Ashish lava and I planned to travel to home together. We booked tickets for Dakshin express from Jhansi to A.P. which was to leave at 5:30 am and we planned to leave from campus at 8 pm night before. Ashish and I wanted to travel over train from Kanpur to Jhansi but lava insisted we travel by bus and promised we reach within time to catch the train. So, we decided we travel by 9:30 bus to Jhansi as it usually takes 6 hours for travel and we would get plenty of spare time if by fate bus got an hour or so late.
We boarded the bus and it was packed with people and luggage. It wasn’t comfortable but at least we got to sit, as we were sure we would not be able to if we traveled by train in general compartment. The first ninety minutes of the journey went by smoothly. Then there came a big blasting noise from the rear end of bus announcing the bursting of a tyre. We were informed that some of emergency passengers can board the bus arriving there in an hour but have to travel standing while another bus will pick up rest of people in 2 hours. We decided to travel standing in the 1st bus and informed the same to bus conductor. He agreed to let us in on that bus. After an hour or so waiting, we boarded the next bus. Then we thought we were lucky we started early and will reach Jhansi on time. The next two hours of journey went by smoothly except the fact that we were standing while the rest of passengers were comfortably seated and in deep sleep. It was nearing 2 am when the bus stopped again. This time there was a big traffic jam. The traffic jam had been due to some stupid driver ignoring the traffic rules and gone head on with opposing traffic. There was no accident but all the vehicles were unable to move as construction work was going on, on one side and the rest of road was being blocked by the vehicles. It took about 2 hours to get out of that traffic for us and we suspected the people who arrived after us were in that traffic for more than 5 hours. It would have been a lot better and early if all the drivers were not stupid, illiterate and self-centered. They neither thought of solution nor tried to listen to few of us who were presenting a solution and cooperate. We reached Jhansi at six am and missed our train.
The next train was at 12:30 pm. We had around 6 hours spare time with no reservation ticket and sleep. we thought it would be good to visit the Jhansi fort which is known for its story of Jhansi laxmi bhai, a great queen who opposed the British rule. We submitted our luggage in clock room, had some breakfast and started for fort. It was only 10 minutes journey from railway station to fort. We entered the fort and were in a better mood considering the events of last night. We took out my semi-SLR camera and wanted to take some photos, but yet again our bad luck won. The battery of my camera was dangerously low and it turned off after only two photos. Then we roamed the whole castle inside out in the next 3 hours and were back to station by 11:40. We took general tickets for our twenty hour journey and were dreading the general compartment. We went to the platform by 12:00 noon. There was a train on the platform and our train was to come after this one left. I read the train name to be Karnataka sampakranti and it occurred to me that this train would not stop in many stations and most people who travel short distances would not board that train. I informed the same to my friends and we boarded the train even if it would not stop at our destination as journey will be comfortable. We would have to come back a hundred and fifty kilometers from the train’s stopping point to our desired destination.
The rest of journey went by smoothly except when the train hit a cow standing on tracks and it was horrible to watch its dead body, it was cut in half, with back half stuck to train and front half smashed into tiny bits with blood splashed all across the engine.
Finally our luck changed.The train stopped at our destination due to some signal problem and we safely got off it.