On my way to Lonavala. Friends from Mumbai wanted to honour Kannan who is on a trip to India from Boston. They are driving down to Lonvala. I over heard about this meeting, whether they like it or not, I tell them I am in.
All modes of travel checked, flight to Rail to road. Finally settles by train, that’s rail. You will waste a lot of time. Well that is the only thing I have, time. And then once you have a reservation, nothing like train.
By flight you pay 4 to 5 times more money, the travel to airport, the security checks ..! Your baggage is in the conveyor , scanning and you are at the receiving end, lo it takes a side track. My God, what now ? Open the bag, what is this ? It’s a harmonica, what’s that, mouthorgan and this, this I,s another one. Open it, I open the cover and give a blow. This happens with most of my airtravels. Last time, I offered him a farmaish ( any favourite) he would like me to play. He just laughed it off with a no need gesture. In train you just walk in, find your seat and relax. Well, this is only for domestic travel, we do not have international train service,
Gets an Ola, travel to the metro station to go to the Citi station, train at 4 p.m.
In the auto decides to put the phone in the bag, closes the zip, since the auto driver gives me a warning, payment in cash, no Google pay, I do not need the phone for some time.
In the metro, let’s see the phone and check the reservation details seat number boggie # and it’s coach position. Opens the zip and puts my hand in and do not find the phone. Maybe it may be in the other pocket, no, may in the third and final. Since I am travelling, standing, it’s too much of an effort to search. Forget it, no urgency, shall get down from the metro and peacefully search.
Reaches the metro station, walks over to a bench and searches. Meanwhile requests, another guy sitting next to me, can you please dial my number, my phone is missing and I tell him my number. It’s ringing, he says and I can’t hear it, that means its not in my bag or with me. “ Hello” somebody responds. Our man sitting next to me asks him who is speaking, when he says, the phone is in my auto. Then I take over and asks the automan whether he can reach it to me at the railway station, I will wait at the entrance gate. He says I am at Bannerghata road and it will require payment, since I am coming that far without passenger. I said Payment, I will give you a flight ticket, my train is at 4 o’clock and he had 45 minutes to reach me. Ok, here I come, he said.
I walk across to main station through some underpass and surfaces, which I expected to be the main entrance. What the hell, I realized, I have not come since last four years, the whole look has changed. They have changed the entry, separated from the main, all for the good to ease the congestion, not for mine. With the incomplete work, I don’t know whether my entrance gate will be his entrance gate, where he is to meet me and deliver the phone. Anyway if we don’t find each other by 4 o’clock, I will have only one way to go that is back home. I told myself, OK I wait here and if my travel is there, it will happen else…. that’s it. My tickets, destination details, payment facilities, whole life is in that phone, the digital world, which I am very proud of. Next best thing is I have no way to track him unless someone obliges to help me with his phone. First guy in the metro station was good enough, to find another guy to trust me is a challenge asking him to dial a number for me in this fraud filled days.
Lots of auto guys stops near me, with my back pack I looked like a potential customer. Now, I have to tell guys, no and has to keep an eye for my phone auto. It’s a crowded joint, two earth movers working in middle of this traffic. I am not sure of the auto man’s face, I am expecting him to recognise me by my anxious searching face. With the bangalore traffic, I had given him time to reach me by 10 to 4, with an extension of another 5 minutes. Then I will have to sprint, to find the train
Even Ussain bolt at my age, would not make it. Then I requested an automan, whether he can call our friend who is on his way and gave him my number. He loved it when I told my story and jumped at it, whats the number and he dialled. He is in KG road, there is 10 minutes for you, you will make it. In Bangalore, last 1 minute takes 10 minutes, you never know. Finally the watch showed 4 oclock, he did not make it by then and I relaxed, the drama is over. These days the trains are on time, hope they has extended their discipline for another day. At 4.05 pm my new auto friend signaled me to come near the fence because to reach the front gate he will take another ten minutes, so we will put our hands out over the fence and collect the phone. I was waiting, my new auto friend was busy tracking and scripting the story.
