Mumbai to Goa Trip | Boarding that train

Season 3 Episode 1 S03E01 That Sudden Goa Trip

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Previously on Ayesha Diaries...
Ayesha has been extremely frustrated at work. In one of those hectic moments to run around, she has been aware of a tantalising three day weekend on its way. But being the performer that she is, she has not been able to breathe due to responsibilities. When it's all over, there's a vacuum. She has to decide what she has to do in the holiday. Right now. Will she take the sudden goa trip with twenty strangers? How devastating will it be? Or will it be a life changing moment for her? Will she be back safely to even jot down her travelogue in her Ayesha Diaries? 

Episode 2 
S03E02 | Boarding that train 


As much as I didn't want to accept it, I was feeling jittery and at the same time brave. I'd started opening my cupboard looking for whatever I could possibly pack. Oh.My.God. Two discs. I must pack the dresses. But I've become all bhaalu with no time to groom myself. Epilator! Yes, that must be packed.

'What to pack? Nothing really. Just your clothes. Pack some T-shirts and some shorts', Krishna was saying.

'I—ummm—errr—I don't have any shorts.' Did I just say that? 'I don't have any shorts right now' I quickly added. 

Oh dear. The rest of the world obviously won't know of a girl like me. I'm allowed to wear dresses. Not like I've to wear leggings like Phalghunan and take them off to make the dress a dress. But shorts? Even the thought could kill me. I don't want to imagine mom's reaction. All that is not good, my child.
Being practical I first had to decide what to wear. Jeans. Jeans should do. But which jeans! Oh god. What's washed and what's not! I picked the light brown jeans that felt soft enough for not being necessary to change in the night. And the black T shirt gifted by Mausumi that said —FASHION IS IN MY GENES, in silver lettering at the centre. That's it. Feels good. Black won't get as dirty. Oh dear! Look at that watch ticking away. Nonsense! Can't it stop. I've not yet figured out what I'll tell my landlady! Where am I going at this hour? Which is why, actually I must start early! Jeez. Kya Karu. Hey Bhagwan.

Relatives. Yes, that's the safest bet. So, for now Ayesha is going to her relatives. But jewellery? Oh, God! What will I need with —
Wait. I should just pack everything. Yes, that's safer. At such last moment, short notice trip packing. I should be out of this house way before the curfew time or she will start on, 'Why you have to go out of so late at night. Why can't you leave earlier. Who wants to listen to all that? Ohhhk. So hair removal equipment. Check. Some dresses. Check. Night dress for villa. Check. Nylon dress for swimming pool. Check. Body Shop Body wash, shampoo, much needed non-sticky hair oil to make my hair behave. Check. Make up! Ouch! Of course I've not and will not apply anything to my face right now. Or maybe—If I've time. But what's the point? I'm gonna sleep with this face. It's sleeper train we are talking about. Hurry, Ayesha. You idiot. 

'Wth is LokmanyaTilak? Aren't we supposed to go from Mumbai Central? That's where Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani was shot—' I stopped myself deliberately from blurping out the rest. And since, I've made a stunt like that, I should be taking that long distance route. And since I know it—'

I instead said , 'I didn't know there's another long distance station other than CST and Mumbai Central, you know.'

'Yup, you come till Bandra, Ayesha. I'll pick you up from there. Do not worry, we will go together.'

Mom calls done. Landlady handled. And I absolutely step out with nothing on my face revealing my dark circles and only hoping black makes me look any less fat than I actually am. Being proportionately fat at 5ft 9 inches, helps at times, you know. Tying my hair, (something I never do), I felt different and strong. The night air hitting my sans make up face in the cab that took me till Churchgate was phenomenal. I was already out of the house and I'd said that I was going for three days. Which means, there was no coming back now. This was it. Now whatever was in store I'd jumped. 

I carried my bag in like a roadster and held ground on the brightest royal blue mumbai local benches lined with cheap aluminium strips. I didn't care about the stains on the benches. The navy blue long distance train was in my dreams. That curtain. That whistle of the train. Those landscapes that can be seen. That amazing pantry car. Ok, now I'm getting restless. I must inform someone that I'm going so far. I can't go without telling anyone. That won't be safe. So, I dial Anu.

'Hey.'

'Hey'. Her hey seemed sleepy. Jeez I didn't even check time. She's one old school person who beats anything old school in my life.

'Were you sleeping Anuradha ?'
'Ya'

'What happened to that trekking trip aunty had sanctioned permission for? When are you going?'

'That? That got postponed re...'

