3rd March 2016

My train to Mangalore was to arrive at 3.55am. Even if it gets late, I have at least 2 hours before my next train arrives at Mangalore Central. This was a concern when buying tickets for interchange train travels. I asked the lady when I bought them, and she was also concerned about it and gave me tickets with 2 hours time between them. Most of the trip I saw in light was Tamil Nadu. By the time I entered Kerala, it was evening so I only saw the evening sunset but for the rest of Kerala it was dark, so I missed it. I think we got to Mangalore by about 4.15am. Well, I have time. More than enough actually. Went around to the counter to ask for my platform and waited. My next train to Madgaon , Goa was the Madgaon Passenger. When I bought the ticket I insisted to have a chair seat and not a sleeper class as it would be morning time travelling. It cost me only INR95/=. No need to get an expensive sleeper class ticket where I would be up and seated. Besides it was only about a 7 hour train ride.

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Goa, I've known to be a very touristic place. It is popular among the Foreign as well as the local tourists. Even at this time in the morning, there were a number of foreign and local travellers awaiting to go to Goa. By the luggage they were carrying I could clearly see that, they are heading for serious partying. But at this Mangalore Central station, the crowd wasn't that much. Maybe that's a good thing. Low crowd season I could live with. I looked around for a pay phone booth. No luck. I couldn't contact anyone and my worry just increased. My phone still wouldn’t work. As I had very little luggage and looked like Indian, I didn't attract any unwanted attention. That came as a conciliation at this point because I wouldn't know how to handle things if they went wrong.

The Madgaon Express had arrived at the platform for a long time now. I had been just seated in front of it not knowing it is my train. Only after the announcement I realized it was my train.

There was this tall fair skinned man who looked like a foreigner and had a well groomed accent in English speech. He was chatting with a short Indian boy [an adult actually]. They were next to me at the platform and even on the train seated in the next seat. The train was empty when we got in. My second class carriage was. The seats were for 3 people, so I could stretch myself as I pleased. I kept my luggage bag on one side and laid on the seat facing the window, watching the scenery passing by. It was nice. Mangalore was similar to Kerala with less dryness and more lush greenery. When we entered Goa, it was more of a familiar site. The Portuguese influence was quickly recognizable. The houses were more like houses in catholic populated parts in Sri Lanka. Or should I say the places which were more Portuguese influenced. I honestly felt like I was travelling in that part of Sri Lanka. As I had known Goa to be famous for it's beaches, I expected the train to be going along the coast. But it was more inland and I didn't see much beach on my trip. The sun coming out and day break was beautiful and refreshing. I was more relaxed now as I was completely out of Tamil Nadu. Now it's my domain ;) I can speak in Hindi and be one of the locals. While I was in full relaxed mode, a man was standing next to me and calling at me loudly “Hello!”. I quickly looked to see what this was about. He spoke in Hindi and said that I am sitting in his seat. Huh? I have a ticket, how can I be sitting in his seat?

Then he showed me his ticket and pointed out that MY SEAT is the window seat and he had bought the other 2 which I was stretched on. For God's Sakes! It's an empty carriage! Sit where ever you want ! I was thinking it, but didn't say it. The foreign looking man and the Indian boy seated in the next seat were watching this. I didn't want to make a fuss, so moved to my window seat. The man brought in his parents and got them to sit next to me and he sat in the seat in front of me which was empty. They all could have sat on that seat without bothering me, but hey, these are Indians, I think they genetically lack common sense :/

I just went on minding my own business and watching the beautiful scenery unfolding outside. The man's father seemed like a very sick man. He was quite uncomfortable. His face showed like he was in great pain. The man and his mother were trying to take care of him and make him as comfortable as possible. But with the moving train it was difficult. The man showed a lot of love, care and respect towards his parents and it was a nice thing to see [although he was absolutely rude to me]. I was still pissed at the way the man treated me, so I also rudely ignored him and didn't try to help them in any way. Then the man and the mother got up and asked the father to lie down on the seat they were sitting and they came and sat in my seat. After a while, he was still uncomfortable so, the man went around a carriage, found a more comfortable seat and took him to lie down there and they were seated on the opposite seat of that. What?! Couldn't they have done this without waking me up? Now they are not even sitting in my seat, and they just had to be all Indian rudeness and wake me up to make a statement that it's "their seat", and now they are seated somewhere else! I just don't believe it.

I didn't go back to lay down. But I was annoyed. As we entered Madgaon, the scenery was nice. The view of the sea was starting to make it's appearance. It wasn't beach sight though, just bay,and the sea is still so far away.

I wasn't sure where to get down. At Madgaon yes, but , I was afraid I would get down at a wrong station. I had no choice but to ask someone. So I approached the Portugese man and the Indian boy he was with. I asked if the next station was Madgaon. They said yes and asked where I was going. I wanted to go to Madgaon, but as my host instructed, I have to get to the Panjim bus station and get a bus to where he is staying – Tivim. I looked at the Map to try and figure out this whole thing, but still I was confused. I had asked him if it wouldn't be easier to get to a train and get there, he said it was a longer distance and I would have to get in to another bus to get to his place. I wished he came to pick me up from this station so that I wouldn't have to go through all the trouble and get lost. But then again, I couldn't expect that from him as he is offering his home for free to stay. But, he did say that he would pick me up if I DID get lost and find it hard to get to his place. I told these 2 men I met in the train that I have to get to Madgaon and then the directions like how my host told me. As these 2 were also strangers, I didn't want to show too lost and confused. But I did need help in finding my way. Besides, they figured out I am not from around as I had a hard time pronouncing “Madgaon”. I would pronounce it as “Mad-Gaa-On” , where as it should be pronounced as “Mad-Gon”. Well, it was much later in my trip that I found THAT out.

So anyway, these 2 men knew I wasn't local, so offered to help me out. They showed me where to get down as they are going there too. The 3 of us got down at the Madgaon train station. The boy said his goodbyes and left from there. The tall Portuguese looking man hung around with me continuing to offer help. He said that, I would have to change trains here and go to Tivim station. He quickly took me to the ticket counter and bought a ticket for himself to Tivim and asked if I would also go. I was confused, because my host said it would be further. But, now this man is also going in that direction so it would be easier to go with him. I asked if I could take the bus, but he said the bus would take about 4 hours where as the train would take only about 1 hour. I was in doubt. But gave him money to buy me a ticket too. I don't think it would be any worse. Worst case scenario, I could always get to a bus and head back. We got down at Madgaon right on time as scheduled. The train to Tivim should come in about half an hours time. Then, I would be in Tivim by about 12.30pm. Then I could go see old Goa sightseeing as planned. My host said if I want to see the sights before arriving to his place, it is better to go to Panjim first, as all the sights are there. That sounded like a good idea. I wouldn't be wasting time and saving up a day.

After buying me the ticket, the man found me a place to sit and said that he has to meet someone, so he would be back soon to catch the train. For me to sit and wait in the meanwhile. He left and I was seated on a bench at the train station. ALONE..

Published by SaThi