It was a season of long weekends. I think thursday and friday was a holiday for some reason. I was thinking "let me add a wednesday into the mix" and so had a ticket to Madras from Bangalore for tuesday night. On monday I learned that my manager was taking-off from the afternoon for a week ( oh! the 'cat is off and the mice are out to play' syndrome). Looked like was going to be a slow week at work and so I asked my manager with the oh-so-sweet face, you know the one that babies have when they say "Can I have some chocolate mummy?" (Okay it wasn't that corny but it was quite up there.). So I walked up to his cabin and told him. "I am taking-off tomorrow (tuesday).. I think I need a break" ( a question masquerading as a statement).
My boss is really a sweet guy. Sometimes he is so cool you would think he is a bunk mate in a hostel ( you know.. the ones with which you bet "how high can you pee on the restroom wall") than a project Manager. He looks at me, almost immediately gets my point, smiles and says something similar to " you dog you! so you wanna do something naughty in Madras don't you ?". I tell him with a blank face " I have nothing naughty to do in Madras. I want to spend time with my parents". Another corny lie. He rightly does not believe me. So he says something to the effect of " I have heard better BS in my life than this! Bharath. But if you don't want to accept then fine!" .
So I walk out proudly looking at a 7 day vacation. BUT there was a problem! train tickets!!!. Monday is a bad day for Bangalore to madras. In fact all days are bad days but Monday is especially bad. Not in a mood to give up I was determined to raise the stakes to Ist class Air Conditioned sleeper coachwhich costs Rs. 1400. So I left early with my collegue and headed straight to the booking office. Now the vehicle that I was using was a Kinetic Honda. I had conned my dear cousin to loan me the vehicle for a month and subsequently extended the period by 6 more months. So we parked the scooter (lets call this place Place X) in a crowded complex( we were lucky to get a parking space) and went up to stand in the booking line. I checked ticket availability status while on the queue and found that there was just 1 First A/C ticket available. That dampened my spirits somewhat and I started suspecting everybody before me as a possible sabateur (thats really a word, you know?! and I can use it in front of children). So I was analyzing the 50 or so people if front of me thinking " the guy with blue shirt-- dirty clothes, unshaven, not rich enough for an AC first class. The lady with funny dress -- may have money but looks stingy" and so on.
Then my friend gave me a radical idea. He said there was another booking center close by. And that it was relatively less crowded. We decided that he would go there and try while I continue stand in the same queue. So I gave him my scooter keys and he ran off to that center. My serpentine ( fancy word alert) queue slowly moved up and when I was 3 people away, my friend called my mobile phone and said that, that place was more crowded than the one I was in and so he was returning back. I reached the counter and the lady said " no tickets available sir! but I can give you a suggestion. if you reach the station in 1 hour you can catch the cauveri express which still has 30 2nd A/c tickets available. It has started from Mysore and so I can't issue tickets now".
So the countdown began 5 minutes later my friend came back, I explained the situation and we decided to rush to my house, pack ( a lot of stuff) and then rush to the station. So I asked him where he had parked the scooter and he showed me an aisle in a different corner of the parking lot ( lets call this Place Y). I searched for a few minutes and then did the hands-arms-wide-open gesture (which meant "what the crap"). When he came closer to me I told him, "dude where is my car..err..scooter". He'd forgotten the exact place where he parked. So he kept listing all the Kinetic Hondas that were there and kept asking me "is this your scooter?" "is this your scooter?" ad nauseum. None of the scooters in Place Y matched my scooter. Panic began to set in as 10 minutes had elapsed. Then he yelped "there it is" and I happily looked in the diretcion he was pointing only to find it was again not my scooter. But he was more confident. He said " I remember the sticker on the front. This is your scooter. This is where I parked. I remember now!" Funnily enough, He sounded genuine, and something ( I still don't know what made me do it till date) made me insert the key into that scooter and turn it.
Now! A single key opening many socoters is not new to me. When I was in college my Maruthi 800 car keys would open my neighbor's Maruthi 800 car door (but wudnt be able start the ignition). But I had a bigger problem to face. I asked myself the following questions
(Minutes elapsed: 15)
(Minutes elapsed: 16)
Oh! yes! I caught the train! with 5 minutes to spare! But not before I dumped my friend on the road in the middle of nowhere for hurting that poor little girl's mind. I am quite sensitive about protecting the emotions of fellow human beings you know!!!