[This entry is a continuation of another post with a similar title. Click here if you haven't read the 1st part]
The queue for the Coimbatore bus looked ordinary. I knew it was long. But I didn’t know where it ended, or how long would I have to stand in the queue. I passed the line of people, one by one, from the point just before where the bus stopped for boarding the passengers; followed it to the inside. The building would have been 10-15m in width. Standing on one end you can see the back entrance. I thought that was the end. But as I went closer, the line shifted to my right; the queue stretched down to the main road. When I reached the main road, again, the queue shifted right. It followed the building and back to the main entrance only just a few meters from where I had initially noticed the queue’s start.
While waiting in the queue my sister calls. She thought I boarded the train to chennai from calicut (whose departure was @ 5.40 pm, she imagined I’d be sitting in the general compartment of course). She was a little surprised when I corrected her saying that I took the bus instead. I told her that there are many options from Coimbatore to reach chennai. She specifically enquired about the train timings. I told her that I had no idea. Then she began to give me advice on what I should eat for dinner. Have only vegetarian…! she told. I said, I already gobbled up 3 porattas and a bowl of pepper chicken curry. For a moment there I felt like she had the doubt whether I was actually her brother! I had to console her saying don’t worry, everything will get digested as I come to the end of the queue. I’ll let you know 1ce I reach chennai, and wished her goodnight.
I enquired about the train timings and bus timings with a fellow co-worker via phone. By the time I got all information I was nearing to get into the bus. So my options stood as follows:
a) heard that the last state transport bus to chennai to was at 10 pm. But if I had to miss this bus, I’d have to get to take a bus to Salem, and then catch a bus to Chennai from there.
b) if I were to reach there before 10 pm, I’d could catch the Cheran express train which starts from Coimbatore. It departs @ 10.20 pm.
On reaching Coimbatore, I asked around for the state transport bus stand. Crud! People didn’t know what ‘state transport bus stand’ meant…I told them I wanted to go to chennai! All of a sudden their faces kind of animated with the joy of having understood what I initially meant to ask…There were 2 bus stands from where you could get buses to chennai. I wasn’t sure where to go. The guy I asked suddenly called out to an auto driver and asked me to take him to some place I never heard of before. And the auto driver again asked me where I wanted to go. Even he repeated the fact that there are two places you can get a bus from, and offered me a ride for about Rs. 60.
Didn’t really like the offer. Someone told me earlier, that all the important places (bus stand, train stations, etc are all nearby. Therefore I told the auto driver I can’t pay him that much. He was straight faced; didn’t even come to negotiate. It was about 9.45 pm. I asked him how to get to the railway station. He pointed to the main road via the terminal’s exit.
I was expecting the station to be somewhat at a walkable distance. But as I stepped out, there was no sign of a railway station. I asked around again, and learned that I had to take a bus. So I got into some bus. Fortunately all the buses that stopped there would eventually go to the station. So I took the bus, got down at the railway station, and made my way to the ticket counter.
[This post is intentionally a series…to be continued…as I cannot write everything in one stretch]
[Edit: Click here to read the last part]