First train ride – Day 0

There are no photos of this day, because the camera was hidden deep inside the luggage, and things were happening too fast or too slow, to take it out.

I rode Vesta to Mumbai from Thane, for going to office. The difference between traffic of Mumbai and Pune is sharply noticeable. In Mumbai, almost everyone was sticking to his lane, the signals were observed religiously, and even large vehicles were not stuck in traffic. In Pune, it is usually a competition with everyone else, with each vehicle trying to inch ahead of the other.

Luckily, I got the cables couriered from Pune to Mumbai office, and got it in time. I had to shell out 80 bucks for this transport, but still, the fact that I got them in hand when needed made it worth.

When I inquired in the luggage office of Mumbai Central station about putting the bike on train, I was told to submit the bike at around 5pm, when the train was leaving on 6.50pm. Now, something for the uninitiated readers about transferring motorcycle by train. There are two luggage classes, one is parcel, and other is luggage. Parcel is something you send on its own. The ticket for parcel is cheaper than luggage, but it is not immediately delivered. You should keep 3-4 days or 1 week buffer between sending and receiving the motorcycle. The second option is luggage, when you take the bike in the train you are traveling with. This costs more, but has the convenience of sure shot transfer on defined time.

I obviously chose to book the bike as luggage, as having it on time was more important than saving a few hundreds.

Then started the play of corrupt and whimsical system. Agents started nagging us the moment we set foot inside the premises, demanding Rs.500 extra for their ‘efforts’. Staying true to Mumbai’s costliness, even the packing of bike in gunny bags was quoted at Rs.350. Even the packing was too shabby to justify even 50 bucks. Not willing to bend to the will of these looters, we decided to pack and book the bike ourselves.

We started packing the bike at around 5p.m. with a cardboard box, whole lot of newspapers, a brown tape and a gunny bag. Removing petrol from the bike took its own sweet time, and a lot of shaking as the huge tank of GS150 apparently has a lot of places for petrol to play hide and seek.

After packing the bike ourselves, suddenly two goons in cops’ uniform arrived out of nowhere and started demanding the removal of package so that they can see the inside of tank. I told them to rather check the removed petrol pipe below and confirm the petrol is removed. Though the tank was as empty as their brain and nothing could be seen from top of tank, they would not budge, and kept on insisting of the removal of packing, just to harass us. It took a couple of shouted heated sentence and angry stances to shoo them away.
Finally, we started filling the form at 6.00pm. Seeing that we are unwilling to pay any bribe, the railway authorities worked on the slowest speed possible. It was 6.48pm already, and the bike was still in the luggage area. Finally we caught one officer who arranged a coolie. After running with the damn coolie for full length of the platform, as the railway booking staff gave me the last bogie to enter the bike, finally the bike was on board on 6.53pm, and train left at 6.55pm.

It took several minutes for both me and Nandinee to recover from all the tiredness and sickness from the attitude of Railways. When the train finally left the platform, we couldn’t help but laugh hysterically, for reasons yet unknown to us. Maybe it was out of triumph, that we showed the corrupt system not all people are willing to bend, some still fight.

The night was full of deserved sleep and curiosity about the first ever out-of-state ride we were doing. Tomorrow Vesta would breathe in a different place altogether. I hoped she was enjoying her first ever train ride, and prayed that may she be safe from any falling luggage. Soon anxiety gave way to tiredness, and we were sound asleep in the train finding its way in darkness. Tomorrow would mark the start of a whole new adventure for us.

…to be continued.

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