Bhaago, kaku aila..

Hey guys, I'm in Mumbai..! Came over just today morning and am already having a nice reunion time with my cousins and a soon-to-be sister-in-law!

I had decided to take a train this time, a V-long distance and excruciatingly time taking option compared to a flight.. But it's worth it for the sake of saving money (for I'll soon be bleeding chips in the nearer future..) and I get to meet new people (I know, that's a TLC trademark cliche!) However, I did meet new kind of people, whom I'm not really familiar with - the highly self-decorated, working class Bengali kakus!

Kaku (n.) : the stereotypical Bengali uncle; related not by blood, but by bonds you don't control, especially when you're in a crowded mini-bus in Kolkata, the metro during office-hours, the long immobile queues at the government offices in Kolkata, and the afternoon lunch-break crowd about the Roll-and-Cigarette joints at Park street and further up north.. They have typical characteristics such as reading out loudly the morning paper in the bus with 20 other fellow-office goers, voicing their opinion in public, crying out slangs and 'khisti' at the bus driver and be a self-valued part of a union somewhere.

I had got a reservation on Jnaneshwari Express, coach A1, the very first seat, lower berth alongwith 5 other people - a group of five semi-elderly bengali kakus - who belonged to a larger group, rest of whom were in coach B4, so I could meet only 2 of them.. not that I'm complaining!

Lets name them: Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy and Bashful, Doc.. I was sharing my 'comfort zone' with the first fives.

10 minutes into the journey, it's 4:40am and we have Sneezy talking: 'Ei taash khelbi chol! Eksho'r baaji..?' Let's play cards! Shall we have a 100 buck's bet?
Sleepy snaps back, 'Chaatte baaje, shaala Bokac*@#%!! Liquid gile eschish naaki re.. Ei ghuma Banc*@#%!' you don't wanna hear what it meant, except the fact that he 'politely' turned down his offer..
With that, we all retired to our beds on the first night..

When I woke up at 9am, Happy was awake, while his friends were snoring their way to glory, only to wake up 3 more hours later.. I wonder how they wake up early to go to work! I had a conversation with Happy, who actually was pretty amiable and his sense of humour was absolutely off the charts. He choked and gagged on his own laughter almost to anything mildly amusing. Talking to him, I came to know that he and his friends were co-workers in the Sales department of Indian Railways and were going on a paid trip to Mumbai. They were travelling on their passes and even their higher-order meal (complete with extra chapatis and sweets) cost less than 20 bucks! (Jealousy grips me at this point, and a pretty validated emotion, as the meal I paid for cost me 80 bucks..) That, however, didn't prevent them from complaining still!

'Manager ke bolte hobe, shaala ruti guli kaancha!' The chapathis were apparently not well-cooked and they were considering a well-provoked complaint to the manager..


'Taa you're doing B.Tech from..?' asked Grumpy.
'Umm na kaku.. I'm in my pre-final year at VIT University, pursuing an M.Sc degree in Biotechnology.'
'Ohh..' He was either unsure about what to talk about biotechnology or he had lost interest in the conversation as soon as I said I'm not doing a B.Tech course.. Bengalis have this thing for Medicine and Engineering, even if done from a rotten college, barely hanging on in there with the UGC..
'There were so many good colleges in Bengal, and you went so far for an M.Sc degree, such a pity!'
Well, excuse me for not keeping up with the poltics and romance in the colleges of Bengal, its indeed a pity!


Journey was actually passing smoothly. And my laptop battery continued to hold on as I crossed the state-borders of Bihar, Orrisa, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and entered Maharashtra. I watched a couple of movies, sifted through my folders, opened-and-closed random files, transferred music to my cellphone, cleaned disk-space, twice.. The kakus were playing cards,  as they were joined by the other 2 members - a lungi-clad Bashful and an elderly Doc in boxers. There was quite a ruckuss but I didn't mind, I was actually LMAO inside while I concentrated on Happy kaku's antics and comments directed towards the others. However, I returned to my movie..

'Bhai, you won't have a problem if we drink right?' with his confident and strong hand on my shoulder, Dopey asked me as the others too, having left their card game were staring confidently at me and apparently appeared bigger and bigger in size every second, 'you can join us too!'
After a moment or two of awkward silence, I spoke.
'Err, no thanks.. and I don't mind not as long as you keep it down and don't fall sick..' I almost meant it as a doubtful question, but they were kind to me and accepted it as an approval.

I didn't understand the concept of needing to consume local-brand alcohol on a train.. especially when recently about 110 people died off a poisoned alcohol breakout in some God-forsaken place of rural Bengal!! It was all over the news, didn't they read it? Didn't it install fear in their pea-brains?? APPARENTLY NOT..!

So they drank and made merry. Until Dopey got a pretty good head-ache. And it ended as quickly as it had started..


Woke up next morning, only to see the happy Happy again! And even I got the apparently-catchy emotion called humour when I noticed that he has just taken a bath.

A Bath. Yes, don't ask me how, but Happy managed to take a bath and shave on the train!! WHAT A GENIUS!
'Snan ta na bhai, kore elum.. he-he!' Took a bath, he-he! WHAT A GENIUS, REALLY!!

So my journey was eventful, with the idea that one can take bath on the dirtiest restroom on Earth, being the icing on the cake.. I'll update soon from my trip here in Mumbai and then in Goa, if I get any time that is! Till then, valued readers, spread the love.. (and share this blog! lol)

And if I don't get to say so.. Have a Happy Christmas!

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