The Great Eastern

6th March, 2004

As the pastoral landscape rolls by the window, I think of how distinct is the journey in the Indian Railways. When the train rolls out of the suffocating urbanisation of Bombay, the earthen odour engulfs you. There’s a feeling of being pulled back in time as the gadgetry leaves your side. The cellphone loses the network and theres not much you can do apart from gazing out of the window into acres of fields tinted with houses made of red-bricks and thatched roofs.

I was on my way from Bombay to Kharagpur. Generally on such long journeys the transition between languages and cultures is a smooth one. My train was an express one, so I had Bongs (pardon me, hee hee), right from the beginning. They started chattering in Bangla and all I knew was, “”Aami Bangla jaani na””, all thanks to Tom Singh. I love the way every train is named according to the place where its going. Mine was named Geetanjali Express. It gives the train that different feel…

7th March, 2004

The second day of my trip. I finally reached Kharagpur and quite contrary to my expectations this place royally and awfully sucks. Its like theres no goddamned life here!!! Its a complete village with cycle-driven rickshaws, kaccha lanes and acres and acres of empty land. You can see as far as the vision lets you and the horizon barricades you. I sat in one of those cycle-rickshaws and reached IIT. And about IIT, well, all I can say is that its like an oasis in a dessert. But I do believe in mirages.

The experience was good. In one day I must have met atleast 50-60 new people and shook as many hands. Phew!! The first day was quite quiet and frustrating. At the end of it I was at my nerves end.

8th March, 2004

It was an early morning as I woke up and went for the Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview (PI). Well about the GD and PI all I can say is that if you can fake it, you can make it. Entering an MBA course is all about faking.
I must’ve finished by about 11:00 after which I packed up and had lunch. At about 2:00 I left for Howrah. And believe me when I aver how relieved I was to leave this god-forsaken place!!. As I entered Kolkata I was much much more than happy to see civilization finally.

I got settled down and immediately called up Pompy. We agreed to meet up at Barista (yes!! Barista!!!). Its on Park Street in Kolkata and man, does that place rock!!
I met Pompy at about 7:45. I had no picture of her in my mind. But she only found me out (somehow) and we had dinner at a place called One Step Up. Real good place. She was the leader all the way. After that we went to a pub called ‘Someplace Else’. The pub is really good. I found it amazing coz we dont have any such pubs in Bombay. We talked a lot there over a few beers. And I was surprised when she called for beer. She is the first girl I have met, to date, who likes beer. She is a very interesting person and we talked about music, our lives, bloggers and the general. Then came the band SPAN. They started off on a pretty sucky note but culminated their act with some pretty amazing numbers like Comfortably Numb and Layla. Comfortably Numb pulled us back into the pub when we were about to leave. It was a terrific evening. I had a good time after many awful days. And yeah, Pompy treated me for both, dinner and booze.

9th March, 2004

I passed the whole day shopping at Planet M and watching movies in my hotel room.
As the evening grew near I got that feeling once again as it was time to leave. Goodbye Kolkata. Someday I’ll be back again. Someday.”

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