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Via Bangalore - A True Life Story

The seven of us Aviation Cadets travelling from Navac at Goa to Kochi for PFTC, were preparing to change trains at Bangalore City Station with a 4 hours gap between the two trains. Bangalore was now about 2 hours to go. We started moving our trunks closer to the doors. When we were in the Naval Academy, Aviation Cadet nick named Kaps used to tell us a lot of stories about his big, huge, grand, deluxe, plush, luxuriant, palatial Bungalow in Bangalore, his Mercedes car, his three dozen girlfriends and what not.

So we told Kaps that after we get down at Bangalore city railway station, we will go to his house because we have about 3 hours at Bangalore before the next train. Kaps somehow was not pro to that idea. He said there is a small station about 50 km short of Bangalore city where the train slows down and he wanted to get down there, so that he can reach home faster, to visit his parents. After a quick lunch, he said he will try and make it in time for the next train to Cochin.

Rest of us agreed and said, "just don't worry. You go home. We will take care of your trunk along with ours. Spend time with your dad and mom at home and come aaraamsey to the station. We will ensure your trunk is loaded on the train, OK". Kaps was very happy and went near the door of the train. As I stood next to him. He said, "Mathews, mera trunk tu dekh lena, OK.

Since you are also going home (Cochin, he meant) you will understand the importance of seeing your parents". I said, "Don't worry yar, I will take care of your trunk". The train did not slow down as much as I had expected from the way Kaps had told me it will slow down. The train was at least 5 kmph faster than the speed Jessy Owens ran in Olympics to win a Gold Medal. I would put the train's speed at 40 kmph and before I realised, Kaps had jumped off the train onto the platform, almost falling down on his face.

I felt a chill go through my spine the moment Kaps took that unalerted jump. The platform bore a deserted look and it seemed to be located in some remote village. I didn't even see an autorickshaw outside it. And I didn't see any people or even a bus on the road that ran along the track for the next five minutes till I went inside and sat down.An hour and a half later, we alighted at Bangalore city railway station. We got all seven metallic boxes also down from the train.

The sight of seven large trunks excited many coolies who tried their best to make some money from us and cash was something none of us had with us to spare. The Boxer (KJ Singh) went to the far end of the platform and brought a 4 wheel trolley, which normally the coolies use. We loaded all seven trunks on it and started pushing it towards the cloak room.

That is when two gentlemen came there and started asking, "Naval Academy...., Goa..., Aviation Cadets...?" We said ,"Yes" looking cool, hiding our surprise as we were never told about any reception team at Bangalore. The next question was, "Where is Ranjeev? " I said, "Oh you mean Kaps? But Kaps had jumped off the train about 50 km short of city saying his home is closer from that station."

They looked at me puzzled and said, "Our house is just 4 km from here why did he get off there?" How were we to know. We all looked at these two gentlemen equally surprised. Then they said, "No problem, he will come home" and started pushing our trolly. We asked, "Who are you?" One of them introduced himself as the father of Kaps and said, "We have hired two taxis to take all of you home for lunch. Your next train is only at 3 pm." They put our luggage in the clock room and taxied us home which was nearby.

We reached their house in a few minutes and were surprised again. Instead of the Taj Mahal we expected to see, there was a tile roofed house with a huge mango tree in front of it. And instead of the Mercedes was a Bajaj scooter parked under the mango tree.

House

We saw not even one, out of his three dozen girlfriends waiting for him there. It was a neat house well arranged and very nicely decorated inside. The hospitality we received from his father, mother and sister is something we will never forget in our life.

The lunch was Puri, Bhaji, Sabji and Rice. I don't think any of us will ever forget the taste of that simple but amazingly tasty lunch in our entire life. After the satisfying lunch and sweets like Gulab Jamuns, we talked for a while about life at Navac. As we told them the naked unglamorous truths about life in the Naval Academy, Kap's parents and sister, sat looking at us in complete disbelief. We had no idea why.

It was already the drive time to railway station plus 20 minutes before our train starts. We thanked them and proceeded towards the taxis parked outside. As I got into the taxi, at the other end of the approximately 100 meter long road to the house, I saw  Kaps, running towards his house like sprinter Ben Johnson, unaware of our presence there.

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