The Train Journey
In front of a chai pasal (tea shop) in Fort Cochhin
Initially, at the time of leaving Kanya Kumari (on Saturday, 4th July), the train was virtually empty as it originated from that station. So we thought the whole thing belonged to us! The ‘fact’ that the train was carrying only three passengers, namely Gokul, Ishwari and Dinesh, made us feel special and free. So, using that freedom, we started wandering around, one compartment after another looking for the best seat available. We also wanted to charge the camera battery. That was primarily in our mind while selecting the seat: to have a functional charging point near the seats. The man who issued the ticket had told us that we could seat anywhere in the Sleeper Class as we had the unnumbered seats reserved for us.
DW tries to dream about the rest of the trip on the upper berth….
…and Gokul sit in the berth below…
…and capture Dinesh dreaming.
We arrived in Trivendrum in 2.5 hours and we were all kings. Another six hours to go. We bought Biryani which, surprisingly, turned out to be the best of that kind we had bought in the trip. Then, after filling my hungry stomach, I climbed up to the upper berth to be awaken only in 3 hours at 3:15 pm. The TT was checking the tickets and we realized that we were not in the right seat. In fact there was no such seat for us with that ticket. Other passengers had come by then to claim their reserved seats. Ishwari was already trapped between the passengers who were claiming the seat with valid tickets.
Then we quickly moved away only to be told by the TT (travel ticket instructor) to go to compartment no. 10, 11 or 12. And there, we were like new refugees, no seat to sit, not even a proper place to stand! Finally we managed to jump up to three upper berths of a compartment! Phew!!!
Got off in Ernakulam as it was pouring. It was fun. We ventured out in the bazaar and we were told that the autowallahs were on strike. After drinking Coconut water, we started looking for bus to Fort Cochin.
We got into one after asking a few dozen people on the street including a smiling traffic policeman who didn’t speak English or Hindi and we didn’t get Malyalam.
Reached FC at 8 pm and there we were greeted by a drunken tout who promised us a cheap and good room. We followed him through the market. After doing the ‘deal’ with the owner, actively participated by the tout as the mediator, we went out to eat. We reached at a wonderful eatery-Dal roti- that served nice north Indian food. The manager who also waited in between was a great person. And the menu was like him too, not very expensive but certainly not very cheap too. When we ordered lot many items as we were really hungry, the manager said: “I think it’s going to be too much for three. My plates are big here.” I liked that statement and he was true. The food was tasty. I think I chewed some remaining ones until we reached the hotel-five minutes walk-amidst peaceful drizzle.
(PS: Parts of this post were tapped on the same day while the last few paragraphs were written today as I am traveling to Chennai from Kodaikanal in the upper berth of a train. The seat is confirmed and it’s 30 number. 10:44 pm.)
Then in the middle of the journey, we had to vacate our seats and go one compartment after another to find place to sit
Finally, found three upper berths and Gokul quickly jumped into one.
Ishwari couldn’t stay on his berth and joined Gokul. Soon, as usual, the fight began.
It was raining beautifully
Near the train station, as we were looking for ways to go to beach, coconuts caught our eyes.
On a street in Ernakulam, not far from the train station, we got chance to drink coconut water
The flowers on the street.
The smiling and shy traffic policeman who tried his best to help us navigate the way and find the right bus.
Ishwari. Inside the bus, a very packed one.
Gokul and Dinesh
We had dinner in a nice restaurant that offered north Indian food: dal bhat. Good food. Equally good or better was the bespectacled manager who also worked as a waiter. He clicked a photo for us.
THE NEXT MORNING IN FORT COCHHIN
Absolutely no idea why Gokul did that. But I can report no one was hurt by his kick.
On way to a church, we stopped by a chai pasal. A few cats quickly joined us.
After spending about 15 minutes in the church listening to prayers we headed to the beach where we saw fishermen in duty.
“Come sir, come,” shouted one fisherman. “Pull the rope and take a photo of yourself.” I hesitantly did. And they wanted money. When they realized I wasn’t paying, one of them quickly said: get off from here. I did, without hesitation.
A loney fisherman was trying his luck in the sea
Ishwari peeks into his bag
The beach also provided a nice spot for some yoga
In a ferry, from Fort Cochin to Ernakulam. On way to Alleppey
Gokul and Ishwari jostle for the view
No worries mate. It is, after all, a few drops into the sea.
As seen from the ferry.
The Ernakulam branch of the Indian Coffee House. I had done a column about the Delhi branch of the same outlet sometime ago.
Inside the cafe. We ordered lot of food, and along with our bodies, charged our camera battery.