Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Chance received

This happened while I was in manipal- second year or so, and it was such a surprise (to say the least).
This was the second time i was traveling to gokarna, which I personally understand as heaven on earth, i remember that I (accompanied with alap)- left on a saturday evening- taking the train, and had the mind to just chill out at the beach for some hours and catch the late night(early morning) train back to manipal - the distance being meager at just 2.5 hours odd by train. It was the perfect chill out scene, we boarded and reached gokarna stataion, in time- this is around 16 or more kilometers from the small religious town. We took a share cab to the town, where we headed to the beach- i took some time off to goto the precious beautiful gokarna-ishwara temple. We took upto a shack on the corners of this beautiful beach- i remember it was around holi, as soon we saw (almost ethereal looking) group of firangs; with long matted hair coming- playing flutes and little guitars asking all the shack owners for bhang and bhang related drinks lol :). Holi being the only time across india, where this product is freely available and accepted. We relaxed for a long time and struck up a conversation with the shack owner, the asswipe realized that we had come for no good reason- to chill out and (him) being drunk, started going off tangentially to different topics ranging from how unsafe gokarna was, and how deaths to tourists were common, and that; if we were to head back late at night to the station, should take an auto et all back. He takes initiative and goes gets another drunk person (pretending to be an auto walla)- who further start threatening and such. So we cut our party short, give some assurance that we will be back later to take the auto, and head off. These guys are piss drunk and pissed for not making us a bakra- and we get the intuition that this auto person goes to the auto stand, and tells all the drunkards there that we didnt cooperate in getting our money swindled by them. Autos kind of (as we imagine atleast) start following us through the town, and we are pretty unnerved, so we head to the bus stop- and there are no buses late night as we find out. We didnt have the mood to take a share auto-cab, cause we really didnt have any idea of what the scene in small towns like these is (sometimes there are pretty strong mafias- in hippie towns like gokarna et all... something which i have witnessed in goa as well- almost anywhere where foreign currency is valued more, and hence foreign skin as well). We start our walk back in the night- all the way back to the gokarna road station. I must tell you, the walk back in the night over some 16 km- through thick wild western ghat jungles- mixed with hills and lakes and what not- is very haunting, it was good that alap accompanied me, cause all through the journey we encounter some thousand odd house dogs, who run right in the middle of the road with teeth jarring out ready to mince meat us; alap is bloody psycho- he barks and shows his teeth back to these dumbass house pets, and they actually get freaked out. lol :) I actually cowered the entire journey behind the freak, so that dogs wouldnt bite me - something i dont think i will forget ever. We reach the station at some 12-1 at night, there is not a single soul alive anywhere for kilometers at end, the western ghats become very haunted at night, they are sparcely populated- lack of light and human habitation and very very weird vibes from the jungles abound. Something very intriguing indeed. I remember we complete the walk in one go, no rest anywhere (except at the start)- we were tired, and just shocked at the incidents preceding the walk. something to keep us alert till the time we reached back to the station. 
The gokarna road station is very peculiar, it is a side road extending deep into jungle for 2 odd kilometers diverted from the main road, its desolate is an understatement. Its haunted, and the station is barren, no night keeper or anyone. Most trains dont stop here, and hence no need for a station attendant. The night is young and we realize that we need to get some sleep before the train (scheduled at around 4 in the morning came). Alap dozes off on the platform floor (another feature of the stations which come after maharashtra- on the west coast all the way to kerala is- their abundant cleanliness, their quite charm.. out of the world) and in sometime even i hit the floor (quite literally) putting my knapsack behind my head for some cushion and hit dreamland,
now this is where the fun comes in, I suddenly get up with some weird loud noises out of hell marching through my ears, my head and soul. as soon as i come back to reality, the first thing i notice is that alap is also in the same condition some distance away from me, and both of us were some 2 odd feet from the platform end-tracks- where a huge fast bogey train (carrying supplies) runs at incredible speed. We actually slept quite a far distance away from the platform end, and both of us somehow in our stupor sleep slipped up to very close to the tracks-very very close, a foot closer (my head was actually at the platforms end-so horrible i tell you, even today when i remember it) and i would be crushed beyond belief by the goods train. I get up to my feet before i can even remember anything else, and run away from the monster. 
We catch our scheduled train two hours later (the train was very late)- and reach back to our hostel beds just in time for some more sleep. The night just went by, and so did the days after this trip till one day i realized that i was actually very close to my death, something which didnt hit me till a long time after. Its been very nice to be given another chance, for i alone know (dont know about alap really) that this was such a close close call for my head and my life. 


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