Dejavu? The return from Kodaikanal was different, yet so similar (Oh! The paradox of it all!) The plan was finalised a few hours before I left. The starting point was Kodaikanal and the destination was Vellore. The first leg was in a taxi and the second leg was a train. The journey had a stopover at a place called Dindigul – lets call this the D terminal. We planned it to be a 20 minute wait after I got off the taxi. It should be OK!
The ride down the hills was scenic and beautiful. We stopped for a little break and I grabbed some fresh tender coconut water on the roadside – perfect for a hot evening! As I turned into Dindigul, I tried to check the train running status and my shoulders slumped – 2 hours late!! With the temperature in the high 90s this was going to be bad. My heart leapt as I saw there was an Air Conditioned waiting room. It sank below my kidneys as I saw a 1.5 ton Voltas AC in a big room with dozens of people. The half degree drop in temperature inside was welcoming and I plonked myself into a metal chair and discovered the joy of staring at the wall with no bugs or insects for company – somehow I missed those buddies. They were a jolly lot! The occasional train rumbled low on the tracks, while people criss crossed all over the platforms. I didn’t doze. My lip corners turned up into a crooked smile as I read the sign on the wall – I wonder what another valuable was!
I crept out after more than an hour and discovered that the air temperature outside had dropped 3 degrees and it was effectively cooler than the AC waiting room. I shrugged it off and went to the cart for a snack. The bewildering variety of snacks and typos ended with me clutching a pack of air and some chips which set me back 20 Rs. Almost magically, my train was announced. No aerobridge, but there was an elevator on the platform which helped me get to my terminal – platform 1. The trained roared in lazily and I stepped in to the cool AC compartment. After another attempt by IRCTC to entertain me with a non-existent ladder, I swigged down some coke and lay down. Reality dissolved into dreams for a few hours and then the exercise of waking and checking my progress became obsessive as I finally reached my destination a full 4 hours late.
….. and let me tell you, there’s nothing as confusing as entering work and feeling the cold embrace of discharge summaries to be corrected!