|Kurdha Road Junction (standard:travel stories, 1028 words)|
|Author: Juggernaut||Added: Apr 20 2011||Views/Reads: 1521/780||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A story of traveling back to campus for start of a new semester.|
Kurdha Road Junction Subba Rao Travelling back to college campus for start of a new semester is not fun; not if one was attending a college in India, at least not when Juggernaut was attending four decades ago. One has to reckon with bad cafeteria food, poor living quarters and terrible bathrooms in the hostel. End of a semester was a great relief, beginning of a new semester signals more stressful time to come. If they can only make learning more fun and less of a stressful event, learning life skills really means something worthwhile. A travel from home to the campus town was a slow train journey that takes 10 hours to travel around 250 miles, from one culture to a totally different culture as if one is entering a different country. As train travels through the route, new passengers get in and some drop off. The new passengers ‘profile change, they speak different language and wear different garb. As the train travels towards the destination, at each station it stops, the snacks sold at the vendor stalls change from South Indian ‘Idli' to Oriyan ‘Bora' and less coffee and more of ‘chai' or tea. A casual conversation with fellow travelers may not occur because of language barrier, unless one meets that speaks English. Luckily for Juggernaut, he met an Anglo-Indian lady. She introduced herself as Mrs. Victoria Thomas travelling to Calcutta. A heavy set woman in her late fifties, she wore a short flowery dress exposing her legs. Though a descendent of mixed Indian and British ancestry, she has dark skin and looks more Indian. Without her short hair and dress, she could be mistaken for an Indian woman, unless she speaks out with her unique accent, either British or Indian. The name Victoria brought back his memory of a statue of Queen Victoria over-dressed in layers of garments looking fat placed on a huge pedestal under a large canopy in a small square opposite the Central Bank in his home town. The decades old statue perhaps made from stone or bronze, hard to tell since layers of dust and oily soot coated the statue over time. Only beggars and mentally ill shared the canopy with the neglected statue. “How far you were going?” asked Mrs. Thomas. Waking up from his thoughts of statue of Victoria, Juggernaut replied “I am going to Bhubaneswar.” “Are you from this area?” “No, I am attending a university there,” “How come, you have lot of universities in your state?” “We do, but I want to experience living in a different culture.” “That's good; so how things going so far?” “Not very good, the cafeteria food was very bad, so as my hostel.” “There is nothing like home cooking.” “Sure,” “do you live in Calcutta?” asked Juggernaut. “No, I live in Guntur,” “My husband works in ‘Golden Tobacco Company there,” said Mrs. Thomas removing a small gold colored metal cigarette case from her purse. Juggernaut never before saw a lady carrying a cigarette case and so as the other travelers sitting around. While the fellow travelers looking at her curiously, she opened the case, took one and placed it in-between her lips and asked Juggernaut whether he smokes. Juggernaut eagerly accepted one and realized it was ‘Gold Flake', an expensive brand marketed by ‘Golden Tobacco Company.' Mrs. Thomas took a deep drag and exhaled the smoke in between her lips Click here to read the rest of this story (51 more lines)
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