Saturday, January 02, 2010
Travels through the English Countryside - Part 1
I wanted to begin this serialised version yesterday, but you know how things are..one thing led to the other, and as usual on the New Year's Day...newly made resolutions got broken... So here I am on Day 2 of 2010, raring to tell you about the last two weeks of December that whizzzzed past...and Im not exaggerating... So where do I begin... Ok on the 22nd morning...after a night spent in restless anticipation of the day ahead, calculating what all can go wrong, how many things can I goof up.....I woke up to darkness, the sun was slumbering...the snow looked like the ugly mottled cousin of the pretty princess I eulogised in my previous posts...and I knew one step this way or that on the slippery ice, I'd be patting a very bruised ass for a long time.. So with a backpack and an overnighter ( I try to pack pretty light!) and my book for the journey in hand, I set out... My clumsiness is worth an entry into the annals of the Clunks...and soon enough I went skidding across the snow, but landed in a neat graceful kneel....And there began my adventure... Didn't want to get late to catch the train from Falmer to Brighton - I have already once witnessed my train leaving without me to Brighton as I dragged my bulk into the station..So I hurried and I reached there twenty minutes before the train...and just as I was feeling incredibly proud of myself came moment number 2 of my grand adventure... Out came my battered and bruised mobile out of my coat pocket, had a disagreement with my slippery glove and pop it went...out of my hand, on to the platform....one bounce, two bounce and then the third...right on to the tracks...With my mouth in a perfect O, I stood there for half a minute, unable to believe I just did that... In that thirty seconds, I had a swift debate in my head, whether to abandon my mobile there, for unlike in India where jumping on to the tracks is second nature for many...here, such foolhardiness isnt exactly applauded...but then all my contacts...the sobering thought that if i lose this phone, my student poverty could force me to go without one for a long time...But what clinched the deal was that it doubles as a good camera too... Thirty seconds later, a pip squeak emerged from my throat....Helppppppppp....At 7 in the morning, at a sleepy station like Falmer, trust me, there is not even the odd dog to look at you sympathetically...So abandoning bag and baggage, I rushed across the overbridge to the ticket window...and soon enough the English Samaritan followed me with a rubbish pick to help retrieve my battered phone...Now with me around, do you think adventure ends there? Just as we reached the doors of the station, I heard a train whizz through the tracks where my poor mobile had plopped itself..... I closed my eyes tight shut and hoped that I wouldnt see a mutilated handset...With a laugh at my theatrics, my Samaritan trudged forth..What did he care about seeing a mangled phone corpse? But by the time we crossed the overbridge, a little flutter of hope heaved in my heart..no fragments could be spotted on the track...we moved closer and there it was...my little companion of two years..fallen on its display screen belly in the snow collected on the tracks.. In another thirty seconds, it was back in my ungloved hands...I didnt want to take a chance now, did I? And in less than a minute after that, arrived my train for Brighton... Now you'd think that's all there was to the journey....My first leg of the journey was from Falmer to Brighton- London Victoria. Take the Underground to St.Pancras and then proceed to the Midlands Train departure and board a train for Leicester... Brighton - London Victoria journey : No Mishaps to report...but yes, the driver of my train could just not find parking space at the station...So we waited 15 minutes outside the station... Ahhhh...I know you are thinking so why is an Indian used to stretchable time cribbing? Well, because that 15 minutes cost me my connecting train to Leicester... There I was with steam literally coming out of my nostrils as I hurried through the Underground and across a very crowded King's Cross station to the St.Pancras departure area....only to see that my train promptly left on the time it had decided without waiting for me... The next train was to Nottingham and the ticket checker at the entry wanted me to give him one good reason why he should allow me to take that train and not have me buy a new ticket....I put my 'innocent little I dont know what to do look' on and said, 'Coz it wasnt my fault that there were no parking slots at Victoria station for my train from Brighton'..I don't think my reply pleased him much, but he told me he'd stamp my ticket if I gave him a cheery Christmas smile... The ticket punched and on board the Nottingham train to Leicester, I finally allowed myself a smile... And as the train went past a frozen English countryside, I figured, what's Life without a little adventure....With the smile still on my face, I touched my left ear...and the smile promptly vanished.....the lovely silver earring I had hooked into place there : missing!!! Checklist: Trains Missed: 1 Mobile Lost and Retrieved: 1 Wait for Part 2: In Leicester and onward to Dewsbury in Yorkshire..