Delhi-Haldwani-Nainital Part 1

Journeys unplanned are the most beautiful and rewarding ones, both in terms of experience and knowledge.

Last weekend, I was at Haldwani, at a friend’s place.

I boarded Ranikhet Express from Gurgaon in the evening of 5th Sep – the day I turned 29.

I had some pretty worst experiences with this train. Below is the excerpt of my whatsapp from the train –


[9/6/2015, 01:46] Siddesh Deshmukh:  saw three robbers in coach today.

[9/6/2015, 01:46] Siddesh Deshmukh: Sorry 5

[9/6/2015, 01:54] Siddesh Deshmukh: To what I have seen & experienced today. I would like to rename ranikhet express as the great robbery train. 7 robbers in the sequence of 3-2-2

[9/6/2015, 02:02] Siddesh Deshmukh: Modulus of operandi: One stands n guards the passage near toilet arena. One travels the passage acting as travels in opposite direction. The location of robberry is scanned in their first walk..communicated over signals. Once location diagnosed. The same two reoccur in opposite direction. One watches all 8  berths in the section of coach and guard near toilet watches for police patrol..I saw the sign languages. The guard signalled 5 down pointing to his ass… Meaning 5 lower berth is sleeping with his wallet exposed. Strangely I had this strong feeling that policemen are involved they were patrolling sometimes running in coaches with torches all time except this. The sequence repeated as 3-2-2


I was carrying my DSLR, My Binoculars and my tripod other than the bag. So you may imagine the dilemma I was into, when I was experiencing these things.

I did thought of engaging with these robbers, but then that could have been worst, as one of them would had got me into talks and other would have had cleaned his hands on my belongings!

I was desperately waiting for cops to arrive, but they NEVER did!

Okay, let’s forget the train. I alighted the train early in the morning at Haldwani. At that time, I didn’t knew what a scenic place I was standing on! I was only late in morning It was revealed that the station was surrounded from three sides by mountains.

I went into the waiting arena, saw three-four people sleeping on the steel chairs, and one on the table.

Felt sleepy, but soon my attention was caught by a beautiful girl (in her mid twenties) arrive at the door of the passage. She alighted the same train. She looked perplexed on seeing the men and felt (she later clarified this) that the room was only for gents.

She went few blocks away, and went into something that looked like a passage next to the canteen.

I did came out to see where she went, of course, ahem ahem,,.a lady see…care comes naturally..

So, I befriended, a man next to me, to find he was waiting for Dehradun train expected to reach two hours from then, at 6:50 am in the morning. So he went on, and i was like, damn, I poked the wrong guy …and he went on with his philosophies of life..until, came a sweet moment, where I could get rid of him, I went to buy newspaper, which was near the canteen..there were only hindi papers, I took some hindi paper and while coming back, I saw the same girl, this time with a better view, sitting alone all by herself in the waiting arena. I checked the time, it was 5:30am

I felt something, something I may not be able to explain. Off I went to my waiting arena, gave newspaper copy to this philosophical guy and asked him to keep eye on my luggages, then I came back again to the canteen. Bought a packet of Lays, and dared something, which I usually don’t. I went inside the arena she was sitting. I went inside, near to the steel chair she was sitting…I went inside and sat on the steel chair she was sitting..ahem ahem..and I striked a conversation with hello..

My first hello was too soft, I repeated with increasing yet wavering intensities of two more hellos.. to finally see a smile bloom on her innocent face after a brief period of her scrutiny look.

I was relieved when she smiled, as I became little more confident at introducing myself and take-up a conversation.

I offered her few bites from my Lays pack (that yellow colour salt thing) she instantly refused. So I had to ask back her twice between our conversations to make sure she was genuinely not hungry and not just shying from having them (which she later in the end clarified “I don’t feel like eating salt in the morning” and I almost felt like hiding myself, as her logic was right, and it was kind of her to mention it to me in a non-satirical pleasing way)

So, we talked for half-an-hour I guess. I was able to pitch myself right. Everything about me in a nutshell, and while conversing I was able to sniff out that she was from Haldwani. She was waiting alone, because her dad was outstationed. She works in Delhi, and that she had asked her mom to come after sunrise to pick her up and that her mom was not told about her train timings. We both shared a laugh on this. As I too was doing something as insane as her – waiting for the dawn.

And then, there came a moment, when we had to part. Her ‘maa ka phone ayaa’, and she went through the passage to the exit. It was like a movie. The arena I was sitting had walls made of glass, and so I could see every step that she took away from me till her exit.

Ahem ahem, and no she didn’t do that ‘Palat’ thing, which became a rage since raju ban gaya gentleman. Our eyes never met again. And in this chakar, I forgot to ask her name! As well…

Hmmmm.. hmmm… ahem ahem..I guess I have parted too much from my original story..the journey!

please click open Part 2 for the actual story


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The original purpose of this blog was promoting city cycling and popularizing urban green belt corridors, which it did for it's first one and a half year, since the year of it's launch - 2014. Now-a-days, that is, since the last two years, I haven't been city commuting on my bike, thanks to my city earning the world's most air polluted region title. And thanks to the redesigning of City roads, those are forked under construction since last six months, loosing a green cover of a whooping 9,100+ trees and the rising construction dust hazards. And lastly thanks to El nino of 2015 and El nina of 2016. I don't know if I have missed any other reason. The theme of the blog, hence, changed, into a bit of my own ramblings covering topics, such as - my travel blogging, Social issues in India, Climate change & biodiversity conservation.

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