Polished car interiors, good music to match my taste, car fuelled up till the brim, stuffed with eatables, water to quench the thirst and dog food to keep my dog ‘Pepper’ happy…what else can be a better recipe for a road trip with a dog. I was on a road trip with my Pepper from Bikaner to Nagpur. Being rainy season it was greenery everywhere although wipers of my car had to work harder at times to clean my windscreen. My car from outside was just giving a look of wanderer. We both were enjoying the drive on NH548C and had just left Betul behind. Everything was just perfect as per plan but I was missing my better half who was waiting for us in Nagpur!
We were about to hit NH47 when I took a halt at around 1000H on one of the curves of hilly road. It was really very pleasant. It had just rained. My leashed hyperactive Labrador was sniffing all around the car. I called up Swati asking where can we plan our holidays this time. Our conversation led us to three options: Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Kerala. We’d never thought that we were actually taking our small conversation during road trip halt that seriously and two days after I reached Nagpur, we were on a train to Puducherry!
Well, you can make out we hadn’t planned much. All we knew was that we had to reach Chennai. Although we Googled something before starting our journey that we had to board another train from Chennai for Puducherry. It was simple. We boarded Tamil Nadu Exp clicking umpteen number of selfies and munching whatever we liked. The journey was comfortable. We talked and talked a lot. Many a times in our busy lives, we forget to talk without any purpose.
Next day morning when we reached Chennai, it was a poles apart cultural shift. Chennai railway station is one of those stations where you can see some platform built in a way where train can enter from one side but it can not leave from another side. It has to go back. Somehow it gave me feeling that this is one of the ends of our country. I felt wow!!!
Mind you, people just don’t know HINDI in Tamil Nadu. Well, I was prepared for this. I met one policeman with whom I thought I could be comfortable talking to. I still remember he was wearing a well ironed uniform sipping coffee at 0730H. I asked him that how could I reach Puducherry? He just said one word ‘Egmore’. I asked him again… ‘what?’ He replied again, slightly irritated this time ‘Egmore’. I just had no clue what he was saying, in fact in which language he was saying! So I decided to ask same question shamelessly to another policeman standing besides him completely ignoring the first one has if he no longer existed there “Sir, how can I reach Puducherry?” This second policeman surprisingly looked towards first policeman and then with a weird expression on his face replied to me ‘Egmore’. This time, I just smiled and said three words for solving such a difficult question of my life “Thank you, sir!!!” This time second policeman again looked towards first policeman and I’m sure he must have thought “What a moron”!
Meanwhile, my wife who was sitting besides our luggage waiting for me to return after enquiring about next course of action was waving towards me. I thought she must be calling me, which of course she was. When I reached near her, she told me ‘Egmore’. I was like ‘WTF’. How could she hear my conversation with policeman from such a far distance? I was dumbstruck. She explained that we had to go to a nearby railway station called ‘Egmore’ by auto rickshaw from where we had to board another train to a place called ‘Villupuram Junction’. From Villupuram, we had to board a bus to Puducherry which was around 40 odd kms away! All I could say is ‘Let’s go then!’ I did not tell her anything about my intense conversation with helpful, yet not helpful, policemen.
We hired an auto to reach Egmore Railway station. Auto drivers take advantage if they know that you’re new to the city and on top of it when they make out that you don’t know Tamil! (Kill them Maccha, they don’t know Tamil!) One auto driver told us that it will take Rs300 for Egmore Station. Thanks to ‘Pre-Paid Auto Rickshaw Booths’ at Chennai Railway Station. It took us just Rs60 to reach Egmore Railway Station. Further, we reached Villupuram Junction from Egmore after 4-5hrs of second train journey. It was a local train yet comfortable. As usual, my wife managed to take a good nap in that train also! She is so bless.
Villupuram is a warm place. I started to think that Kerala would have been a better place. There is nothing that you can get at Villupuram Railway Station. Well, I had another decoding task in front of me. From where we could get bus to Puducherry! Surprisingly, I found one Hindi speaking railway employee who told me how to reach bus stand. After crossing couple of railway tracks, we reached Auto Rickshaw stand from where we paid Rs30 to reach bus stand.
I had no clue that how this bus journey was going to be. We were partially exhausted due to heat. Out of nowhere a speeding bus came and stopped abruptly in front of us. We could hear loud Tamil songs full of high tempo beats. I could just not understand shit out of it but it was awesome. I had started getting feel of it. It took us around an hour and Rs110 per head to reach Puducherry. Roads were good. In between we could see glimpse of sea which was setting our mood for vacations.
Finally, we reached Puducherry! Now next was where to stay and a two wheeler to explore the city. In between our second train journey, when Swati was sleeping leaning over my shoulder, I managed to Google something about where we can stay and from where we can hire two wheelers.
Raj Kumar: 0950089275
Address: 3, Capitane Marius Xavier Street,Pondicherry – 605001,India
Phone: +91 413 222 1122
Email: [email protected]