'Oh dear...you were so excited about the whole thing...I mean...it meant so much to you. After your Kolad trip, we have always been hearing your wish to make it happen. And finally on a surprising note, tigress had agreed to let you go—'

'Yes, imagine having tigress saying yes and then...Kya Karen, Ayesha. Life.. But you say...'

'No. Actually they say you have to always tell someone where you are in Mumbai na. Just in case that is...Well, I don't know how to say this... But I'm going to Goa. I mean—right now! Riiiight now.'

'Ok'

'What? This is your reaction? I'm going to Goa! '

She did a double take. Obviously one would not expect such a stunt from Ayesha. ' You are going to Goa? How? When? What! '

'Yessssss', my excitement was matching hers and there was such a happy feeling. I told her the whole story of the group trip.

'But mom? '

'Ahann. No one knows. Except you'

'Hmm. I'm so happy for you, yaaaar. Live your life. You have never gone anywhere, and — take care.'

' Hey you gotta handle mom, Han. I've not told Urmi yet. But we will have to do something.'

Next call. 'Krishnaaaaaaaa, after all this discussion I forgot. You have to help me out major here'

'Ok, let me look for some medical shop'

My stomach was still churning as the local stopped suddenly at Bandra and the passengers were asked to get down, saying the train was going for repair and anyone going anywhere else had to board another slow train for the destination. Shit. But luckily, it was on the same platform and I did not need to jump on and off stairs with that bag with me. Bandra is something I knew. Reaching there once in Eid counts. Coming back from the station because we could get no bus or cab also counts. Oh, come on. But this needed knowing nothing. Just get down one train and get in another. Getting out and meeting Krishna was not that much of a big deal. Contrary to my imagination of a chivalrous tall guy, Krishna looked like a child unlike his pictures on horses in Facebook. He was thin, fair, wearing shorts and a black T shirt and was courteous and friendly. We shook hands, skipping the step of 'You must be—' muted in our heads, as happens in most dates. We directly greeted each other with names with a question mark. We took a Rick. Which was good. Because public transport ensures safety. Not telling mom was overriding my daring nature and I was becoming extremely over protective of myself. But a single young girl who goes out on dates in a city like Mumbai has to ensure checking IDs and stuff, you know. 

'Where are you but? Ahan...ahmmmm...ok—'Krishna was busy coordinating. 

There was huge lit hall ahead of the darkness. Backpackers with less luggage were constantly crossing us in trios and duos. 

' All Goa goers' he said turning to me, 'Everyone is going to Goa this weekend'. He chuckled. I was trying not to lose pace, getting down a stone step telling myself that I must not expect a hand as it is not a date. But the second time, he did offer a hand. Courteous.

'Ya but Ayesha and I are also at the counter. Come to this side'

We met the other two. The tall broad shouldered man in a hat introduced himself as a photographer and filmmaker. Filmmaker? Wow. I do not know half the people. Is he someone known? The other one was a well built short guy with spiked hair in a sleeveless neon green and black T-shirt and black sports shorts.

'Sourav sahab is an amazing photographer. Remember the pictures from last time?' Krishna turned to face us, 'he takes some fab pics, man!'

Sourav sahab just laughed a humble laugh to this. 

'Yo man! Nice to meet you. I'm Dave, man. Short for Devinder. An investment banker'

'Oh, me too. Ayesha.' I shook hands as he continued.

'I came here first man. I've been waiting. I thought what's up n all, you know. I wondered if—'

' Here comes Shalini and Tabassum's pics! ' Krishna announced.

'I wondered if this was gonna be cancelled or something '

The troop was divided into various groups who were getting up from various stations. So it had become a moment of race and whatsapp pride to send selfies for each sub-group. Friends were bringing friends along. So, I'd to, as an exception, join these three men in a selfie and we were tagged as the Lokmanya gang reached and ready.

' Please don't put it on Facebook, though.'

' I'm feeling so thirsty, man. Anyone else wants to grab a drink?' Dave started in his trying to be cool way.

' You will get milk here, buddy'

'I'm cool with milk', I jumped in. 

So we helped ourselves to station wala Amul kool. In fact, Dave very sweetly bought me one. Why would he try to impress me? It was just kind. And after a long wait, the train finally came and I was shocked to see a life size woman roar to laughter. Curly hair, absolutely uninhibited, she was as fat as she was confident in a pale grey T-shirt, huge chiffon scarf and ghar wala loose Pajamas, more like the afghan ones. 

'I'm to in dheela dhaala night dress. I've been wise. I never make a mistake—' Full of life, she stole the limelight as she joked and bullied everyone. Especially Dave. 

