'GE-1' misspelled the sms from IRCTC. So I walked into G-1 compartment and confidently parked my ass there. Another half an hour for the Garib Rath to Delhi to take off. I decided to go for a stroll. Just 10 minutes before departure I return to find a seductively smiling bhabhiji occupying my seat. She cooed that 69 was her number and that GE-1 was a different compartment altogether. Shell shocked by this revelation, I hauled my luggage out and started looking for GE-1. G-1 was just behind the engine so there was just one way to go. The train seemed never ending as I walked/ran the platform. G-9,G-10....G-14, G-15... Where was GE-1? Was it a part of the train at all or just a figment of Railway's imagination? A perfect case for Mr. Bond. Then the platform started to curve so I was not really sure whether there were any more bogies. Finally after a million miles, I see GE-1. Why shouldn't it be called G-20 since it came after G-19? Maybe the British had forbidden more than 19 bogeys from being named to a train and this was Indian Railway's ingenious way to circumvent the law.
An elderly hair dyed Auntyji immediately pounced on me seeing I had the coveted LB( Lower Berth). Since nodding my head and saying yes involved the least exertion, I did just that. Thankfully her berth was the middle one, just above mine, so I didn't have to climb to Mount Everest which was the height of the Upper Berth. The TTE (Train Ticket Examiner) came at the ungodly hour of 10:30pm to check tickets. I was really tired and was looking forward to a good night's rest.
|The inside view of a Garib Rath coupe|
The next thing I know my blanket is being pulled down and a torch is being shoved at my face. Thinking that either it's a hold up or rape attempt I go for the wallet hoping to pacify the attacker whatever his intentions, with money. I just wanted some sleep. But no this was the TTE asking Auntyji to get down at my stop. I tell him in a gruff voice that my name is Bond and I'm not Auntyji for Christ's sake ! He slithers away and I notice that Auntyji has already vacated my LB so I shift down. The time dear friends :1:30 am.
A couple of hours later the incident is repeated except that this time I don't use the Bond line but the choiciest Hindi expletives at Mr. A.K Singh the TTE villian. More like A.K 47 if you ask me and no where near fancy as Dr. NO. He slithers off again with no reaction and I lie awake the rest of the night anticipating the next intrusion. But all that happens to break the monotony of the rocking train is somebody yelling that their phone has been stolen in the wee hours of the morning.