It was a dark and stormy night.. or so goes the supposedly worst start to a book possible. The weather condition that night was drastically different but my experience not far from the worst possible.
The second week of may isn't exactly the time to look forward to a train journey especially if you are in the southern parts of India an that too in the midst of the hottest summers in a long time. Guess "global warming" too has its share of favoritism. And having just finished yet another semester, successful or not is a question to be answered only when the results arrive, the hero of the story , (warning: in most future blogs this habit of referring to myself as the hero of the story will continue) has a rather filling dinner before boarding the train to push off to his hometown.
The dinner proves to be thirsty in the same measure as it was tasty. What that means is that our hero has a dreadful time sleeping. Not only is he damn thirsty but is also haunted by thirst in his dreams. This means a highly disturbed sleep before he finally awakens to his now dominant need for water over sleep. Now using the cell phone as a torch he focuses it on a face believing it be of his friend's, hoping thus, to wake the poor guy up to demand some water. As it happens the person whom i am trying to wake up wakes up in one of the other berths. Lucky to have escaped the wrath of the stranger our hero quenches his thirst, or so he thinks, and goes off to try catch some sleep. The train comes jerkily to a halt and its barely two hours (3 a.m) since the previous attempt to sleep and the thirst still unsatisfied. So, getting down from the train i discover that the halt is at villupuram. At that moment a vendor arrives selling hot milk. Seeing that as a possible solution to quench this seemingly eternal thirst, not the knowledge kind, the hero quickly gulps down the glass of milk.
Five minutes pass and the dreaded thirst comes out on top again. I was certainly losing this battle. At this point an enquiry about the nearest stall selling water results in me giving up any hope of buying water for the stall is apparently located at the opposite end of the platform. Given that no train stops for more than ten minutes at any station, I deem it too risky to try get down to the other end and be back again. Now, the wait begins for the train to start and increase the possibility of getting atleast some cool,chill will be asking too much, breeze blowing into the face. Five minutes pass and no sign of any attempt to get the train moving. Another enquiry for water follows and this time the reply is more reassuring revealing the possibility of a vendor selling water just a couple of coaches away. The search for this "vendor" turns futile. The thirst just gets more dominating. Patience, cried the inner soul, urging me to wait for just a couple of minutes for the "cool breeze".
Five minutes pass and the theories of the driver having slept off are doing the rounds, in my now restless and half unconscious mind. This is when the hero feels the need to get things moving. Well, my mind in a state described earlier orders me to make a dash for the water stall. What follows is a full speed run interspersed with tense sideways glance to check for an open door for me to jump into in the eventuality of the train decided to move it. Arriving at the stall our hero quickly grabs a bottle of water and starts the return leg of his run. For the next thirty seconds, my thirst takes a backseat, and instead the thoughts of getting back into the still dormant train take top priority. Once back in the safety of my seat i take in what will remain for some time to come, the sweetest tasting gulp of water.
Now, I decide to go out once again and take in the wonderful "view" which was earlier distorted by the need for water. And just as i was about to doze off on one of the benches outside, the horn blows. To me it sounded like the sound of trumpets at the time of victory. And so, the ordeal which seemed to last for eternity, something the reader of this post can surely relate to, finally came to an end.