Before I get onto Rajasthan, I’d like to extrapolate on our experience while trying to return to Delhi from Orchha. At the Jhansi Railway Station Paul had a bit of a struggle finding someone who spoke English. In fact he downright couldn’t. So he took his best shot at reading the info board, which was written in Hindi, and decided that our train was probably leaving from Platform 1. So we hauled our now very heavy luggage down to where we figured our carriage would probably line up (and these trains can be VERY long!), and sat down to wait. We had a little bit of time to spare, so he decided to go and check around with a few people and see if we were on the right platform. So I was sitting there with my scarf pulled up over my glaringly obvious blonde hair, feeling pretty pleased with myself for wearing pants that weren’t laughing at the crotch this time, when I saw Paul racing towards me with an urgent look on his face. “Get your stuff” he cried. “We have to go to Platform 3!” We hauled anchor and lugged our bags back along the platform, up the stairs, along the walkway, down the stairs and along Platform 3. Whew! Thank goodness we got that sorted.
Not so. During a genial conversation with a chap sitting near us, we discovered that we should’ve actually been on Platform 5. Pulling our anchor in again, we raced back along the platform, up the stairs, along the walkway, down the stairs and along Platform 5. Paul, wanting to make sure we had it right this time, decided to consult with some likely looking men a few feet away from us. And they all decided that we should indeed be on Platform 3. They were dead certain about this. So, well, you know the routine. Upstairs, downstairs, onto Platform 3. Okay, by this time our luggage had done it’s usual trick and gained another 80 pounds. We’re hot, sweating, exhausted and getting pretty stressed.
We sat on our luggage trying to pull ourselves back from the very edge of panic and then a trumpet blast came over the intercom. “Tadaaaaaahhhhhhh!!! Your attention please. Blip blop bluuuur, blop blip blop bluuur bluuuur blop. Thank you. Have a nice day.” That’s EXACTLY what it sounded like – I kid you not! Paul and I looked at each other with horror – that could have been a really important message. And I think that’s what pushed us over the edge. I am now intimately able to understand the term “hysterical laughter”. I started off, Paul saw it, he got started and before we knew it we were rolling around laughing our silly heads off with tears rolling down our faces. The announcement came on a couple more times with no improvement to the quality whatsoever, and rather than having split pants I nearly had wet ones. I was actually in pain from laughing.
However, this did not sort out the situation we were in, so Paul got up and went to the office window again, while I tried to pull myself together. And when he came back, guess what? Our bluddy train was actually leaving from Platform 1. And it was due in about 2 minutes! How I managed to haul that luggage onto my back one more time and get up those stairs I’ll never know. But I tell you what, I couldn’t have cared less if the train we got on was going to Timbuctoo – I was just gonna be on one. As it turned it, the darned thing was about twenty five minutes late and hoved into view just as we began thinking there was no such train at all. I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to hug a train before, but as it pulled in I looked at it with such love in my eyes………….
I have since learned that Indian people have this thing about not wanting to disappoint you. They don’t like saying no and they don’t like not being able to help you. So if they don’t know the answer to your question, they’ll say whatever they think you want to hear, even if it’s completely untrue. Bless them.
Now I do have to wonder to myself how many people have actually killed someone in this sort of situation.