'Ya, you never know what we compliance officers get to read, darling! Hahaha' 

'Oh, come on, man. You don't. Not personal mails.'

I hid a smirk out of courtesy. Dave, the Yo-man! man was certainly not very aware of a lot of things. Though he kept trying to be cool, there was something about his Chinki face with tiny eyes that added a genuine innocence. Dave was from Jaipur and had already filed for his U.S. visa. 

'My junior is also from Jaipur. He claims everyone from Jaipur is very nice'

Packets of food were already being distributed. Though they say that never eat from strangers, everyone had pretty much introduced themselves and I was going to stay with these people for 3 days. The other girl in the layered T-shirt showing off her cleavage, dark with black middle parted open hair offered me chips and chaklis. She was also very loud and open in her mannerisms —free, daring and independent.

The fat, nearly intimidating now, African woman like Indian continued, 'See, I told these guys, you guys get cheese and I'm getting bread and jam. So we are set. It was the last shop that was open... or rather should I say, about to close...! I made him sell the breads of course. See, no one thinks of crisis. I think of food!'

'Of course, Mish. Tu nahi hoti to kya hota'

'Abhoy texted. He's drinking. He's drinking and waiting. Lol ' Krishna announced staring at the group messages. I had turned my data off as my single girl instincts had told me that I must keep my phone on charge. Having battery is a must. Group messages and whatsapps do not matter. Some pictures of us all sitting in bench were taken to be posted on group. Finally, I was having a group. My extrovert self was slightly quiet, only overwhelmed by so many different characters and names that were being difficult to process for me.

'So, you are Ayesha.'

'Ya, why?'

'No, that's the thing.', said Saurav.

Dave jumped in, 'Ya, so you are Ayeshaaaaaaa!! '

'Array...'

'Ya, you areeeee Ayeshaaa', joined the cleavage girl with a piercing.

'Uffooo. Why are you all asking like this!?'

'Array nothing, they are just pulling your leg. You were asking me if these people can be trusted. That's why ' she laughed in good humour. 

'Sorry, I...I am horrible at names.'

' Misihika', the African lady quickly turned to others, 'Our last trip, remember ? And you know Viva has started that Lavasa trip. My god, she's charging so much. What a bitch! '

'Oh ho ho ho, man! You guys know Viva? '

'How do you know her? '

' Had gone with her in a trip and since then.' Dave completed by bowing down with folded hands, 'so many cancellations! I mean last moment she cancels a trip! Imagine!'

We were soon joined by a healthy woman in wide striped grey and Crimson T-shirt and a thinner version in a pale soothing green T-shirt and jeans. They settled in. The dark eyed, fair skinned green T-shirt offered bhakarwadis , which were yum!

'It's Viva. You know that party rockers group? We all do trips to save money for all of us. But she does it professionally. As in she charges a commission.' Krishna explained to me aside even as Saurav also joined the front facing train rows now busy in bitching and laughing, from his side berth, standing tall with his little paunch. 

' Abhoy has been drinking, Han? Ask him to get us some!'

'Abey dhire bol, we are already—' Krishna did an innocent helpless brow frown, ' From 15 people, only 3 are original'. He whispered as slowly as he could to me aside, 'Ayesha, here's the thing. We had made reservations in the name of 17 people. So, as the organiser I'll give my ID proof . But you must not show your ID proof as there's no Ayesha on the reservations.Saurav bhai, you must show with me, if required. And Abhoy is there. But he would be joint us later from beyond Thane'

'Oh dear. Does that mean that I'm travelling illegally?' I gasped.

'Oh. There's nothing like that. Just relax. Ok. One has to book train tickets months ago. The money for return will depend as return tickets have not been confirmed for everyone. So that I've already reserved in your name in wait list and hopefully we should get it. That will be in your name.' 

'Abhoy has been having a great time han. '

'Abhoy is drinking his way to Goa'

'What will he drink there?'

'Oh, he'll drink some more. That's all.'

'I badly need a drink, man'

In a later station, this much talked about Abhoy, entered with a backpack. He had got them all supplies. He went to the other compartment as he had some work to finish on his lappy.  We didn't see much of the dark man with gelled long hair till ears. To me, he was simply a disgusting drunkard. So far all these men were really courteous. But I didn't want one rotten tomato to spoil the ambience. But they will obviously drink in Goa. What was I thinking?

Footnotes
1. Bhaalu =bear, refers to hairy
2. Yeh Jawani hai Deewani = Bollywood movie


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