Well, I have been travelling, or rather communting (commuting is travelling between two fixed points and is done frequently, and sometime mechanically, while travelling is just travelling without destination or aim!, and some people do it without ticket). I am so used to journeying in the local trains, that I hardly notice it. I invariably travel by the same train and the same compartment, in the morning and evenings and I got used to people with whom I travel.
But this post is not about that, otherwise it would not be joyride. Would it be? Things which we do everyday are hardly joyful. It is what unusual happens to us or are able to do that, which brings joy to us. There is only particular train-ride which really brought me joy. This happned quite a few years ago, to be precise in 2001.
Let me give you some background before I came to the main point. In year 2001 a very big conference was organized by our Institute where many foreign scientist also participated. The most famous of them was Prof. Stephen Hawking . Most of the foreign scientist were housed in a 5-star hotel in South Bombay where a banquet dinner was held during the conference. The banquet, which started at 8:00 p.m., and ended well past mid-night, was really really good. Everyone enjoyed it. The food was too good, especially the matka kulfi, which were in the real miniature matkas! Me and my friends were taken aback when we visited a toilet in the hotel. The toilet of the 5-start hotel was better than the living room of most of our homes, imagine a leather sofa set in the toilet! Well, these 5-start hotels are a different world altogether.
When the banquet was over, and by the time me and my office friend reached the V.T. station, it was nearing 1:00 a.m. and the last train for Karjat had already departed. Now what to do -- we had the option of going back to office and sleeping the night off at the office. But no, my friend had different ideas. He said we will go by the Pune Passenger which departs from V.T. at around 1:30 a.m. I said it is a good idea and let us do that. My friend said he has many friends who work in railway and one of them is engine-driver who usually gets to drive Pune Passenger on most of nights. He said we will travel by this train, but in the engine (locomotive) of the train! On hearing this I said but it is illegal how could we do it. But he just laughed it off. Well, upon reaching the engine, he looked for his friend, but was informed the engine-drivers that his friend is off-duty today. My friend asked them could we travel in the engine upto Kalyan with them. They said no, but we could travl in the back-side of the engine. Well, they opened the door of the back-side of the egnine for us whhich was completely unoccupied. This was the joyride for me and my friend. It was really fun to travel like that. I wished how much more fun it would have been had we been in the front side of the engine. But alas, our joy was short-lived. At Dadar, the person who had allowed us to travel like this, re-appeared and asked us, err are we employees of railway, we said no. He said in that case we cannot travel in the engine as he suspect there is a special checking at the next station, Kurla, and if the inspectors of train finds that we are not railway employees, he, not us, could be in big trouble. So, to save him trouble, we got down from the engine and travelled the rest of our journey in an compartment. Those twenty minutes of joy ride will always ramain precious for me.