Sunday, December 6, 2009

Stopped Dead in my Tracks

The title of this entry is a familiar saying in the idiom used when you stop moving suddenly due to fear or because of a strange noise or something else that caused alarm.

In my previous entry(Jaipur Train Station)I mentioned that my train ride was delayed from reaching my destination by 4 hours......yikes!!!!....this was the first time such a thing had happened. Typically, I have found that traveling by train was not only enjoyable, but rather punctual. As a matter of fact, I vowed to take the train to Jaipur due to a bad experience traveling by road one dreadful day.....a trip that was also extended by an additional 4 hours....once again I found myself delayed.....this time in a "car" of a different variety.

Things like this typically don't bother me...but on this particular day I was counting on being on time, as I had planned only a day Jaipur and back in the same day by train. I had a great deal to accomplish in a very short period of time......this was not the right day for this to happen.Things started off very well in fact......... a timely departure and the normal routine stops at stations along the way, but just after we pushed through into Rajasthan, the train came to a sudden halt.....very sudden! After sitting in my seat for approximately 10 minutes and watching "train people" rushing in and about through our car, I asked my colleague to inquire as to what the situation was.....rumors began floating that someone had pulled the "Emergency Brake" in another car.....yes, can you believe that such things exist....he pointed them out to me in our car.....there are four of them...two on each side to only be used in the event of an EMERGENCY.....from the looks of the chains in our car.....they are obviously seldom used by what was this about...must really be something serious.I wasn't the only curious passenger. The train Shatabdi, which means "EXPRESS",is traditionally filled with many expat passengers since Jaipur is a very popular tourist destination. I had my seat at the windows, and despite the opaqueness caused by the filth and grime on the outside....and perhaps the inside as well, I could see people walking outside the car.....pointing to a few cars back and speaking in Hindi.....of course I could not understand a word.

I decided it was a opportune time for me to stretch my legs and get some fresh air...after all we were in the middle of the country...far removed from the poor air quality of Delhi. When I reached the open door I originally used to board the train...I decided to climb down onto the tracks to get a better angle to take a picture of the Brick Kiln that lingered in a distant foggy field.....I wanted to avoid the wires that would have appeared in the photograph had I taken it from the elevation of the train. I could see a group of people crouched three cars back pointing and climbing underneath the car....obviously diagnosing and attempting to fix whatever was the cause. I snapped my photo and heard the trains whistle blow, climbed back up and we proceeded on our way.....something minor I concluded.After settling back in my chair for what seemed like 10 minutes or so...we had again stopped...what now????? At this point we were already running behind schedule approximately one half hour.....which was no big deal.....I spent the time making the usual pone calls, sending emails on my Blackberry...the normal stuff one would do when working....more time passed.....and more....and more.....Had our train stopped again for some type of EMERGENCY? Was this a prank of some sort? We later learned that there was no emergency, nor had anyone "pulled the cord" as it was rumored earlier.....but that there was indeed a mechanical failure in the braking mechanism and it was causing some issue.

This time however, our train had stopped near a small a matter of fact, our train was actually blocking the main road which crossed the tracks to the town.....we were the center of attention.....but it also provided me with the opportunity to capture some additional pictures of LIFE in India.....the real India.....not city life....You can guess the rest of the story......and you certainly know the ending.....I hope you enjoy the pictures I took while "Stopped Dead in my Tracks".

1 comment:

shridhan said...

Shatabdi means centenary or a century..
You have a wonderful blog, the best on Indian life I ever read. I would realy like to write few comments.