Poona life (continued from previous post)December 28, 2006 at 8:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Then one afternoon suddenly I received a call from the landlord of the apartment and he said he has sent goondas to wait for me to return to my room. Fearing to face the situation, and knowing what to do, I just left my office, leaving every one of my possessions, and without telling anyone, not even my colleagues or roommates ir fruiends, went to the Railway Station, got a ticket to Bombay and got into the train. That changed my life for ever.
There have been many termini in my life, dead ends, cul-de-sac-s in my life. I have ill treated my life but life had done me many good turns to mee in return, like a good mother.
To continue my train journey where I left it at Poona Railway Station:
I reached Bombay V.T. as it was called then, now it is renamed as C.S.T., for Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. I was without a direction.
I remember the two occaisions I had been here earlier; once long long ago, when I was young, and I was on a tour organised for ICF employees children. ICF is Integral Coach Factory in Chennai where my father was working then. I, my sister Soundaram, both were in our early teens then, and a lot of other children, with our tour guides, we visited Bombay. The next occasion was when as member of the Methodist Church Choir, visited Bombay to sing in the Byculla Church Church. This visit is of relevance in my narration here.
I took a local train to Byculla intending to locate the church where I sang with my choir. Actually I reached it and wanted to contact the pastor or the conductor there or anyone who will remember me and will lend me some money for me to buy my ticket to Madras. I drew a blank. I had some money and found out that it was enough to take me to Arkonam. I reached Arkonam penniless with just a napkin in my packet and a ballpen. I thought I will try to cadge a hot cup of tea from the Railway Canteen but could not bring myself to beg for it. Instead I asked for some hot water to wash my face and drink some.
I founda train going to Pondicherry and got in. There was a lot of time for the train to start. I got on the upper birth of an empty coach and drifted off to a tired sleep. I suddenly woke up and saw someone trying to open my pant zip. On seeing me getting awake he beat it. The train started moving and made its way ultimately to Pondicherry. Luckily for me, there was no train ticket examiner to trouble me.
I got down, and tried to pass the ticket examiner at the exit gate, but he caught me sneaking and detained me. He took me to the T.E.s room and asked me to pay the fine. He could see I was penniless and miserable and tired. He took my only possession of a ballpen as a very mild punishment and let me go.
I went looking for Canteen Street, asking people for the way. One lady advised me to ask for Rue de la Canteen. I reached No.10, Canteen Street, and fortunately found my friend, my only friend in life, S. Sankaranarayanan. I stayed in his home for about ten days, eating their food and catching up with each other’s life so far. We visited the beach a number of times.
Then one day they got tired of me or perhaps wanted to help me reach home. His father arranged for a van to take me to Chennai (Madras), and I retraced my way back home. I will continue this in my next post.