On the way to office, i happened to hear Ranjit Shankar, the director of Passenger,on the radio. I guess it was John and Nayla of 96.7 hosting the show. The talks between them took me back by some years to my pre-sea training days.
it was sometime towards the mid of 2000. halfway into our training at ARI, Delhi, we had to go to Mumbai or Bombay then ,for our fire fighting training. The deck cadets had gone first and we left a week after, if i am not wrong. We were supposed to be mature, being at the institute after Btech,so we went unsupervised. We had our tickets booked on Dadar-Amritsar express with 57 halts and almost 30 hours between Dadar Central and Hazrat Nizamudeen stations. Some journey,yeah!! There were around 23 guys in our group,from across the country and at full josh from the rough and tough training by Mr.Mani and Mr.Kanwar who were the trainers.
we had sleeper class reservations and all went well when the train started from Dadar .
23 guys bith the Josh(as Mr.Mani Says!!!) and with cheap brandy mixed with pepsi in litre bottles and still all was well as the train entered into MP. There was a group of college students from Mumbai going to Agra to visit Taj, in the same compartment. It was a majorly girls group with the exception of a couple of guys and accompanied by lady staff.
Then as the train started halting at stations after stations in MP, we started to notice that people started to occupy our seats. it was not a problem at the beginning cos none of us wanted to sleep. But then we found that these guys with out any reservation were actually asking us to move to make space for the crowd, and to our dismay we saw that there was a policeman at the compartment door who was actually letting the people in!!!every station he goes ''Aao baujai aao ,dibwa khaali hai''!!! and people flocked in.
By the time the train reached Jhansi we were all fuming and we asked the Policeman to get the people without tickets out of our compartment, but he denied to do so. The crowd, the policeman and the Honey Bee had started to work on us. As the train started slowly from jhansi, someone pulled the chain, well, till now nobody really claimed responsibility for that, but i guess it was Soni.
then there was total chaos.. the combined voices of 24 pre sea cadets bith the Josh was too loud.
we managed to get everysingle person without a ticket off the compartment . the train was close to the station and ground staff and the station master also came and we got the policeman also out of the compartment. All settled, we closed the door and a few minutes later the train started slowly.
Dont know what got into Shrivastav!!! he opened the window and threw some good lot of swearings at the policemen near the track. one thing led to another and they must have talked on the walkie talkies and before we knew anything, the train stopped again and came thud thud on the door!!!
there were police and station master outside and they wanted us to open the door. that was a day when we felt maybe there are gods and angels!! all of a sudden the lady staff from the college group surrounded us and somone from their group opened the door. As the police came in shouting, these ladies said, you will have to arrest us first if you want to take these kids!!!!
a few managed to kick some of us through the gap they could find without touchin the teachers!!!
but then after a lot of shouting and arguing the ladies won!! the police agreed to let us go !!!
till the train reached Delhi, at every station there were policemen checking our compartment!!
while a part of our mind was scared like anything, the other part felt good; felt good that atleast once in our life we stood for something that we felt was right!!!
Some journey it was!!!!