The Ringside View

My attempts at writing have always been stacked up in old diaries and scraps of yellowing paper.Time,neglect and phylum insecta however, always ensured that the gibberish i scrawled, never would see the prying gaze of an alien eye.Years later, i still scribble once in a while - this time in word documents stored in some obscure folder somewhere in the innards of my C drive.I am unearthing some of them and opening them up for the interested.To get what i call - The Ringside view.

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Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Sunday, November 04, 2007

7:10 to Liverpool Street

When you are in Britain, the last Sunday of October is a time of great joy. It is when you can wake up at 7 o clock, laugh that hysterical laughter just reserved for very moments such as these, pump your fist a few times; roll the clock back to 6 o clock and go back to sleep. What joy. So it came as an absolute shock to me when I realized that I had a Liverpool Street bound train ticket booked for that very same fateful Sunday. ‘Can I have the earliest possible ticket please’, I had asked like a dumbschmuck. And now that one extra hour of blissful hard earned sleep, that unparalleled joy of turning the clock back like you were Chronos himself was all going to be lost, thanks to an absolute purpose less journey to London.

But the guilt and the despondency were soon shrouded by a question of great profundity. What does 7 o clock on that Sunday morning resolve to. Does it mean 6 o clock or 8 o clock? And is that after or before changing the clock itself? And above all, what for heaven’s sake would British Rail follow. So I went back to the railway counter, confused soul as I was, hoping to seek an answer in the simplest possible layman terms. ‘Don’t change your watch and you should be fine’, the old man at the counter replied. And as though he was this oracle who had just dispensed the route map to the Inca treasure, smiled a wise smile and pressed whatever people at counters press for that metallic sounding voice to announce – ‘Counter number 2 please’(which roughly translates to – Nexxt) Thank you, I mumbled, stepping into a web of re-affirmed confusion.

And to every acquaintance I bumped into on Saturday I posed the very same question – ‘What time do you think the 7:10 train to Liverpool Street will leave tomorrow?’ And all of them nice people, broadly fell into three categories. The evil ones, who smiled that all knowing Buddha smile and replied – ‘Why so much confusion. Obviously, 8:10’. The even more evil ones, who digressed greatly from the actual question at hand and spoke eloquent about the subtleties of BST, GMT and why all of Europe should have one timeline (who the fuck cares?). And the most evil of them all, who made no efforts to hide their sinister smirk and on top of that gave no answer.

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But just when things were finally clearing up, CG called. I duly explained the problem to him and he very duly told me that I should be at the railway station at 5 o clock!!!! ‘Why the fuck for?’, I screamed. ‘Yes bob’, he continued, ranting away at some logic (I think he used Laplace transforms as well if I remember right) to arrive at the fact that I should be there at 5, no less (he even laughed in the middle). The world was not helping me I gathered. ‘You’re all wrong’, I told CG as I hung up. But what worried me most was the fact that however unconvincing he sounded, he had this uncanny ability to eventually end up being right.

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The majority is right, I eventually concluded. We are rolling the clock back. So seven tomorrow should be the eight of today. But since I have been genetically handed down a ‘why take a chance’ attitude, I decided I shall stick by the clock. And the old man’s wise words were also – ‘Don’t change the clock and you should be fine’.

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I got up at 6, so as to be ready for my 20 minute walk to the station by half past. Since I always misjudge the distance and mistimed the walk, I was pretty keen to get it right this time. There was enough evidence in the air that the rolling back the clock exercise was like heralding another winter. 10 to seven and I was at the station. Coke bottles, Pizza boxes all remnants of yesterday’s night life lay strewn on the station walkway. The station door itself was locked - safe and sound (I had never seen a railway station locked in my life before) and the only three folks who stood around were staring blankly at the ink blue sky as if to say we’ve got a lot of time to spare. It was after all just ten minutes to six in the new world. And the train was not due until an hour from now. One thing was for sure, the British rail follows the clock rolled back.

And then we were four of us staring into the inky blue nothingness.

Confession: The train was actually at 7 o clock, but I have made it 7:10 since it sounds more title like. Like Bollywood movies which have names like 'Ek Chalis ki last local'

(may be continued)

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6 Comments:

Blogger Bikerdude said...

Bro, how does this work in IST? if the KK express is 10 hours late, is it actually 15 hours early?

And does this also mean I need to arrive exactly on time in order to leave some ghastly relative to languish for 3 hours on the platform before I pick them up?

November 04, 2007 11:48 PM  
Blogger Sudhindra said...

So when did the train finally arrive? :)

November 05, 2007 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

quite weird indeed to come across a 'locked' train station. Probably that's their way of snubbing paranoid travellers ;-)

Happy Diwali macha!


-Laxman.

November 06, 2007 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LoL!! cant believe u actually had company when the station was locked!!
:D
S

November 06, 2007 7:43 AM  
Blogger kailash said...

Preeth
I sure do agree on the accuracy of your time and distance estimation :-).
I remember running for the five-stop-train-bus-journey.
-K

November 06, 2007 4:33 PM  
Blogger Preeth said...

@Bikerdude -> Imagine trains like Jammu Tawi, where even being 24hrs late is as good as being early. Each and every one who completes the journey should be garlanded I say.

@Aithal -> new world 7 o clock.old world 8 o clock. And the day dint get better Aithal avre.will hopefully post it shortly.

@LAxman -> you know Norwich station rite :) And happy Diwali macha.

@S -> Believe me it was locked. And of the three of them, one of them was a fool(like me) and the other two I guess were on crack.

@Kailash -> lol. You bet you know.

November 07, 2007 2:13 PM  

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