we were there at the ticket counter to watch the shutters getting down. As every office would have a couple or set of brokers, middlemen, call them anything, here there was a person who would sneak inside to get your ticket faster and save you an hour or so for a mere fifty or hundred bucks (would a techie in Bangalore mind that!?). He was told about the situation in brief and handed over the money for ticket. He went inside the half closed shutters only returning after a couple of minutes with our money back. (Our collected money to be precise).....
(to be continued...)