I got the phone, gave him the money and rushed to the station. I asked a porter, pune express which platform. He said 4, and I walked on to the bridge and while coming down saw the platform is crowded and people are waiting for another train, since my train originates from here and must have gone. I asked has the train gone, he said it’s late and has not yet come.
Thanks for my ASSumption that it’s a train starting from Banglore going to pune instead it is a train coming from Coimbatore going to Mumba going via Punei hence probability of being late was high. Well in all the excitement, I emphasized on the philosophy, that has to happen will happen. Relax.
Next day, on 29th November, I am at Lonavala station, at the expected time. The rest of the team had driven down from Mumbai,Durga and her husband Bhagat drove down from Pune and the party was on at Meher Villa. Rakesh Bhaskar and Aspi, my dear friends among all the dears assembled at the Villa came to pick me up ( he also dropped me accompanied by Subhash), on my return), which was around 20 minutes away through the crowd ed road.
After all the hugs, shake hands and namasthes, we all settled down on the lawn (on chairs), too old to squat. It started with a welcome beer and wine before lunch and patience for the teettotlers (please check the spelling). During lunch I started with my regular goofup. I was asking the lady sitting next to me about my friend Aspi’s friend I had met, when she politely said I am Vandana, Rakesh Bhaskar wife, Aspi’s wife is Roshni, there sitting at the head of the table. Rakesh and Vandana are one of the cutest couple and the most impressive, I had befriended during our last two get-togethers in Rajasthan and Kerala 5 years ago. Is it the beer or some locha in the brain ?
In this group I am meeting Roshni for the first time. Her husband Aspi is my batch mate, hostel room mate , friend since college days
All retires to their rooms, long journey, to meet again at 5.30 in the evening.
The evening begins, same place, the lawn and we just keep talking mostly about past, we are people with no future. Mamta’s husband Mishraji says, “I have a shameless habit these days, to sing whether anybody wants it or not. We were about to ask him to sing, when he started off. We enjoyed it.
Then Subhash husband of Manju asks me about my mouthorgan, the harmonica. I get it from my room and struggles to play . It’s been a long time and I found myself missing a few notes and making a lousy dish out of it. After 2 songs, I found the gang engaging in conversation, a polite hint for me to stop. I felt relieved.
A great weather, awsome food (no out of the world items, only common ones like upma, idly, bread omelets , lunch, dinner – memorably delicious) .
Today in the cool morning Alok Piyush, said “ Some of us have 5 years, others may have 10 years left, we should have more frequent meetings like this”.
I said, “ That is why I am here”.
A simple gathering, which could have been anywhere and nothing to talk about. A simple idea, by Rakesh, for an evening at Lonavala, sounded crazy for many. Rakesh, Vandana, Aspi, Roshni , thank you for the great arrangements.
For five couples and 4 singles ( Nitish,Piyush, Kannan and Self) it was bliss doing nothing.
9 thoughts on “Bliss at Lonavala”
Thanks dear Rajan for your blog, narrating our get-together(though only for one day). You have covered almost all details, which will remain as memories for all of us. We are thankful to you for joining us, coming right from Bangalore, that too only for this get-together.
Thank you, Bhagath, thank you for your company, it was my pleasure
Nice as usual.
Especially the retrieval of the phone was the most thrilling part narrated wonderfully.
All the best for more goof ups and more writings.
Couldn’t the tt have accommodated you with just your aadhaar?
Just a thought.
TTs these days do not ask for adhaar, he looks at you and asks the berth #, you can tell him your name, he ticks in his list and moves on
Good getogether at Lonavala
Our get together was in Rajasthan and my wife’s photograph has made it to International photography competition best 3. Please vote for her so India wins
Vote link here
You have brought back the sweet memories of the lovely trip and the time spent together .We will be remembering the incident of auto rickshaw which confirms there are still good people in the world.
I read it and quite envy you guys . I could not recognize anyone except you.
You said sometime you may visit Hyderabad.
Please do so unless you have already come and gone .
I am coming to Hyderabad to meet you