Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chugging Along.... A day on Trains... (Shimla Day 1)

We got up early, packed and left the hotel. Baba Inn is located very close to the Railway Station, so there was no need for the driver to come. But we couldn't walk either. Not with the luggage. So we got into a Cycle Rickshaw. The ride was great! Sadly I've no pictures of this cute gaadi.

The Rickshaw took us only till the RS Entrance, after this we had to manage our own luggage. I especially, had a tough time manoveuring my suitcase which appeared to have a mind of its own. So I kept jogging to keep pace with the other 3. It didn't take us long to find our platform. The platforms were rather shabbily maintained. I felt nauseated by the not-so-clean surroundings. Our train was an AC chair car and we found our seats. Even the train had a slight disgusting smell to it. Papa was outside and did'nt enter the train inspite of my pleading looks, until the train began to slowly move. He gets some thrill by doing that, I tell you!

There was a plug point, so Papa was working on his laptop for a while and Vidha3 and I went ol later..

We passed Kurukshethra, Chandigarh, Ambala and several other towns. We remained on level ground and the landscape was barren. We were supplied cutlet and coffee. Both were just satisfactory. Soon we reached Kalka. The station was surprisingly very clean. It almost seemed like a Model-Railway Station. We found our train. Honestly, It looked more like a toy train. Papa got us food from a vendor in the station. It was sweet of him, but it was poorly packed. The train began and a few more people made a surprise entry. Vidha3 and I opened our food packets, but most of the contents spilled out. It was tasty actually. Aloo Sabzi and Chappati. Rice and Rasam. The lady in front of us helped us to clear the mess. I was highly embarassed. We had to throw the food away to avoid making a mess of it. Somehow Papa and Vidha3 managed to finish their food without spilling not so much as a grain. Bah.

Very soon, we got acquainted with the family near us.The lady, her husband, their son, their daughter, her husband and child, Mishti, all of them, were a jovial lot. Vidha3 spoke quite well with them. And so did Papa. And as for me, well, I tried, but honestly, my Hindi didn't take me very far. Apparently they had been to Bangalore once, and they had stayed in Koramangala. I won't forget this dialogue, He peered through his glasses and asked us "Are you both Post Graduate students?". Lol, he couldn't believe we had just finished out tenth. This family actually hadn't booked tickets. Somehow, in the last minute, they managed to get seats. After a while, they got down. Next their seats were occupied by Punjabis. They were travelling to Shimla, and would stay in the Gurudwara. It was a family of four. The husband, (a well built man. Papa looked tiny in front of him), his wife, daughter and son. While Papa and the Man chatted away, the rest of the family sat like mice. Not a word. A completely patriarchal family, I surmised. How unlike the previous occcupants! Apparently the man worked in the gardens of the Sultanate in Saudi. After a while, For reasons best known to them, they chose to sit in the other end of the compartment. I have my own theories, but let's not go down that path. :)

There were several other people in the train, a family of three, and a man and his elder sister ( I hope) and of course newly weds. The view was great and there were about 100 tunnels!

Sitting On the Edge Of The Train: Vidhathri and I.
After a while, Vidha3 and I sat near the train door. It was a wonderful experience! Vidha3 was a lil scared, But she enjoyed it anyway. We sung songs and clicked photos. I will always look back, years from now and think of that day.

After this, it became slightly chill, and my clothing was doing nothing to insulate me. We reached Shimla, took our luggage, found our driver and got into the Alto. It took us about 20 minutes to reach Mashobra. Vidha3 and I were hugging for most part of the journey- mostly because we were feeling Really Cold! The driver was a talkative man and we got to know a lot about Shimla/ Mashobra/ Marigold Cottages/ himself that day itself...

We reached the resort which was really splendid! We all played TT for a while after refreshing... And met the Manager, Mr.Thakur to discuss the plans for the nest few days.. Geetesh Thakur, a young man of about 20, was our room attendent. A bright young guy, who did his job well. We loved our cottage. The entire 2nd and 3rd floor was ours! It was like a House! The beds looked soo Inviting! And the balcony, with its views, the bathroom too had views (LOL). All In All, The resort was magnificient! I could only think of and thank Amma for making it all happen...

And so, the day came to and end, all of us were tired and cold after a day spent mostly on trains.. Vidha3 and I were hidden under layers of blankets, but even that seemed insufficient! Oh, and I watched that Rajnikant movie, Robot. :)
Papa And Me. <3