Imagine, if all the time that you may have to spend in Delhi is after midnight followed by a long perilous wait till the morning, then what you may shall do?
Book a room, yeah, that did occurred to us, but failed in occurrence.
The epic Agra-Delhi
We reached Delhi’s Anand-Vihar ISBT at around 11:00pm, following a bus we took from Idgah (Agra) ISBT.
A little brief on the ISBT that plies the ‘via-meerut’ Busses. I think the best word that may describe them is – “Pathetic”
Waiting an hour delivered us a bus at the stand gate no. 5, which took another 45min to begin its journey at 6:15pm
It was no fun, the UP transport bus, clogged and clogged and choked, and clogged making the three-and-a-half-hour ride into a four-hour-fifteen-minute stretch.
Thanks to the merciless driver and his fellow companion conductor, we made it, finally.
It was freezing like hell in Delhi. It felt like 5C then. With our shivery hands we helped us with some hot bread omelet and steamed eggs, followed by two rounds tea to bring-back the life in us long dead in the frozen state.
After a wholesome diet, we continued to the nearest metro – Anand Vihar metro, to catch a metro towards Rajiv chowk, as we had to reach old Delhi railway station which is put-up near the chandni chowk metro. It took roughly half-an-hour then to reach rajiv chowk, followed by another 20 minutes to reach chandni chowk including the wait period and everything else.
We alighted at Chandni chowk, which is just to the opposite side of the road leading to the station, it was roughly around 11:45pm now. We reached the enquiry section to enquire about cloark room facilities.
The Cloark Room
We entered the cloark room through a disputed way, which ideally should be under surveillance, but is not as it leads to the meeting point, where people wait for their trains. However, it came to our notice that any miscreant may easily by pass the security measure to reach to any platform using this route without being bothered with security checks like X-ray machine for his/her luggage.
Anyway, Cloark room, yes, what to start with – was a 1970s haunted house, which was unforgivingly static, and thankfully less smelly. We saw several stacks of racks with empty spaces counting to nearly ten to twelve of bags in that havelli-like big room.
And we meet this guy, a typical guy, who was in his late 50s perhaps, a very spirited man, but very slow..I mean it..sllloooooww at his talks. Emphasizing rules, after every break that he took to breath, he explained us the entire procedure of booking a locker room and cloark room in that haveli.
After enquiring what’s in my bag, his curious eyes met with a bottle of perfume, which he hesitantly probed about for understanding its nature/purpose. I hung it in air, opened the cap and pointed it at him in an inviting manner, requesting him to check it himself, how it works. He became instantly happy and opened his two buttons to have two sprays of perfume and His eyes could tell, he was really elevated by my act.
Now, came the real problem, yes real. As it may happen at any Sarkari Daftar (Government office). As soon as we finished the tedious entry-form full of jargons, the clock ticked 00:05, to which this guy frowned upon and pointed to a board away from us, which read in tiny letters on the black canvas against white – break time 00:00 hour to 00:30 hour. Now this chap, really expected us to wait that long (yes, we waited for the next fifteen minutes as another babu (officer in charge) was suppose to take the charge of the Cloark room. Thankful, he understood, and made an entry for 12:25am at 12:15am. Thus, we rescued ourselves from that haveli-like room, but of course after manually placing our bags with our own hands in the places of their desire.
By 12:45am we were at the metro, thinking to catch it till Hauz-Khaz village. But to our bad luck, and thanks to the cloark room babus, we missed the last metro that departed around 11:15/30pm from chandni chowk metro towards Huda.
The City Bus & Auto
Anyway, so we took this Auto, who on our request agreed upon charging 150 bucks. But yes, before that let me explain, that we found out that there is a bus with route no. 502 that plies on the route even as late as beyond 3am.. we waited for this bus at the circle, but it didn’t came, instead a different route bus halted near us as its last stop. I ran behind the bus, till it came to a halt. A fellow passenger who was alighting the bus from the door near the driver’s end heard me panting up with a question in broken hindi – “how far is Hauz khaz and how to go?” Driver promptly replied – “Bus no. 502 pakadna, yahi rukegi, bhagna mat uske peeche, yahi milegi.” To which this fellow passenger probed me – “Sir, are you from foreign land, are you a non-resident India?” To which I broke in a witty line assuring him – “Sir, hamara bachpan buso ke peeche bhag ke bita h, hume pata h koi bus u khade khade kabhi nahi milti.” The driver grinned and quietly aligned through his doorway and disappears into the darkness of streets, perhaps to continue with his regular chores.
