*THE FOLLOWING TAKES PLACE BETWEEN 6:45PM AND 8:45PM*
(If you read really slowly, then events happen in real time)
It all started off with a simple plan. Here is how it was supposed to go down:
7:00 PM -8:15 PM: Get to Panaji Busstand... Take a Bus to Margao. Get to Margao Railway station.
8:30 PM: Get on the train to Mumbai with Aaditya Jambhale and Vibhav Khedekar for the editing of our play Arey Manasa Manasa at Saam TV's studio
8:40 PM: Train leaves, and a nice calm journey begins.
What actually happened was slightly different:
6:45 PM: Workshop still going on...
7:00 PM: Workshop still going on...
7:00 PM: Workshop still going on...
7:25 PM: Workshop ends. I tell Suyash baab to drop me to the busstand on his Dio. Then tell him that I have a train to catch in an hour. He screams "Che***cha, aata sangta?" (or something to that effect).
The next 5 mins, Suyash rides like a maniac (to put it lightly) and we zoom through the lanes of Panaji with my holding on to my dear life. Suyash screeches to a halt at the busstand.
7:30 PM: The race begins....I (literally) run across the busstand from one side to the actual terminus towards the Margao Shuttle service. If I get this bus, all my troubles are solved.
7:32 PM: I'm here! Just one Sikh uncle in front of me! He asks for 5 tickets. Conductor has only 4 for that bus left (When the bus fills up to capacity, it leaves... No standing passengers in shuttles). I breath a sigh of relief. But it's too premature. The uncle in front of me says he has a kid with him so he can get the kid to sit on someone's lap (Indians!)... Conductor asks him his kid's age. Uncle says "Saat saal ka hai (He's 7 years old)". Conductor gives him the 4 tickets. DAMN IT.
|What the family looked like to (Stock Photo: Sikh family)|
7:40 PM: I message Aaditya and tell him I'm still stuck in Panaji. Barely 3-4 people in the bus besides me
7:42 PM: Aaditya calls and says it'd probably be better if I just came to Karmali (another railway station) and catch the train rather than make the run to Margao. I consider the idea and get off the bus and walk to the Karmali buses (which, as luck has it, are right next to the Shuttles). Just on a hunch I message Aaditya asking if he's sure that the train stops at Karmali or not.
7:50 PM: Call from an unknown number... Turns out to be Vibhav, who basically screams out that the train doesn't stop at Karmali. Holy Crap!
7:52 PM: I get back into the shuttle... It's a little more full now, but still around 10-12 seats to fill.
7:54 PM: I walk out to check if there are any more people in line... Turns out there are 2 guys waiting. First guy buys 4 tickets. 2nd guy buys 2 tickets. I ask the conductor how many more tickets left. He counts and says "Aani chaar urla (4 more to go)" ... I just can't take it anymore. I put my hands in my pockets take out a hundred and twenty bucks and BUY THE REMAINING FOUR TICKETS. The conductor gives me a cheeky smile.
7:58 PM: The bus finally leaves from Panaji. I have around 40 mins to go. And 40 mins to reach Margao (from where I have to take a bike to the railway station about 5 minutes away). Given that I have some free time I message a few people telling them of the madness that's going on. The first response I get is:
Hahaha *falls down laughing* that's sooo Bollywood!What's my plan once I reach Margao she asks. My reply:
Once I reach margao... m prolly gonna hold up a 100 buck note n scream 'Pilot who reaches me to station in 5 mins or less' gets 100 bucks... hopefully, i'll reach on time! Bus driver thankfully playing his part n driving like a Formula One driver!
Yes indeed... the bus driver is driving like he's part of the stunt crew of The Fast and The Furious. With every growing second I become more and more confident that I'll make it on time. Until the bus reaches Verna that is.
8:20 PM: Bus reaches Verna, literally drifting at some points, when out of the blue some idiot on a bike crosses it at an intersection. My driver brakes hard, thankfully just enough to avoid colliding with the bike. A barrage of Konkani swearing takes place. The Good: No accident, I'm still on course. The Bad: Driver is cautious now, so driving slower! :(
Verna crossed. Fingers and toes also crossed.
M praying the one time I need a train to be late doesn't end up as the time it's on time8:25 PM: Vibhav and Aaditya reach the station. And message me that the train is (sadly) on time. DAMMIT. Indian Railways, Y U NO GET DELAYED WHEN I NEED YOU TO? The good news is that the train's gonna be on Platform 1... the platform closest to the entrance (duh!)
8:30 PM: I finally reach Margao... By now, I've actually been standing for the last 2 minutes, just waiting for the moment when the bus door opens and I can run out. Aaditya messages that he's on platform, and train hasn't yet arrived. There may still be hope.
|Perhaps less tattoos, and greyer hair...|
8:34 PM: Aaditya's message: "Train arrived on Platform No. 1". Shit. I'm still stuck in traffic, on the roundabout route. I ask my pilot how long it'll take for us to reach. 6-7 minutes he says. I beg him once more. NEED TO BE AT RAILWAY STATION NOW. Something clicks. Perhaps he sees his son in me or something. But he fires up and goes into overdrive. Shows a big middle finger to the road and pulls the bike onto the footpath. We actually ride for around a kilometer on the God-friggin' footpath! At one point we ride past a lady walking her dog and my leg actually grazes past it's body (and if I'm not mistaken, it licks me when we ride past it).
8:40 PM: We're out of traffic, but still not at the railway station. But now my rider is in GOD MODE! He takes a couple of internal roads (if I can call em that... they were basically kaccha paths). And a minute or two later we cut into the road leading to the station. Yay, we're a minute away from the station. But then I realize: We're going to reach the back entrance of the railway station, at Platform 3. I'll have to make a run for it over the over-bridge (assuming the train is still there that is)
8:41 PM: We're here... A Goods train blocks my view of platform 1. And my phone is in my jeans pocket. I have no idea if the train's left or not. But I feel the faint metallic taste of adrenaline in my mouth. I ask the pilot how much the fare is: He says 80 bucks. I'm probably getting overcharged, but I don't give a shit. I shove a hundred rupee note in his hands and run. No, I don't want any change!!
8:42 PM: For the 2nd time in a night, I run like my life depends on it... From the top of the over-bridge, I see that the train's still there. S4 is our compartment. I make the final run for it, knowing I'm seconds away from glory... From out of the crowd, right outside my compartment, I spot Aaditya, with a gloomy look on his face... BAM! In a fraction of a second, he sees me, I see him, and a huge smile emerges on our faces... We run towards each other (well, rather walk through the crowd) and hug each other to the limits of platonicity. :P
8:45 PM: Train leaves from Margao, with all 3 of us onboard! :D :D
What followed the next day was 4 hours at the studio in Mumbai, editing our play, visiting to a few malls, tonnes of NSP, and an awesome journey overall. But the trip to the railway station remains the cherry on the cake! :)
Yes, this is a 100% true story with no exaggeration whatsoever. Happened on 18th March 2012. The quotes are from SMSes that I either sent or received during that time period. This is honestly a story I want to tell my grandkids someday! :P