Hello everyone, once again, I am here to share my experience. As I was writing my post on Hyderabad – Nawabi nagri, I got the message from my husband to pack our bags for Indore, Madhya Pradesh (Hindustan ka dil) for some work. We went to Tatkal reservation counter at 0700 hrs to book our ticket from Chennai to Indore. We were very hopeful to get tickets in Ahilya nagari express (Train number 16326) which runs every Saturday from Chennai and reaches Indore on Monday. Unfortunately, we didn’t get tickets in Ahilya Nagari express. Next option was NZM Garib Rath train (Train no.12611 )which runs from Chennai to New Delhi with stoppage at Bhopal and we got reserved seats.
we boarded Garibrath express on Saturday September 30, 2012 and reached Bhopal at 0200 hrs. Our happiness over saving the money (tickets in Graib rath train for 3AC is almost half of any other train fare) was turned sour by dirty coaches, cockroaches, rats and unhygienic toilets without water. From Bhopal we had to catch Narmada Express PSG (Train number 18234) at 0435 hrs. which reached Indore 1050 hrs. Ideally we should have taken bus from Bhopal to Indore, but we opted for Train as it is convenient for my kid as well as my father.
My husband had some work in Ujjain, on Monday.We decided to go by train and in general compartment as we didn’t have reservation.I was bit worried as I was travelling in general compartment after about 10-12 years.Travelling in General class was the norm when I was in college, when we never missed any chance to go back home.And ‘chances’ are never planned!
We chose Indore Udaipur train (Train Number 19329). This train runs daily from Indore(0805 hrs) to Udaipur(1900 hrs) and is normally empty. It is a good train but because of its day timings it generally runs half full. We reached quite early at the station; atleast we would get seats to sit. The ticket for Indore to Ujjain in an express general coach costs you Rs 29/- each. So cheap! In Bus you have to pay Rs 45/- each person. We were advised by few persons to take general class ticket and pay some amount to TC to sit in Reservation coach. We were bit confused and decided to sit in General Coach only.
The train was full at 0715 hrs. First section was full of daily goers. Some were reading news paper, few were sleeping and few others were talking. There were few students also who were studying. The second section was full of ladies. I requested one of the ladies if she could shift and adjust us in one seat. They shifted and we got approximately 1.25 seat to accommodate 2.5 of us (me , my husband and my kid). Then I just turn around and to take a glimpse of train. It looked like as If I have rewinded my life and I had reached 10 years back when I was actually comfortable travelling in General coach. Beautiful ladies, nicely clad in saree or salwar suits were adorned with beautiful bangles, attractive payal and toe rings. All were looking so beautiful and I was feeling jealous as my two gold bangles was nothing in front of their colorful bangles. Being at Chennai Gold always meant a lot . But at Indore I was attracted towards those beautiful colorful glass bangles. Suddenly, I heard a song.
“Dheere Dheere se meri zindagi me aana, Dheere dheere se dil ko churana “..
I was so happy to hear this song as it used to be my school time favorite and I was listening to it after 10-15 years. And sudden “ Hello Kaun bol rahe ho”. It was a ring tone.I was surprised from where these ladies get this ring tone? Do they download ? OR how they manage to get this? OR someone in their family transfers this 90’s song in their mobile.
Once her conversation over, I was quietly watching everyone in a train, their activities and there came a voice
“ Chana le lo hara bhara chana le lo “ and from other side “ Samosa , garam garam samosa”.
We had planned to eat Indore’s famous nashta POHA. But now we were thinking which item should we take . Being health conscious, we opted for hara Chana with Onion, tomato , green chilly , coriander over it. (Rs 10/- ) . WOW , What a healthy option, we were very happy on our decision to eat chana and it was too good. And I was wondering why can’t I get this at Chennai. No salt , no oil, not too much of spices, not fried. It was so good that I am missing it even when I am back at Chennai. When we were done with Chana, both of us looked at each other and appreciated the fact that we had taken healthy food. Then came Samosa wala and we, without looking at each other, said, bhaiya 2 samose de dena…LOL…
The samosa was again too good and it smelled so nice that we couldn’t resist ourselves. And I would say those 2 samosas in Just Rs 10/- was far better than samosa we get at Chennai for Rs 25/- each. We again turned towards each other and said , “ Indore aake kuch khaya nahi to kya kiya”.
