Its been so long since i actually wrote on this blog. I was on the super fast train from Chennai to Bangalore yesterday evening. It was my first time on the Shatabdi Express and i was kind of excited! The first thing you notice on this train is the Air Conditioner. It was nice and cold inside, such a welcome break from Chennai's sveltering heat.
I looked around searching for seat 25. All around i saw this bunch of people who looked like the wannabe prim-ah-proper type.They all had a book , some were talking about page 3 parties..They were dressed to kill. Some were plain bored and just stared at all ppl walking by..Some had latops, using it to type arbit things in MSWord..you get the point! Little did I care. :)
I finally found my seat. There was this HUGE gentleman sitting on seat 26. He mustve been 6' 7" atleast. I felt like a minnow sitting next to him. For once , i wasnt proud that I was 5' 9" and a half :). This guy was busy reading a book. One closer look and i realised it was a travel guide, containing roadmaps of all the important cities in India. The way he was intently examining the map, I thought this guy must be working on Geo-Informatics or he must be a surveyor or something of that sort.
Anyways, I settled down in my seat and stared outside at the black darkness that was fast enveloping us. The rain clouds loomed large and i could hear thunder. Global warming was starting to take its toll. I thought about how 2020 would change the geography of all our coastal cities. How animal species would die and new ones would be formed. We are actually seeing evolution in front of our eyes..albeit in fast forward mode because of man's activites. I wondered if dinosaurs felt the same way when they saw meteors strike the earth. Amidst all this, I heard a voice call out "Shoftware eh?".. I turned around and it was my gentle giant neighbour (GGN). He was flashing a very friendly smile. I muttered ,"Sorry?" . "You shoftware engineer eh?". I said ,"Yes".
GGN: "You from Bangalore eh". Me: "Yes".
GGN: "Shoftware big in Bangalore eh?". Me: "Yeah it is"
GGN: "In shoftware big mental tension(holding his head)...big money". Me: "Yeah the money is good"
GGN: "Why you Shoftware...only for enjoyment eh?". Me: "You can say so" (a little irritated)
GGN: "Which company? Infosys eh?" Me: "S A P"
GGN: "Yess A P eh?"(I think he had never heard the name before)... "In Shoftware Infosys top eh? Me: "Yes"
GGN: "Next top?" Me: "Wipro,then TCS"(not wanting to even take the trouble to explain services from product companies)
GGN: "Me own decision.. Rice mill business in Vijaywada..no Shoftware decision" Me: "Thats nice"
GGN: "In business big effort , big money... small effort, simple money" Me: (what is simple about it??) "I know"
GGN: "Your good name ?" Me: "Anoop"
GGN: "Anu?" Me: "Anoop.. A n o o p"
GGN: "aah.. o o p" Me: "whats your name?" GGN: "Ramanujam Reddy" Me: "You visiting Bangalore?"
GGN: "Cousin's house.. You c my height big..So no clothes in Vijayawada" GGN: "Size 48,49 get in Bangalore eh?" Me: (Rolling my eyes..size 48, 49 of what??!!)"Of Course we do"
Me: "Why dont you go to Hyderabad? Isnt it closer?" GGN: "Bangalore top.. no Hyderabad" Me: (amused) I know..
I was then served some yummy hot samosas. It had started raining heavily outside and i could see flashes of lightning. The samosas tasted good. Reddy didnt touch his food. He waited for me to finish and then asked "Spicy eh"? I said, "Not at all"
Reddy: "Spice not good"
This was the first native of AP i met who didnt like spicy food!
Anyway i finished my snack and pulled out my IPod and decided to sleep,listening to some nice music. Reddy became immediately interested seeing my ipod.
Reddy: "What is that"? Me: "Its an mp3 player"
Reddy: "Sony eh?" Me: "No , Apple"
Reddy: (Laughing)" You didnt get Sony eh?". "Sony the best, next Pil-ips" Me: "No Sony showrooms near my house"
Reddy: "This real small eh?" Me: "Yes it is the ipod shuffle"
Reddy: "How cost eh?" Me: "4500 rupees"
Reddy: "How much store?" Me: "1GB"
Reddy: "hmm.." "Where do you put the CD?" Me: "I transfer songs from the computer"
Nods after some thinking.
