I’m home again. Phew! No more traveling for some time. Oh wait! I have to catch a bus for Calcutta tomorrow. Damn! Ah well, C’est la vie.
In December 2009, I stayed for just 46 hours in Durgapur. Would you believe it?
I’ve been gallivanting across the country these past few days. All right, I’ve been visiting my extended family in South India. “Gallivanting across the country” just sounds cooler.
There’s something incredibly unique about traveling by Sleeper Class in an Indian train. That something unique consist of, among other things, equal parts of overcrowded compartments, waitlisted passengers in reserved coaches, hawkers, IRCTC and noxious bodily gases(The last two are sometimes related).
But getting down at Vizag station to buy coffee at 4:30 in the morning makes up for it a lot. Buying IRCTC tomato soup also helps. Having an upper berth helps. Having good books to read while on the upper berth helps the most.
Madras was quite fun. I visited three bookshops, a bird sanctuary and a crocodile park this time. I am very happy.
The Bird Sanctuary was damn nice. There were Painted Storks, Pelicans and Ibises. They were nesting in trees in the middle of this big lake. It looked like a little city. The Crocodile Park was also a lot of fun. They had Marsh Crocodiles(320 in one pen, 450 in another), Nile Crocodiles, Australian Freshwater Crocodiles, Saltwater Crocodiles, Alligators, Caimans and Gharials. They also had turtles, tortoises, snakes, fish and one monitor lizard.
We also went to Thiruvananthapuram to visit my dad’s side of the family. Kerala is quite pleasant at this time of the year. We went to this Aquarium and Flower show there which, once you enter, you cannot exit without seeing everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. They’ve put up fences and barricaded in such a way that you can only keep going forward. The route has been designed such that you’ll have to see every shop.
We’ve brought back quite a few books from this trip. A few of my dad’s books were lying around in Thiruvananthapuram so we brought those back. We also bought quite a few books in Madras. I’ll list them soon.
There weren’t many funny incidents this time around. Probably because I was traveling with my parents. People who belong to the Prepare for Apocalypse cult seldom have funny incidents happening to them. It’s something to do with the way they plan every aspect of the trip.
On the journey to Madras, on the Howrah-Chennai Coromandel Super Fast Express(to give it it’s full name) we had a group of nuns and a group of NCC cadets in our coach. I guess we had the protection of God and Good Guys.
We returned to Madras from Trivandrum by bus. That’s an eighteen hour journey. The bus was fairly comfortable. It had a considerable amount of leg-room. Alas! It still wasn’t enough to let me stretch my legs completely. I believe I can now survive anything.
The journey from Madras to Durgapur by the Chennai Egmore-Dibrugarh Town Express was very comfortable. The train was relatively empty and we traveled in great comfort. Orissa and West Bengal were very cold at night though. Indeed, it was very chilly.
That’s about all.
PS: The total number of books gained from this trip is 35. And my sister has whacked five more. So that’s forty. Brilliant! Now excuse me. I have a lot of reading to do. Mwahaha!!!! I think I’ll list out all the books. Just to gloat. Mwahaha!!!
PPS:One of those books is a copy of The poetical works of John Milton OUP, 1930. I picked it up because it was apparently given to my great-grand-uncle as a prize for General Proficiency when he was in College. I think it would be interesting if such prizes were given again. Not least because “Riot breaks out at College function” would make a nice headline.
Well, here’s the list of books I’ve whacked.
- The Jeeves Omnibus :: P.G.Wodehouse.
- The Inimitable Jeeves :: P.G.Wodehouse
- Ukridge :: P.G.Wodehouse
- Vintage :: P.G.Wodehouse
- The Stationary Ark :: Gerald Durrell
- The Drunken Forest :: Gerald Durrell
- Catch Me a Colobus :: Gerald Durrell
- Three Singles to Adventure :: Gerald Durrell
- The New Noah :: Gerald Durrell
- Intimate Relations :: Jacquie Durrell
- Doctor on Toast :: Richard Gordon
- Doctor and Son :: Richard Gordon
- Doctor in Clover :: Richard Gordon
- Doctor on the Job :: Richard Gordon
- Guards!Guards :: Terry Pratchett
- Soul Music :: Terry Pratchett
- Magic :: Isaac Asimov
- Robots and Empire :: Isaac Asimov
- The Wind-up Bird Chronicle :: Haruki Murakami
- On the Road :: Jack Kerouac
- Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Stories :: Herman Melville
- The Invisible Man :: H.G.Wells
- The History of Mr.Polly :: H.G. Wells
- The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes :: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Confessions of an English Opium-Eater :: Thomas De Quincey
- Medea and Other Plays :: Euripides trans. John Davie
- The Three Theban Plays :: Sophocles trans. Robert Fagles
- The Poetical Works of John Milton :: Ed. Rev.H.C. Beeching
- Major American Short Stories :: Ed. A.Walton Litz
- More William :: Richmal Crompton
- Sweet William :: Richmal Crompton
- The Perfect Murders :: Agatha Christie
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd :: Agatha Christie
- Murder on the Orient Express :: Agatha Christie
- Murder in the Mews :: Agatha Christie
- Hercule Poirot’s Christmas :: Agatha Christie
- The Painter of Signs :: R.K. Narayan
- Farewell, My Lovely :: Raymond Chandler
We had to carry them in a small Carton. 😛 To be precise, I had to carry them in a small Carton. 😐
Arising from the above, I have done some rearranging in my room. I’ve had to convert a whole set of shelves into bookshelves(not that I mind :P) I had to throw away a bunch of old DVDs and CDs I got free with tech magazines when I used to buy them every month.
Those CDs and DVDs had some good software and freeware on them. They were very useful, especially when Broadband wasn’t all that common and Dial-up was the norm. Nowadays everything can be downloaded but back then it was quite a task trying to download even a small(by today’s standards) file. And since Dial-up would drop the line at the slightest excuse, you might have spent forty minutes trying to download a 4MB file and BAM! it’s gone. Even when Broadband came, they were useful for getting hold of very large files and updates and codecs. Especially for getting Codecs and Updates. You’d get DirectX updates, K-Lite and VLC codec upgrades and Windows patches every month. Very useful for the very lazy and for the technologically challenged.
And now they’re all useless. Most of the discs won’t run. And most of the software is hopelessly outdated. I doubt many of them will even run. C’est la vie.
I’ve stopped buying Tech mags. Mainly because I can get most of the news from online sources.
**Sigh** I used to buy EFY once upon a time.
I still have a copy of Byron Gottfried’s Schaum’s Outline of Programming with C