Sunday, July 5, 2009


It lasts for usually for 35 minutes if not delayed by proper signals and handling lever problems of level gates. It blows entirely hot for many times, seldom cold but occasionally enjoyable when it is a mixture of both.  This is my regular "daily passenger's ignoble and grueling strife of  the local train journey. But  I prefer and enjoy this daily forward and return journey from my residence to office and back.
I stay at Barrackpore,  a suburb of Kolkata, about 35 Km distance  from the main city and my office at Park street. Barrackpore, a historical cantonment town is also a terminus station has few advantages. At least at the time of forward journey a comfortable seat near the window is almost guaranteed.

I am a   newcomer in this city who lived in deep forests for most of his professional life. But now being posted at H.O I stay at Kolkata and gradually started learning to live here and the most important part of it is how to go in a local train minimizing the troubles. I learnt few  thumb rules.
The most coveted seat is near window facing in the forward direction of train movement. The most beneficial standing is standing between two rows of benches, no pushing and occasionally if luck showers,  you may get a seat.

I usually prefer the super packed up Kalyani Local of 6.30P.M and deliberately reach the platform just at the optimum time of 5 minutes before the leaving. Time earlier and later than this I miss many things.

Pushing a bit and taking the elderly man's advantage I placed myself standing near the door. Just a minute before leaving, the great push placed me luckily in the corridor just below a fan. The train started moving, the people standing near the doors extended their hand to pick up the some passengers running in the platform to make the last minute dangerous effort.

One young man sitting just near to me offered me a seat but I pushed another deserving one. Another young man went further. He vacated his seat giving more comfort to the sitting rest but stood near the window blocking the fresh air.

One of his friend said" Nothing unusual, his party is also vacating Bengal."
" This is our policy. We are ready to suffer for the comfort of others. Our party's defeat is temporary one"
" That was not a temporary one, it shall continue. You lost because you people desperately started snatching the fertile lands of the Villagers. You people thought that you can force the villagers to bow down before you, but they braved the booth jams and kicked you back."
" Oh why can't you people keep cool man. Saurav never mind these naughty bums. "
" No you see those EVM machines are...."

It is too hot here and not very interesting to me. The train left Bidhannagar and with a greater push I was shifted to another position in the corridor.

This time I was in between two sitting rows facing opposite to each other. On my left were kids returning from the same school and on my right there were young boys and girls probably from the same college.

" You know today the smartest boy Subham was caught."
" Subham! How come?"
" You know he wrote in his home work copy We get milk from packets. I corrected him. I told him the cows give us the milk and while milking the milk in the bucket is hot. He corrected and went a step further. He wrote we get milk and Curd from the Cow. Mam asked him to explain. He said that while milking the milk is hot. So if a piece of tamarind is fed to cow you can straight way get the curd." People standing with me also laughed a lot.

In the other side in the row of young boys and girls also there was an IDEA MASTER.
" One should propose a girl taller than him. You know why? In future there shall be peace and love in their small nest. Her yells will be over your ears. She has to lower her neck to talk to you and you know that is only when they whisper and blush."
with common roars of laughter some one from them said " What an Idea Sir ji!"
 SirJi is very popular and he is also known as Guruji. A "Bhakt" of him came near to him
 " Guru, that day the song you are singing aiming to flirt that hippo ..."
 " Yes Go On"
You were singing " OH Hansini, Oh Plussini, but I did not quite get you"
" Oh that day, another thin bird was also by her side. Aarre  Buddhu! Hans means  Duck. So Hansini is 'Duckini' and Plus means Yoga. So Plusini means Yogini. I was actually calling them Dakini- Yogini " Now even the elderly people sleeping in the  comfortable seats of window compelled to get up from their evening dosing with the roars of laughter.

Stoppage "Sodepur" came and the crowd became little thin. Two more stoppages to Barrackpore and I was proceeding towards the gate.
I had a glimpse of a middle aged person who was still running in the platform. The young men near the doors picked him up. The man instead of thanking was roaring. 
" Aare what sort of people you are? "
" We only helped you Dada and you are angry."
" Why should I not be. I was only two compartments before you. I could jump out of the Compartment at the last moment and I was running so that I do not fall. Now for the sake of you people I am back in the train."

