Feb 26, 2013

The Field Observer: The Last Days

This post is a part of a series. Check the other parts here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

This blog post is the blogger's imagination loosely inspired by some of his life events over the past two weeks. Any resemblance to any other real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental

Day 5:
“Saari Khidkiyon se ek hi dikhta hain”
We were on our way to the Naxal homelands as we stopped for some people troubled by nature’s call. Porny noticed that there was a crushed, mutilated, disfigured carcass of a dog a few metres from the bus, and people rushed to his window to see the same, one after another. He ended up saying, “Saari Khidkiyon se ek hi dikhta hain” (It looks the same from all the windows).

Family Restaurants:
It had been hours since we left our base, and there was no mention of food. I noticed a dhaba on the way, with the words ‘Family Restaurant’ mentioned in capitals, wondering about the too damn high number of (future) families on the bus!

The cheap bribe:
As suspected, we were stopped on the way by police as it was a Naxal area, and serial blasts had rocked Hyderabad just a day earlier. The police knew very well that a group of students had nothing to do with Naxalites, mentioning the fact that carrying more than 35 people in a private bus was against the law. A little money satisfied him, but surprisingly, it was just a hundred bucks. Gosh babu exclaimed that he had paid more for being caught with just a cigarette.

Geologist food:
Being in a goddamn hurry that he was, Rowdy didn’t allow the caterers to pack vegetables. The mine where we stopped was in the middle of nowhere. The result? Only rice and dal was prepared. We thought Rowdy would realise his mistake and accept it. On the contrary, his reaction on seeing the rice and dal was- Fantastic! Great food. It was disturbing that there was not even a little sarcasm in his voice and he actually meant it.

“Abe chikne, haat waat andar rakh”
Skeleton is very adventurous. On the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border, he was in his own dreamland, as his arms involuntarily crept out of the bus, with heavy vehicles approaching from the opposite side. A shout of “Abe chikne, haat waat andar rakh” (hey skinny lad, keep your arms inside) by a truck driver brought him back to his senses.

Rooms commotion, "little less" number of rooms for guys:
We were supposed to reach our destination before sunset, but due to a detour by Rowdy, we had to set camp at some place about 80 kilometres from our destination. Rowdy got a hotel, which is probably worse than the worst that I had in mind. When you thought matters couldn’t get worse, he announced that out of the 6 rooms he had acquired, three would be for the girls (who were just one fourth of the total) and the remaining for the guys. That meant eight guys crammed in rooms meant for two. Porny was insanely accurate when he mentioned on Rowdy’s face that “little less” was a little too overstretched. We managed to convince Rowdy to shell out a couple hundred bucks per head, and got a room zillion times better than that just five minutes from that location.

Roorkee location unknown:
After checking in, we got a call from the reception asking us where Roorkee was.  I was in half a mind to tell them that we didn’t know where Balaghat was either.

Midnight meeting and the room incident:
Someone (who is cunning enough to remain undetected even now) bolted Rowdy’s door from outside. Obviously, Rowdy was outraged. He called a meeting at midnight to discuss certain stuff, which thankfully didn’t constitute much about that incident.

Fantasy Premier League at 1.20 am:
I was the only one with an internet connection in the whole group (albeit the ones with GPRS). I got a call at 1.20 AM asking for my laptop to make changes to a Fantasy Premier League team. Insanity Indeed. Considering we had to report in the morning at 7, it is quite obvious what my reaction was.

Day 6:
Breakfast stopped:
Rowdy is known for his notorious nature among everyone. He stopped breakfast midway so that we could leave. So much for the horrible planning.

Free shoulders:
The field trip turned out to be a (newly-formed) couples galore. The heading says the rest.

Begging for jobs:
On our trip to HCL (Hindustan COPPER Limited), we were told that they do not usually recruit freshers. The batch, however, started begging them to do the same(just as the situation in MECL on Day 1). Doesn’t that say much about the current job situation?

Reading the palm:
Porny turned out to be an expert in reading the palm. A well kept secret.
N.B. Do not forget to get your palm read for free.

Rowdy disrupting food of others:
We knew Rowdy had no concern about others, but little did we know about his inhuman side. Two days in a row, he forced non-IIT junta (which comprises the driver, conductor and the caterers) to stop when they were just halfway through their meals. What he failed to understand that without them, we would not survive in this hell hole.

Kasparov incident:
We were taken to an open cast Copper mine on the last day. Yuri Kasparov (yes, that’s his real name) started climbing a pretty steep slope (comprising of loose sediments). The mining geologist who was escorting us lost his head, and started barking in a language that even God would struggle to understand.

On our way back:
Ghissing in the train:
The other three who were travelling by 3 AC did start studying, but I really doubt how much they covered.

The Bhopal incident:
As you might (not) have noticed, Devdas and Paro were a part of the group. It so happened that Paro’s boyfriend lived in Bhopal, and as the train had a ten minute stoppage time, he did come on our way to Nagpur (who wouldn’t?) On our way back, as the stoppage was quite late at night, Devdas was pretty confident he wouldn’t. But when he did eventually come, Devdas’ million dollar expression was indeed worth a look.

Angry Old Woman:
I don’t know about others, but I did get my share of nicknames. Dada is what I was known as for quite a long time (Dada being elder brother in Bengali, but grandfather in Hindi). That eventually changed to Dadi (no particular reason; just that it means grandmother). In the trip, there was a guy who got two enlightening slaps from me for taking pratical jokes too far, which got me the nickname- Angry Old Woman (inspired by the Angry Young Man from the 70s I believe)! Either ways, it does sound unique.

McDonalds mein pizza:
We did stop at McDonalds, and Rowdy gave us a strict 40 minutes there. Being the lazy bums that some people in our batch are, it took almost an hour for them to come back. In his rage, Rowdy shouted- I would leave you here, and you can come back after having three more pizzas at McDonalds.

And so, the field trip came to an end. I am thankful to God that I came back alive (yes, I could have died- and so could others!) I came to know the true nature of most of the people. I came to know who would actually stand by me in times of need, and more importantly, I saw the double-crossers expose themselves due to their actions. I witnessed people with a true passion for Geology and a spark of sincerity, but also liars, egotists and cheats. In the end, I believe I came back a better man, with infinitely more tolerance. 

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