Reddy: "How much per CD?" Me: "CDs are available real cheap nowadays"
Reddy: "Where to buy" Me: "Apple Store, Koramangala"
Fishes out a pen and paper. Starts to write..
Reddy: "Koramanla eh?" Me: "Koramangala"
Reddy: "Koorramanla eh?" Me: "Kora-man-gala"
Reddy: "Korraamannla eh?" Me: (Started to sound like the king fisher ad) "Give me the piece of paper"
I then wrote" IPod Shuffle - The Apple Store,Forum, Koramangala"
Reddy: "Apple is the area eh?" Me: "No its the brand. Koramanagala is the area"
Reddy: "Forum is the company eh?" Me: "No thats a mall"
Didnt think he understood.
Me: "Forum is a shopping mall which has the apple store where you can buy the shuffle" Reddy: "Why shuffle called eh? "Because you shuffle eh?" Me: "Smart!" -I whispered to myself.
Reddy: "Do you get big shuffles also eh?" Me: "Yes"
Reddy: "7-8 thousand eh?" Me: "9-20 thousand"
Reddy: "What difference eh?" Me: "Capacity"
Reddy: "How many songs in shuffle eh?" Me: "250"
His eyes light up and he broke into a huge grin. Reddy: "250??! Big Big!!..Large Scale!"
Reddy: "Where get small CD for shuffle?" Me: "You dont need a small CD. You transfer from the computer"
Reddy: "CD easily available eh? Or only in Apple store eh?" Me: "You can copy from any normal BIG(gesturing with my hand) CD into your computer. From there connect a wire to your shuffle and copy" Reddy: "Oh! Simple eh?" Big grin..
Reddy: "In Bangalore, which shop good eh for size 48-49?" Me: "Lots of shops...go to MG Road" Reddy: "Good eh?" "Available eh?"
The TC comes and asks for the ticket. I fish out my e-ticket. After the TC leaves, he becomes extremely interested again! Oh no! There goes my peaceful sleep.
Reddy: "Internet booking eh?" Me: "yes"
Reddy: "credit Card eh?" Me: "yes"
Reddy: "Safe eh?" Me: "Yes"
Reddy: "My friend credit card..30,000 lost" "Number out means..gone" Me: "Not really"
Reddy: "Once you give number ..gone ..anything can happen eh...railway ppl can take all money" Me: (Lost for words)
Reddy: "You still internet booking eh?" Me: "Yeah i am brave"
Reddy: Laughs.."Shoftware ppls..brave"
Reddy: "I safe..counter booking ticket" Me: "thats good"
Now i really wanted to sleep. I plug in my ipod and close my eyes. 5 min later, i see him poking me and saying "E-ticket". I reach into my wallet and hand him my ticket. He searches every nook and corner for the credit card number and then when he doesnt find it, he grins saying , "Safe!!" Me: "Yeah" . Reminded me of the Hollywood movie speed! :)
He then gets back to his maps. I saw him examining the city of Ranchi..and then he moved to Mumbai..
Dinner was served. He finished dinner and then went back to his maps. I have known people to read novels, newspapers, magazines, letters even... but an atlas in the train??!!! that too for 2 hours...it was beyond me...
I then dozed off a little,thinking about global warming again! I was woken up by a loud announcement saying the train would be 25 min late . I was irritated that "The" Shatabdi was late. I didnt know why people paid so much for this train. It was so bad.. The curtains and seats were ordinary. There was no real difference to the AC compartment of any other normal train. And like any other train it was late too! Just that we got food for free and had a real friendly guy to serve it. I went back to my reverie..mustve slept for 2 hours or so..
I woke up to the announcement that we were at Bangalore Cantonment. I turned around and saw that Reddy was wide awake. Probably hadnt slept a wink. He was staring blankly at the ceiling. As the train entered Bangalore station, I was so frustrated that we were so late. It was 11 in the night and it was pouring like mad. I got up to pick up my bags. Reddy did the same.. Before leaving he turned around and said.. "Train early eh? 20 min soon.. Shotobadi ..real good eh?"