I wanted to write about this long time back when it actually happened. A series of very interesting incidents occurred during my trip to Madras (now Chennai :D) sometime back. I was accompanied by my cousin. It was a very delightful and the most looked-forward-to journey for us, because that was the first time when we travelled on our own - with literally nobody(t he concerned elders or male members of the family). We were very excited and thrilled to be together, travelling on our own. It was a totally different and new experience for us altogether.
We boarded the train at around 4:15P.M and after an hour or so, exchanged our seats with the lower side berth of an elderly man. It was great to sit on the same berth facing each other and talking about almost every topic under the sun. The train reached Egmore at 6A.M. next morning. All the chaos and noise in the compartment woke us up and we were on the platform with our backpacks eagerly waiting for an uncle who had to come for us, ready to start a new day.
We went to his house and got ready soon. We were given a bucket of tea, some cookies and Idli/Sambar/Chutney in breakfast. After the heavy drink and light food (:D), we started for Adyar accompanied by their cook (He's an amazing cook, by the way). Adyar was a good place to be in. At Adyar, we gave that man money and asked him to go buy return tickets for us at bus depot. We finished our work, which hardly lasted for 20 mins. and went to some other place. After a good one or two hours, we took the tickets, bid farewell to him and went to IIT Madras, which was nearby. IIT Madras was also a nice, cool place with all the greenery around though we didnt see much of the place. We caught up with a friend of ours and chatted our time away through evening. Our lunch comprising a-supposed-to-be-called and spoilt 'Apple pie' and a cold coffee, was very annoying.
It was around 5P.M. when we came out of the IIT. We then had to visit few family friends at Ashok Nagar. The autorickshaw fellows demanded a fairly large amount to take us there - 95Rs. Believe me, travelling in autos for a week in Chennai is enough to drain out your income. They have no meters and are very costly. We started waiting for a bus at the nearby bus-stop and learnt that we had to take a 5E bus to go to the desired place. After a nearly boring wait, we got into a 5E bus which looked similar to a political party lorry carrying all the junta for promotion or for shouting slogans. It was that rush with varied kinds of people. We had to stand and were squeezed to the extent possible. We gave our backpacks each to two women in a seat. The best part of it was that the conductor was standing at the rear entrance (end) of the bus and everybody who got in from the front made it a point to buy a ticket. It was like everybody passing money from one side in a long chain and getting the ticket back through the same chain. I and my cousin might have passed over a hundred rupees and nearly fifty tickets all through the while. We almost learnt numbers in Tamil because that's what they tell you when they give you the money- Like they say anji rupayi ticket (5Rs. ticket) but not the place. After a certain time, it became so annoying that my cousin sat down when she got a seat and I tried hard to ignore this chain business for sometime, but couldn't because everybody makes it a point to buy a ticket no matter how they do it. And, that was something which I liked- the sincerity with which they buy tickets.
After some time, I recognized the street where this particular family lives and asked my cousin to get down immediately. I somehow pushed my way through the crowd and got down at the next street as the driver didn't stop there. I got down and saw my cousin still struggling to make her way out. Meanwhile, the bus started and left the place leaving me behind. And, there I was there standing all alone on the road at 5:45P.M. I started walking briskly in the direction the bus had left. I walked to the end of the road and took a left turn thinking about all possibilities, when I saw my cousin waving her hands at me from a distance. I was vividly happy to see her. We smiled at each other feeling quite relieved. Suddenly I realized that something was missing - my backpack was not with me and she was carrying hers.
Where the hell is my bag?
I don't know. I thought you took it from that lady.
Oh! damn it. The bag has my digital camera worth 15,000 bucks!!!! And, the bus might have gone somewhere now.
Don't worry. We will trace the bus. It shouldn't have gone far off.
(to be continued...)