There are so many things that people do in their lives that unconsciously become a part of their life and they dont realize that until much later. I am sure each one of you who is reading this must have had something or the other which you might or might not still have realized.
Today when i look back at those fridays in Kolkata i realize how part of life my returning home on weekends had been.
Here is the a typical extracts from my past life on Fridays
6:30PM: My childhood pal Arunava calls me up at the mobile and asks me not to board the TCS bus to Howrah station coz he also is going home. Going by TCS bus is a lot less hassle but who cares. I loved making the more challenging and demanding alternative journey with Arunava.
6:40PM: I walk the 10 mins to InFinity building in Salt Lake sector V where Arunava works. Its getting late but the idiot is still not around. Finally he arrives panting and the exciting journey begins.
6:45PM: We board the first 215A that arrives. Its packed at that time more so on Fridays and somehow Arunava and I manage to get in front of the Ladies row. If lucky get to see some good gals if not doesnt matter better luck next time. Karunamoyee takes around 7 minutes.
6:55PM: We board the auto to Ultadanga Station. Most of the time the auto is filled up with guys like us who need to catch some train from Ultadanga station. Invariably the approach through HUDCO used to be mess. The endless queues of people, cars and buses all trying to somehow get in first. The auto is such a good vehicle in these times and we used to reach Ultadanga station through the back alleys by the side of the Kestopur canal.
7:15PM: Getting an auto to agree to go to Ahiritolla ghat from Ultadanga station is a pain at this time because everyone wants to go only till Central. Anyways we used to be lucky on days but on other days we had to pay at a premium to get one driver to agree.
This second auto ride is another experience altogether. This can match any thrill ride in any amusement park in the world.U have to cross the dreaded Khanna, Hatibagan and central crossings.Anyone who has not had an experience on travelling in this route a warning - never board anything other than an auto on this route. It was like playing this video games. We used to back the driver to drive faster and ourselves estimate the time remaining. The launch arrives at Ahiritolla at 7:35 PM.
7:30PM: We have ticket of the launch for Howrah and stand aboard the jetty. The hustle and bustle and the frantic auto ride gives way to a serene quiet atmosphere. The gentle flapping noise of the water of the ganges againts the jetty and the gentle converstations of the waiting passengers are the only sound you can hear. We used to share the events of the day during our 5 minute wait for the launch. Although i must admit here that i have a great fear of water and generally avoid boats if not absolutely necessary. Somehow i found this ride a bit different. I actually have to admit i really liked it.
7:35PM: The launch departs from Ahiritolla for Howrah station. We take up a position in the front deck where the wind is high. The bright lights of the city recede into the haze of polluted air and smoke as the launch moves to the middle of the river and sets off at full throttle. Time for some snacks in this enjoyable 10 minute ride. Arunava would invariably come with the two packets of hot Chanachur( called Ghati Garam in bengali - i guess that explaisn it for most of you) from the guy who is a regular hawker aboard that launch. It such a calm and enjoyable experience to travel aboard a launch in the evening ...I really cannot explain to someone who hasnot experienced it.The light of the Howrah bridge appear like beads and grow in size slowly till we pass underneath it for the final approach to Howrah station.
7:52 PM: Its the final lap and time to run through the taxi stand of the station through the main building to the ticket counter. We used to stand on separate queues and most of the days i used to get the ticket earlier than Arunava. It was a lot of debate and talking point among us.
Then comes the final dash for Bibhuti express on platform number 10.
8:01PM: We find that the train still is stationary and start going through the reservation lists. The idea is to find berths which are empty till Durgapur so that we can get our tickets converted and reserved.There is a secondary parameter too in the search.Additional bonus for finding such berths in vicinities of F(18-25).....plzzzz dont hate me for saying this but it surely was a secondary consideration during our search. Finally the train starts to roll and we have to make a decision. We decide on one of the options and hop onto the train through the nearest door. No problem most express and mail trains these days are vestibule.
8:15PM: We used to have our favourite Jhalmuri and then slowly doze off to sleep as the train used to make the sweeping turn through the Dankuni approach. The run to Durgapur is enjoyable. Bibhuti express always was on time in Durgapur and we used to stand at the gates of the compartment as we could see the bright illuminated Rajbandh oil complex and the new L&T plant and the Graphite factory lights.
10:20PM: Dad is standing on the overhead foot bridge to recieve me and so is Arunava's dad. We part ways after making appointments for going out somewhere the next day morning. 5 min ride to home and mom is finishing up making some fries for dinner.
Ohhh isnt that sweet .....Home sweet home.