My son tasted samosa, he found it hot and spicy, and started crying and in no time we had water bottle , chocolates and nice Khopra pak(Coconut and rawa sweet) in front of us. All our co passenger has offered us. And my son who is a Chocolate lover opted Khopra Pak instead of Chocolate! Before we could say anything, my son had already eaten one sweet and was in on the way to eat the next. He was actually offered 3 sweets. I asked him to give us one and he somehow not so happily , gave us one sweet. The sweet was home made and very tasty. We were wondering “ Kash ye sab shops pe milta to hum itni acchi cheez kharid ke lejaate”. Also we were looking at each other that what happened to our train rules and regulations a) Not to talk to strangers b)Not to take any food items from any passenger. But all rules were gone and we were behaving as if we were travelling in 1980’s or 1990’s when you could actually trust your co passengers.
I asked my husband to give me newspapers to read. He purchased Hindi newspaper! There was a crossword on second page. I thought of testing my Hindi language proficiency and started filling the crossword. I was feeling good as I understood the crossword clues and somehow was able to solve it. Behind me, few were listening to songs
“ Raah me unse mulakat ho gayi “
I had filled all words that I knew and still 6-8 words were remaining which I was unable to fill. Then a uncle who was sitting on the top berth asked me ‘Should I help you?’ I asked him one word (Very difficult for me, synonym for bat (Chamkadar)and he answered promptly.The person next to him told me word for another clue. In no time my crossword finished and I was happy. In fact I was actually enjoying the journey and was happy on our decision to sit in General Coach. The next song that was playing was
“Tum Kya mile Jaane Jaan Pyaar Zindagi se ho gaya”
The ladies in front of us were discussing on the passport, passport making process etc and two ladies were explaining all these procedures to the third one. (I want to say this ,seeing them I was not sure that they were literate also and actually they were not )I was so curious and was unable to understand why these ladies required passport. In fact I was ashamed of myself that why I am judging passport issues with General coach. Even I had passport and I was travelling in general coach. Unable to control myself, I interfered in their conversation and informed them that passport rates have increased from 1000/- to 1500/- .
The next song was
“ Mauka milega to phir bata denge tumhe kitna pyaar karte hai sanam”
Slowly and slowly I had open conversation with them and I asked them why they needed passport. And here is the answer. They told me that they needed passport to visit Mecca. Seeing my curiosity they started explaining me about Haj Yatra. How to go about it. For HAJ , you have to first apply for HAJ which I think is the VISA process. Once the HAJ committee sanctioned your VISA you need to take Flight for Jeddah (Saudi Arabia). Every year around 40 lakhs people visit Mecca to see Prophet Muhammad birthplace and this holy shrine. Its 40 days yatra in which you perform various Ibadats (Puja).There is also one type of Ibaddat in which you actually have to run. She told me there is so much power in this place that even old people who find difficulty in walking also run and perform this Ibadat. One more type of Ibaadat is there where you throw stones (word used by them was KANKAR) on a virtual ghost which means you are actually asking your worries, pain to go away. There are many tours and travel agents who give complete package for the HAJ Yatra . It ranges from INR 1 Lakhs to 3 to 3.5 Lakhs per person. She also explained the public transport available inside Jeddah, food arrangements, lodging etc. While I was talking to her I didn’t realized how much time elapsed. That means we talked on HAJ yatra for almost an hour and I was just thinking that one day GOD will definitely give me opportunity to visit this place.It was now 0940 hrs and we were reaching Ujjain.
“ Khwaja mere Khwaja , dil me sama ja “
While getting down I was taking a fond memory of my 1 hour 40 minutes trip and wondering that still there are places, people whom you can trust, you can talk. Behind me again another song was playing and I got down with a big smile on my face
“Mukhda Chaand a tukda….”
We got down at Ujjain and was looking forward to finish our work fast so that we could visit Mahakaleshar temple. I will continue in my next post about experience at Ujjain .
I forgot to tell you one thing.When I returned from Ujjain to Indore, The first thing I did was that I opened Internet , searched Mecca and Haj Yatra and read about it. There are few norms for Non Muslim to visit this place. If GOD permits I will get chance to see this place also.