A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for July 3rd, 2014

My adventurous life

Posted by Pepper on July 3, 2014

Each time I believe we’ve seen the worst, and each time my husband proves me wrong. I am talking about our track record when it comes to being on time for our plane / bus / train. We never learn. Rather, he never learns. Until now, I thought the worst experience we’ve had was when we *just made it* to our train to Amsterdam from Paris. The doors shut the freaking second we set our foot in. I didn’t think we could have experienced something more nerve wrecking. But guess what? We did.

We had our train from Chennai to Bangalore at 5:30 pm. I had been pestering Mint to finish his packing the previous day. Ofcourse, he paid little heed to what I said. We’re used to packing an hour before we leave. Why would he even consider doing it a day in advance? I let go.

We had asked my father-in-law how long it would take for us to reach the station from home. 45 minutes is what he had said. Now I am very wary of estimations like these. For one, I don’t much trust human judgement in these matters. We can never forecast the traffic condition at that time. For two, I know Mint doesn’t treat them as an ‘estimation’, he clings to the number as though it is God’s word. I try telling him these calculations are only approximated values and are very prone to human errors. So if somebody says it will take 45 minutes to reach, we should keep a buffer of atleast 15 minutes and consider our travel time to be an hour. But again, does he listen to me?

Mint had an official call in the afternoon. I kept eyeing my watch, wondering when it would end. Finally, he hung up at 3:45 pm. I had aimed to leave by 4:15 sharp. I am known to prefer security over adventure and would rather wait at the station for 30 mins than make a mad dash for the train on the last minute. He started packing only at 3:45. Sigh.

That is when my FIL asked us if we would like to go the hospital to say bye to Oregano before we leave. Sure, I would have loved to do that. But did we have the time? I ran upstairs to check with Mint. I told him if we could leave by 4 pm sharp, perhaps we would have a chance to stop at the hospital for a minute and meet Oregano once before we leave. He agreed.

I kept badgering him to rush but he seemed to work at his own pace. I could feel a fight brewing. Why have you not finished packing yet, I asked him. What can I do, he said. I had my call till 3:45 pm. Rubbish! I wanted to scream. Who asked you to not pack before your call if you knew it would last that long? You could have done it last night! Don’t act as though you had no time! Knowing it wasn’t the best time to pick up a fight, I let go.

We left the house only at 4:15. The hospital wasn’t even en route to the station. Needless to say, I was hyper ventilating. Once we reached the hospital, we ran up to Oregano’s room and spoke to him exactly for 3 minutes. We rushed back  to the car where my FIL was waiting for us. He was going to be dropping us to the station. By the time we left the hospital, it was 4:36.

Mint laughed when he noticed the stress on my face. He reminded me of his dad’s estimation. It was a 45 minute ride. By that calculation, we would still reach by 5:16. So we would still be almost 15 minutes early. Err, okay.

As luck would have it, we encountered heavy traffic. I tried calming myself. At 5 pm, I asked them where we were. They told me we were nowhere close to reaching. I gulped. Our car seemed to be moving at a snail’s pace. At 5:15, my FIL said it was really doubtful we’d make it. Great.

By the time we reached the flyover close to the station, it was 5:20. Our train was to leave in 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the flyover was fully jammed. Although we could see the station, it wasn’t close enough to walk. So we continued waiting in the car. Before we knew it, the clock in the car said it was 5:26. Perfect, I thought. We’ve missed the train.

In a last ditch effort, we decided to get out of the car and run. So out we stepped, pulled out our suitcase from the trunk and we ran. Maneuvering through stationary vehicles, rolling our suitcases on the slopes of the flyover, we ran as fast as we could. Surprisingly, we were at the end of the flyover in about a minute.

Once we were at the end of the flyover, we found ourselves at the crossing of a main road. Although we wanted to run, we had no choice but to wait until the traffic came to a halt. Every second seemed precious. It was past 5:27 by now. Finally we requested a traffic cop to halt the traffic so we could run across.

We entered the station a few seconds after 5.28. We paused for a few seconds below the indicator to find out which platform our train was leaving from. As luck would have it, ours was the very last platform. Which meant, we had just over a minute to run across the entire length of the station!

I had my hand bag and another heavy bag on my shoulders, yet, I ran as fast as my legs could carry me. Mint was sprinting ahead, although he was carrying two shoulder bags and our heavy suitcase! That’s when the difference in our fitness level truly stuck me.

On and on I ran, wondering when our blasted train would be in sight. In just a few seconds, I thought I was going to collapse. So I called out to Mint and told him I can’t do it. To my horror, he just ignored me and continued to run ahead. Not being left with much of a choice, I stumbled forward on my shaky legs.

The porters who realised I was running to get the 5:30 Shatabdi to Bangalore looked at me in shock. I could see the train by now, but I was sure the asphyxiation was going to make me pass out. My lungs were on fire. So I had stopped running, although I was this close to the train. I was just bumbling along. They wondered, why the hell was I not running when it was the past possible second? What could I tell them? I had no breath left in me because I had been running right from the flyover a block away from the station?

Mentally I had decided. Mint was waiting for me next to the train. I was going to call out to him and ask him to get on even if I couldn’t. I would figure out something for myself. The jerk. I hated him. This was all his fault. Putting me through this hellish anxiety. He was fit enough to run like that. I wasn’t. Let him just go. I would think of an alternative.

It was 5:30. The train started moving. I saw the guard inside the train waving the green flag as it chugged to life. He saw me walking just a few  feet away with a dismayed expression on my face. He called out to me and asked me to enter from the official coach which was the closest from where I stood. Okay, I thought. Let me give this one last shot. With trembling legs and burning lungs that were gasping for breath, I willed myself to run just a few more steps.

I remember stretching out my hand to grab hold a bar so I could pull myself in the train. I almost expected the guard to give me his hand, DDLJ style. But no such thing happened. He waited for me to gain a foothold myself. Once in, I realised Mint was nowhere close. He had tried entering from the other coach and the door was locked. So he ran back to where I had entered from. By now, the train had picked up considerable speed. He reached the door, first threw in one bag. Then threw in another bag, and finally pulled himself in.

Once we were both in, I allowed myself to collapse. The guard looked at us sympathetically. We still had to walk the entire length of the train to get to our coach. But now that we had made it, it didn’t matter much. I was drenched in sweat, my hair was in clumps and I was still out of breath. My face was drawn and haggard. Mint turned around, gave me one look and grinned.

I swear I wanted to not just smack him once, but clobber him until he was blue. How does he manage to put me through this every time? Me, who is mocked and laughed at for going to airports and stations 3 hours prior to departure. With him, I always end up in an adventure that lets us make it with the narrowest margin possible. Always. I am still trying to forgive him. You see, unlike what all my Famous Five reads made me believe, I truly dislike adventures.

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