Friday, August 24, 2007


On a rather warm July evening, I met the Chairman of the Tamil Nadu chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects, and made my way to the Co-optex bus stop on Pantheon Road to take a bus to MAS – to get a train to PER back home.
As I was waiting for the bus, at around 1655, a 'share' auto as we call it in Chennai, stopped alongside and took passengers to Central for Rs.7/-. I took this option, since the bus stop was crowded and the bus was expected to be even more crowded.

As we passed Albert Theatre on Ice Factory Road and turned right into the Gandhi Irwin Road, I espied the 7651 MS KCG Exp, leaving MS with a rather clean looking Gowri loco. It was just about a hundred metres from the starter, and the train was already beginning to rock. I just forgot all about this and entered the Suburban terminal at MMC to take the 1720 AJJ EMU. The EMU was delayed by about 7 minutes and we left only at about 1727.

We then slowly wended our way out of MMC, parked outside a red signal that allows entry from MMC to the BBQ main line (slow line, of course), and started after a few minutes. The 2027 headed by a WAP1 made its way past us on the fast line, and disappeared on getting the green at the BBQ home signal.

We then stopped and started at BBQ, then slowed down at VPY (Veysarpadi) for some caution. To my surprise, the 2027 was still stuck up at VPY home signal. We just trundled past the 2027, stopped at Vysarpadi Jiva, and then proceeded towards PER. As soon as I got down at PER, I saw a distant train coming on the straight from VPY. I was rather surprised at this train – the KCG Exp would have long passed, and this loco did not seem to be the WAP1 of the Shatabdi.

I waited at the end of PF 4 at PER – and what do I see? The KCG Exp, Gowri and all, hurrying past – as though ashamed to have lost a race to an obese zombie called Sridhar Joshi. In about three or four minutes, as I walked down to my home, the Shatabdi also blasted its way!

It eventually turned out to be more than a “hare and a tortoise” story that day – the hare in Gowri surrendering meekly to the Tortoise. And to think that the hare took down the cheetah as well – the Shatabdi too lost the race to me!

Whatever happened mid way to Gowri – to hell with goods crossings, red signals, open LC gates – does NOT matter. The bottom line was that I blew the daylights off Gowri – and that is something that I will not forget in a hurry!


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