I woke up to the sounds of ‘vada-pav’. Those two words were the only thing ringing in my ears for a duration of almost 4 hours. Even the chants of ‘Govinda-Govinda’ in Tirupati, by bald men or men who will eventually get bald (no disrespect of any sort intended here, promise), will fail to elicit the same amount of monotony that these vendors did on my train journey to Mumbai. I was traveling with my grandparents and my pain in the ass sister. She is all sorted and mature now, which is a little hard to digest. Okay, more than a little. Also, she texts non-stop. I mean 24×7. No kidding. Its like she was born to type. She knows every kind of top-up offer on every mobile service operating in India. My grandma,even at this age packed us dinner, snacks, more snacks and some more snacks. Unfortunately, our food bags weighed heavier than the total combined weight of the rest of our luggage. Luckily, there wasn’t much to do on the journey except hog – which we did. But the constant cry of ‘vada-pav’ every other minute almost drove us crazy. That and the message tone of my sister’s phone which just refused to stop ringing. The journey was very pleasant otherwise :).
Did a lot of catching up with my sister. Its been ages since we have spent some time together and she very deftly handled the conversations(the ones with me and the ones on the phone). I nudged her about her guy-friends and started teasing her a little. There was a time when she hated being taunted in the aforementioned manner. She did not mind it much this time. That made me a little suspicious. Sensing my changing stance from that of a buddy to an elder sister, she shrugged nonchalantly and said, “Nammu, there is no one.” I took her word for it and realized how unreasonably protective I was being. Still, I kept an eye about her phone :P.
Our co-passengers on the journey were a 13 year old boy and his mum. The boy was getting really bored (a fact I know because he kept asking for food every five minutes; “amma…chips….icecreams….vada-pav”;aah well of course, the last one had to feature). After a while he came up to us and asked ‘Which class are you studying in?’. That question just made me smile. I remember how this question was the ice-breaker during every social visit me and my sister were dragged to when in school. I told him that both me and my sister were not in school anymore. That made him a little sad because he was probably expecting us to play ‘book-cricket’ with him. Nevertheless, he started talking excitedly about cricket and was just glad that someone was listening to him. After what seemed like eternity, he felt sleepy and went up to his berth. Me and Anu (my sister’s name is Arpita – why she is called Anu though is another story) indulged in some harmless gossip and proceeded to sleep but not before grandpa set alarms in 4 mobile phones for the early morning wake-up call.
We got down at Dadar station and it took us a good five minutes to get the luggage out. A fact that was fodder for Papa’s jokes for the entire drive home. It felt strange because home has been Rajahmundry for a good ten years. New landmarks, new roads(the roads were kinda old actually.. bad joke…err well am allowed to crack one atleast) and a new home. Exciting. Add to that the fact that there is a super posh mba college just outside my house. You know – cute guys, swanky cars, etc. I fell in love with Mumbai on the very first day !!!