It is 6.45 A.M and there is a sudden upsurge of people running all over the platform, the ticket counter is filled with people shouting at every person, suddenly the ‘Q’ system becomes the most valuable rule; people form all sections come together be it working class, students, senior citizens or even tourist, welcome to platform 1 where the majestic, yet old looking “Chamundi express” waits for you, this daily train between Mysore to Bangalore is definitely an example for new age India’s “Diversity”. The day, for many working class people begins with this train journey, its there yokefellow, their makeshift house for next three hours and the neighbors are other fellow travelers.
The Chamundi express runs between Mysore to Bangalore covering some very important cities in-between and the entire train is filled by our travelling working class, the most economical means of transport for any employee and believe me the most enterprising and entertaining too.
As the train departs the platform slowly whistling through the cold winds.. one can see a fulminant rush of people jumping into the train through every door available.. now this is almost a custom and Indian Railways without ‘running people’ is like Washington with out white house, believe me!! Cut two and you are now travelling in the magnificent “Chamundi express” its time for people to settle as they search desperately for that ‘One-Inch” of a seat, it is no less than a “treasure hunt” and the joy is deluging after they get that once inch; here, one statutory warning if you are travelling first time in Chamaundi express, please do not dare to replace the “handkey/kerchief” kept on the seat with yourself, if you do then you will be convicted under “The kerchief law of Indian railways” LOL! huh! Believe me, it is dangerous, the whole train may pounce on you!!!
Its “srirangapatna” and by then every one would have placed themselves some where in the train, be it on the floors of the compartments or the steps of compartment door or some times even in the toilets, now comes the interesting part, slowly a news paper comes out of a passenger’s bag and then starts the “big fight” on the latest news, the entire train indulges in a virtual battle ground of words, they discuss all from “local elections” to “government policies” , “banking schemes” and what not…. the entire parliamentary session is taken into task here. The government is ripped apart and don’t even get started on the “local police department” they are always villains!! As the train moves slowly on the ever stinking tracks, the topic now slowly shifts to something more debatable and what can be more argumentative in India than “Cricket!!” yes! Welcome to the “Extra Innings” of chamundi express where analysis of every single ball is done by our own local passenger experts; square drive, straight drive, on drive, cover drive, LBW, runout or HIT-Wicket they know it all. Be it IPL, test match or ONE day, “Sachin” is the only god and “Anil Kumble” is the only bowler, from umpiring to match fixing hungamas they discuss it all and I salute MY country’s passion towards this “GAME.” Soon as they turn over the pages of paper, a new topic is given birth and this time country’s another passion, “Cinema” local, international, Bollywood… cinema, for all is a divine ritual. “annavaru “ rocks!!! For days to come.. and then there is that evergreen smile when they speak of the latest heroines.. be it kanidiga or non-kannadiga. They are our own critics and they are our god..
As we move very slowly and reach “Mandya”, suddenly there is this sudden rush of hunger.. and then the carnival of food starts, more people board the train and more people open their breakfast dabba’s, it is no less than any “October fest of germany” believe me people relish their each bite and for those who have not got their dabbas don’t worry you will get all kinds of packed breakfast at the most economical rate!!! The only thing you need to worry about is “Hygiene” and if you are not able to afford the food sold in “Chmaundi express” then not to worry at all as there are always other options on the platforms… and this time the only thing you need to be worried about is the “speed with which u eat..” and trust me we an create un-breakable records in this field, man! We would have won ‘N’ number of gold medals in Olympics!!! If ‘eating with speed’ was an event, Gosh! As people run back to their “one-inch” err! I mean seats the train slowly whistles and moves in the most lethargic way and then there is silence in the whole train for some time. The only sound you can hear is that of vendors selling the ever green and ever tasty “maddur vade”, probably the most innovative snack in the history of “Indian Railways” it has its own legacy and if you think you can resist from eating “Maddur vade” then think again!! The only thing that you are advised here is to not to look at is the “buckets” in which these “Vade’s” are kept.. for everything else there is “chamundi express..” After munching few Maddur vade’s people now get irritated by the unwanted silence.. with few minutes on cell phones and few minutes messaging their ‘loved’ or ‘unloved’ ones they are back to their conversation and this time thinking on “for which signal is Chamundi express waiting?” it is the most tension and stress inducing discussion on “chamundi” different views, different trains and different logics. To come on one common term it takes lot of efforts personally.. people discuss, think and analyse over this unwanted halt and the working class or the regular commuters always get an upper hand in this, once they make their statement then it is globally accepted across the train, they are like the supreme court judges and no one can rule over their “statements”
The signal is cleared and the train slowly picks up it speed, the day light brightens and so is every one’s conversation.. after a couple of coffee sessions.. now the discussion is accompanied with “fried groundnuts” and in no time the entire train turns into a battle ground of groundnut shells, you can see them every where… it is as customary as buying a train ticket.. and then there is that long Queue in front of toilets.. as they settle back comfortably the vision slowly shifts towards the window and it is still “channapatna..” and if you want to know the concept behind “synchronization” then please don’t got to any libraries, in “chamundi” synchronization is signified with every one looking at their watch and utter in chorus “train is very late today.:(“ man! I call that natural equilibrium, this is a practised tradition and “Chamundi” without being late is a insult to legacy of “Indian Railways” now that most of the discussion is over and with no more to think about, they all go into a deep slumber until the train touches “Ramnagara..” nearing Bangalore…. And automatically without any alarm.. every one get up and move towards the near wash basin.. they are now fresh.. and the entire train now has a new look, a new glow is spread across the tarin, as they wait for their pen-ultimate destination Bangalore… a sense of satisfaction is seen, they have not achieved anything great or they have not reached mount Everest, but we are Indians.. We are satisfied by the most common things in our life.. be it a travel or food. “Chamundi express… “Signifies the unity in us, be it disaster or natural calamity , for us “Chamundi express” goes on… and it goes on n this way for years to come…….I salute you “chamundi express…”