A gentleman known to him came near to him controlling his laughter and consoled" Dada get down at Barrackpore, you shall get an empty up train. "
"I shall be more than half an hour late. And these flowers from Mallickghat, with so much heat they may get spoiled."
" Flowers for Boudi. Dada I forgot. Wish you a happy marriage anniversary. Dada be a little late carry a big packet of famous Biryani From "Dada Boudi" Restaurant just near the Barrackpore Station. Boudi shall forget her tempers and be too happy."
" That's an Idea"the man now no longer grumbled.

While he was at the platform the young men who lifted him from Sodepur Said" Happy Marriage anniversary Sir. Show this token card at "Dad-Boudi". We contacted the manager from our cell. A gift packet is getting ready for you. Please accept our gift of Special Biryani in Hot pack ."
Proceeding to No 14 level crosing gate I looked at a big hoarding and mumbled " WHAT AN IDEA SIR JI!"


sujata said...

Brilliant absolutely. I loved the local train conversations when I travelled from Howrah to Rishra almost every weekend after my marriage. The humour and the wit of calcutta local trains and busses cannot be compared to anything, plus all the vendors selling so many different kind of eatables and other necessary stuff.

♥ Braja said...

Hi Pradip, thanks for your comment, but you have "no-reply comment" on and I can't email you.....

Only one thing that I didn't agree with was what you wrote about Jagai and's not that they couldn't perceive or feel Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mind, but that rather, His mind, His body, His soul, all are the same: He is sac-cid-ananada....

♥ Braja said...

Is that the Kalyani local that leaves from Sealdah or Howrah? I am sometimes on the platform at Sealdah at that time; I take the Baghirati Express to Krishnagar....wave, if you see a tall redheaded Aussie girl :)

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Local trains have a life and camarederie all their own, which you have captured so well in this post. By the way, I have just posted my part of the story.

Babli said...

Pradipda thank you very much for spending your precious time in visiting all my blogs and giving very sweet and lovely comments.Keep visiting my blogs.
Marvellous post.I liked it so much that I cannot express in words.Enjoyed reading it a lot.As I have never ever stayed at Kolkata so by reading your wonderful post I am able to know lots of new new things.Keep writing.

Pradip Biswas said...

I keep on hearing and seeing people in various locations. Thank you for your inspiring comments.

Pradip Biswas said...

You did a wonderful job and I have now cleavages in my forehead for the next. Do you remmber the Biryani of Dada Boudi very close to your Barrackpur home. I bet it is much better than Siraj's

Pradip Biswas said...

Your Shayari is slowly replacing my 2nd cup of coffee. If you are not travelling by Local trains of Calcutta you are missing a lot.

Aparna said...

Splendid post...true flavours of Calcutta wit. One gets to hear it in the local buses too.Some wise cracks infact can be understood only by Bengalis. So unique.

Sakshi said...

Please don't tell me that I have to be a Bengali to be at ur blog?? I am still laughing in Malayalam after reading that Propose to a tall girl idea..hilarious. I loved travelling in Buses and trains in Delhi and listening to conversations and here too I travel in Buses and trains and stare hard at people who seem to be having conversations either with their laptop or dancing to their Ipod...I think WiFi should be banned in local entertainment for people like me u see...
Btw thanks a ton for leaving ur comments at my blog for the cookie post..lolz

SGD said...

You've captured a typical journey by local train so perfectly ...the pushing, the shoving, the laughter, the jokes & witty comments!!

Debopam Chaudhuri said...

Hey, this is really serious writing!! Pictures out of words, no even better, actually totally a motion picture woven in words. And it is so very real!!!

June Saville said...

I love your train conversations Pradip. That's what I do - listen to get ideas.

If I travel on a long journey I make sure I take along a notebook and pen. It's amazing how many conversations can be made into a full blown short story, or become part of a novel ...

Mampi said...

Love these train stories.

Maumita Bhattacharya said...

Very well descriptive article sir :)

umashankar said...

The swarming, sweltering local train came alive right before my eyes and loved each and every idea out there, sir jee!

Pradip Biswas said...

Thank you Umashankarji for youe comments. Your comments are very much encouraging for me.

Indrani said...

A very well woven story.
I like this little scenes in trains. Many year back when I frequently traveled in trains i had the habit of overhearing conversations, I am reminded of those days now.