A Smile on West Gate road.

Posted on September 17, 2009

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The lazy self in me couldn’t move an inch and was not bothered, and believe me not bothered, to check my e-mail. OH MY GOD, YOU MUST BE FRIGGING INSANE!!!! Yes as anyone would freak out, I too did when unexpectedly found myself with a mail lying in the inbox for the past couple of days. I felt a hatred in me for having lack of commitment in to break from my daily routine of waking up, brushing teeth, emptying bowels and checking my e-mails, sipping on a cup of coffee made right before I opened up my laptop to turn it on. I had to freak out because it was reply from my tutor regarding my meeting with him. Now I lost a day in planning my trip back to Newcastle to meet him. A grave sin of negligence in this modern era.

I felt conned by my laziness, due to which I was going to lose money that I would have saved if I had booked these tickets a day earlier. After sending my tutor a flurry of queries and responding to his replies, I finally was able to make a compromise of the time I was going to meet up with him. Once that was accomplished I set sail to the task of carefully planning my trip in several ways so as to incur maximum savings for the train tickets. The journey was split into three changes and tickets booked, time between each connecting trains carefully checked thoroughly. I felt the sense of achievement as I booked very cheap tickets including the return. Now I could feel my facial muscles doing a work out due to the big smile of satisfaction that I sported. I had always craved for the best momentary bargain. But in reality I had an after thought, I should have effectively sported that smile because I am going back to Newcastle. Clearly this was not the case and I realised so because I had just come down from Newcastle a week before, packing up and saying goodbyes to all my friends who made it my home for the past one year.



I am a paranoiac traveller. I am always engulfed by the fear of missing a mode of transport to my destination. Hence I undress the top layer of real lazy me and let the super hero of punctuality surface, who as sun during the solar eclipse, on the contrary, appears only on such paranoid moments well in advance. This time was no different either and in fact was special as I had a new dimension to my train travel – three changes before my arrival in Newcastle. In the state of paranoia, I curse my best momentary bargain theory. I left at half past five to reach the train station ten minutes away to board a train forty five minutes later, this clearly indicates the level of my paranoia.
I sat at the platform bench waiting for the train, which unusual to English standards, in my experience, was 7 minutes late. So I took advantage of my wait, to read the book, which I have been reading for the longest time, The Athenian Murders. I was constantly multitasking between the pages that I read and the LCD of the arrivals display board and looking at the crowd of passengers who do funny stuff. I always try to fish for funny travellers and here I was running out of luck.
I had always been wondering how effective a time machine would be, especially to drift me through my tensed moments of presentation or wait for anything in general which creates a mist of tensed air around me. And since last several weeks, ever since I had begun this habit of reading books, I have made a realisation. This realisation was that reading was indeed the best time machine, in my opinion, I had. This time machine has one major flaw, it just advances the time but the work which we expect to complete stays put, till we do it. Anyway, I had just sunk into the ocean of words of the book and yet realised I was barely minutes away from the station of first change. This ran a chill down my spine. I hurriedly gathered my bags and stood out next to the door to exit the train.
Once I left the train, in a flash I was on my heels towards the pre-booked tickets counter. After I collected the tickets, I was loitering about the entrance portico of the Sheffield central station and I bumped into a man, who wanted some change because he ran out of money for a ticket to Manchester. As I had always done, I just exclaimed sorry mate and hurried off to the platform 1b. I reached the platform from where I needed to board the train to next change. It was of no surprise that I found this platform was haunted by emptiness, as my train was in next half hour. Few minutes of staring on the frozen LCD arrival display I heard the murmur of a train arriving into this platform. I felt glad and as I usually do, ran up to the conductor to find out if I was in the right platform for the right train. This journey was specially tense for me as the time between I arrive at the next station and the time I leave from there was a minuscule eight minutes.
As per the conductors instructions I went to board a different train off another platform to arrive at the station of next change in advance. This made me feel like I have run down Goliath by which I gained an extra ten minute and in total eighteen minutes of wait before I boarded a train from the station of next change. As I waited I see the man who asked me the change walking about aimlessly and I was satisfied for saying sorry mate. Once I turned to look for the time for the train to arrive, I see this lady swerving to halt in front of a young lady and sprayed several words onto her face. Then she reversed back a few steps, horizontally stable but was now like a tree struck by a tornado. It was scary, as though she was head banging onto the train approaching platform.
I arrived at Doncaster on platform number eight, set to check out for the platform from where I needed to board the train to Newcastle and found out that the train to Newcastle left from the same platform and was in a way relieved that I didn’t have to move up and down and here and there. Now I was in a dilemma to reason between the clever me, who made enquiries and hopped on to a train which brought me here in Doncaster eighteen minutes prior to my next train, and the real me who felt like a dork whilst thought of the clever me, because the train I needed to board to Newcastle left from the same platform as the one I got down onto. I felt like a dork because I found out that the train I had actually booked a reservation on, also came from Sheffield to Doncaster into platform eight. But I quite easily dismissed the feeling of a dork by reasoning out that this was the first time I ever split my journey while travelling within England.
Doncaster also had its share of funny people, but I came across only one. She was a middle aged woman who was extremely angry about Britain’s future as she was denied the freedom of lighting up a cigarette at her convenience within the railway premises and was told by me that the only place she could enjoy the smoke was outside. I continued my reading and finally was able to complete the book on Eidesis and its wonderful interweaving story. I seem to not like the idea of taking a break before I swim into the next book that I had carried with me. I felt clever yet again, in bringing an extra book anticipating that I would complete the one I was reading soon, yet grounded myself saying this is just a crappy self appraisal.
Waiting for the bus number eleven was no big deal. It came within the eight minutes of my not so long wait right outside the central station portico. As the bus turned into west gate road and began the uphill climb, a smile struck on my face. I decided I will write a blog on the journey back home and about the smile that lit my face on west gate road.

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Posted in: Faded truths