Okay, so this auto we took to hauz khaz, froze us up. It was 5C windy and this guy, drunk perhaps, was nicely clutching-in at speeds, I tried protecting my ears and nose with my hands as and when, and I did succeeded in beating the cold, atleast I can say so, as its now around 15 hours as of writing and there are no signs of cold.
The Hauz-Khas March
I failed my friend. By the time we reached Hauz-Khaz Village, it was 1:05am, everything closed. I helped him through the lanes, which he found interesting. Did went in couple of shops, but they all politely refused to serve us anything, as the rule doesn’t permit them to serve us post 12:30am.
Okay, and yes, thanks to the autowala who denied, we had to climb the 750 meters street that took us to the village ‘on foot’ at 12:40am in 5C breezy-wind chilling our spine as the speedy cars with druken drivers bumping and hopping and screeching near the speed-bumps on roads, as if they didn’t exist!
Okay, so, yeah, we traced the same road back walking, (making it 1.5km in all) but this time it was downhill, making it a bit easier, and a good Samaritan Autowala suggested us to wait for 502 bus, as we mentioned him we wish to go back in a little cheaper way. Alright, so we waited at the bus stop that lays just at the end of the road on to its left.
The Drug Pedellar
We waited, hmm, another 1 hour or more, to witness a plot of drug pedalars trading some stuffs, their modulus of operandi – A drug trafficker comes in an auto and doesn’t alight, while quickly the customer rushes to him. It all takes place within a minutes, an exchange of hand, and poof!, they are both speedily gone.
To my surprise a police patrolling van arrived at the same spot and stayed there for nearly 10 minutes doing nothing and went away. I couldn’t make out of it on how the police arrived exactly at the same spot of crime much after the crime was done. God knows. Leave it.
A Blessing in Disguise
So, we found our bus, at around 2:15am which took us back to Old delhi railway station. By the time it was 2:45am and near the circle, we found a small enclave leading to a restaurant that was brewing tea! Our joy knew no bounds, as we found a way to beat the cold.
After brewing two cups each, and to our delight yummy maska bun, we approached the station, to further help us with tea, and I think we had it one more time, and one more time before departing..okay, sorry, I have lost the count, perhaps because My brain is experiencing a grid-lock, as its 5:26pm now at my job, without sleep. I have just concluded my day at office after the night you are reading about here in this article.
Yes, this was all yesterday night!
The Old Delhi Railway Station
Okay, so then, we waited another 2 and half hours inside the railway station on a huge iron suitcase bag, which the parcel van workers carry for ferrying stuffs, they were the only stuffs unoccupied when we reached in to find a place to seat on.
The initial jerk (rapid withdrawal of heat from the Bumps) made us freak and repent why we sat on, but yes, as time flew, it became warmer than we could have ever thought. Ahhh, the sheer pleasure of sitting..and the warmth..ohh..too much joy, cant describe in typing words.
Okay, so, it was 5:30am, the auspicious time for my friend’s train arrival. We quickly made a round outside, to fill us with tea and snacks and my friend was able to locate a decent pair of gloves (that looked cheaper than the price being bought for) to catch back his train that was to start at 6:40am to take him further on his next 24 hour journey!
Back to Life Again
Hectic, yes, and I, turned back to my place in Gurgaon, got ready, and visited office and drank lot of caffeine that sustained me throughout the day. Was able to complete a proposal, and in the free time, when my mind froze, wrote this up, in the limited energy that was surprising left inside me even after not sleeping for a whole night.
Okay, even if you have happened to jump from the story to last para, do remember to wish me a good night sleep.
Thanks you so much for your time and wishes!