Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sikkim - Getting there in one piece

I'm a big fan of the Indian Railway system. It always seems to work despite odds.

For example, back in the steam engine days, the Puri Talcher express used to take about 12 hours longer than the regulation because the engine driver used to stop along the way and sell coal to people who wanted it (this priceless information is thanks to my old college mate Deepak, who has deeply researched the topic).

Today we have diesel engines. And I strongly suspect that the socialist objective of redistribution of wealth is carried out by the yeoman engine drivers of today who stop every 17 km to sell diesel to the needy.

For I can think of no other reason why the train would halt so often. Infact a congratulatory e-mail to Shri Laloo might be in order.

But I will pigeon-hole this for the moment and carry on with my tale, which will feature scantily clad belly dancers as a reward to those who have patiently borne with me.


The train started from Mumbai CST at 6.00 am sharp. At T+0.3 nanoseconds, the great musical berths game began in our bogey.

Number 37 wanted to go to number 12. Number 12 wanted to go to number 17. But number 17 was a pregnant lady. So number 18 was shooed away and made to go to another compartment altogether.

Shortly, the Ticket collector landed up and started writing the equations in matrix form on his sheet.

My co-traveller Sushil Soman, meanwhile helpfully complicated things by dispatching 7 people to the 3 tier compartment, moments before the connecting door was locked. There was much acrimony on the other side of this door and Sushil disappeared onto a higher berth and pretended to be asleep. And there was one guy who was convinced that Sushil had stolen his berth and kept questioning him in all kinds of oblique ways.

When we finally got to NJP (which is the technical name for New Jalpaiguri) the only thing that the four of us could think of guessed it - scantily clad belly dancers. No, seriously, the only thing we could think of was beer. Thus I fulfilled a childhood ambition of getting a bellyful of beer before nine in the morning.

Around lunchtime, we landed up in Gangtok. It also happened to be my 44th birthday. Grieving silently at the stealthy passage of time - 44 years old, for Chrissake!, I dragged the rest of the bunch to a nice little pub called Pub25 and got properly sloshed.

After a delightful half-hour with the locks of our respective rooms, which turned out to be on a different floor altogether, we hit the sack. Just before I collided with the mattress I heard Kundu say that he would wake us up at 4.30 am to show us the sunrise.

I hoped he would die in his sleep.


Anonymous said...

"I hoped he would die in his sleep." --ROTFL!

Did you actually get up at 4:30..or should I wait for the next part!?

Hilarious as always!


Idling in Top Gear said...

Scantly clad belly dancers on a train?! I am sure tickets are already sold out till the summer of 2019! :D

And looking good for 44 Mr.S! Belated happy b'day wishes.

Anonymous said...

40 and above is a tricky thing to contemplate isn't it? :(...I think it also depends on how the people around you see you at 40+, if Mrs. S says "Dayyymn, you are still hot - now go indulge in a snootful of beer before 9 am and sightings of belly dancers...." - you have it sweet :)
Oh Happy 44th btw...may beer and bellies (of dancers :)) feature in many, many more.....

Anna Bond said...

44?? Is the photo photoshopped? ;)

gauri said...

You're back, and how!:) I looked a little while ago, I could swear there was nothing here! (No, I'm not referring to the dancer's pic :P)

Glad you had a good time!


maxdavinci said...

is this what we call fire in the belly?

ps: the pic was a solid distraction! cudn't read beyond....

Sowmya Srikrishnan said...

Belated wishes for your b'day....and how come no one commented on the Alcatraz Psycho Ward thingy!!! awesome taste :)

Cynic in Wonderland said...

appy budday to you -

so at 44 one wakes up at 4.30 rather than sleep at 4.30 you mean? *shudders*

Anish said...

Belated birhday wishes Shenoy Sir!

So i guess, you didn't find the fountain of youth on your trip :)

Princess Fiona said...

belated happy bday!!! 44!! im dont look a day impressed ;)

and LOL for "i hope he dies in his sleep" hehehehehe :)

been there..curesed that ;)

Anonymous said...

At 44, I'm afraid I'd have to take a lot of care not to let others have a peek at my belly 'dancing'. :-D

Bhel Puri & Seekh Kabab said...

Happy belated birthday, here's wishing you many more mornings of beer-filled happiness!

Etc Etc said...

Travelling by Indian Railways is a journey (pun intended) by itself. I actually tried to list down all the characters one meets on the trains (including the 32 wanting to move to 16 etc) in my blog in two seperate postings

Do read it when you get awy from your belly dancers & beers!!! :-)

PS: Happy Birthday!!

DPhatsez said...

bellyfull of beer before 9am..Buuurrp! Cheers!

Um..happy Bday! \m/

Interesting read. Keep them coming. need more belly dancing action :)

Do drop by my blog to see what the effects of 'drinking' can do to you :)

indiegurl said...

not to nitpick, but just pointing out that you promised scantily clad belly dancerS. However you have provided only one number.

Also she does not have a very hawt belly.

You have a cooler life than me and i am not even twenty. :( is this not supposed to be the age of recklessness and fun. :(

What's In A Name!? said...

Janamdin Mubarak, albeit belated! Sigh, in 21 more years, I'll be 44!! :-( Makes me feel old already! ;-)

I'm planning a trip to Sikkim sometime next year with Sis. I know whom to contact now! :D

Sri said...

Belated birthday wishes!:)

Sunrise at 4.30am was at Tiger Hills in Darjeeling??

Waiting for ur next post abt the places u visited at Gangtok..i went there last september and i loved the journey to The Tsangu lake..missed the Nathu-la pass as it was closed that day...

Maddy said...

who is the dancer in the picture? tell us that story...