Thursday, January 06, 2005

Traveling by train from Kerala to Bangalore

Written by a friend who was travelling with his wife Sarah and 4 year old son, Matthew. It was so hilarious, I had to put it up on this blog :

Just got back from Kerala yesterday after spending almost 2 weeks there. The weather was great and so was the food at all the various homes of the extended family and the toddy shops. The Anthi Kallu (literally translated Evening Toddy) with Karimeen Pollichathu on New Year night was clearly the high point of the journey. When I boarded the Kanyakumari express at Changanacherry I thought that the trip would not get aymore eventful (including hanging out on the beach with Matthew the night before the Tsunami struck). I was busy trying to stuff all the assorted baggage we'd collected during the trip under seats A1 - 25 and 26 when Sarah let out this muted sort of scream and when I looked up at her face it was as though a spasm of pain contorted her features - perhaps stung by the dart from a blowpipe dipped in some powerful poison only known to some tribes on the Nicobar islands (I think that's from one of Sherlock Holmes stories)

I looked in the direction her contorted face and saw three singlets ('banians' for those of you who may not be used to this word) neatly organised in increasing order of size on the metal rack right below the emergency stop chain. A thought ran through my mind - what uncouth people - Mr R P Singh and Mrs M Singh - not from Punjab more the heartland types (which I determined later from the passenger manifest stuck outside the coach when I got down at the next station - Kottayam - for a breather). It was then that I started noticing that, keeping with the spirit of the Xmas season, every hook and storage space around the facing berths were decorated with little decorative items of cream, green, white and other assorted colours. It took me a few additional CPU cycles to realize that this happy family was not celebrating Christmas on the train but had actually relieved their assorted private parts of restraint from certain repressing items of clothing and had generously used the surrounding hooks, shelves, storage and bottle holders courtesy The Indian Railways to perhaps ventilate these items and make them devoid of moisture, odour and other residuum.

My investigative instincts kicked in and the number of unmentionable undergarments didn't match the number of people they were travelling with. A quick exploratory look around and I figured that that there was a boy of about 10 sleeping in the bunk above and that accounted for 2 more of these items. The last pair was a puzzle till I reached Kottayam and determined from the passenger manifest that there was one more Master Singh who was in deep slumber on bunk number 30 which was a side upper berth. That however still did not solve the mystery of the additional woman's undergarment given that only Mrs Singh was qualified to wear it. My investigative instinct persisted and I had to check out whether such restraining garments actually did restrain. Well Mr Singh seemed to have Johnny under control and Johnny did not show any signs of misbehaving in spite of not being encaged. Mrs Singh however could not keep showing that the airconditioning can have weird effects on the female anatomy clearly indicating that she will not need a Benelli procedure. The wobbly mounds that had been rendered braless were helplessly being tossed around at an unsteady frequency and along an indeterminate path perhaps in consonance with the rocking motion of the train(Heisenberg, Dirac and Schroedinger would perhaps need to have been called in to even begin to pose a solution to this complex problem)

While Sarah and I lived though this ordeal, Matthew was happily playing with his lego blocks on the upper berth. The ony place Sarah and I could look at were directly at each others faces without risking having to see either the restrainers or the restrained. It was when Matt came down to the lower bunk that things almost got a little ugly. He wanted to know and very vocally at that as to why the were no similar decorations on our side of the berth - He was getting this impression that someone had shortchanged him by giving him the less colouful side of the train. Fortunately we managed to distract him with something more interesting (which is not too difficult with Matt). Mrs Singh would once in a while - at indeterminate frequency once gain - get up and feel each one of these in an order I could not put a pattern to, her facial expressions manifesting pleasure at random intervals during this exercise and would then sit down to read the much tattered Bollywood section of the Dainik Jagran.

Indian Railways was kind enough to treat us to an additional 4 hours of hospitality before reaching Bangalore Cantonment. We did notice that the festive spirit waned by morning, the decorations brought down, and Johnny as well as Susan and Sally confined back in their cages. The mystery of the extra woman's undergarment still remains.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Truly hilarious……