Al-Avalathi's Life (Al-Avalathi is the last Mallu to go to the Gelf)
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Posts from — July 2008

General Travails

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When was the last time you traveled in an unreserved/general compartment? No,I am not talking about the 3 or 4 hours that you spent in a general coach couple of days back.An overnight journey,a long journey,something over 35 hours?

If you are a been-there-done-that in this,you can relate this post perfectly.

Journeys back home from Warangal were always unplanned.Traveling unplanned and unreserved had its fair share of cool-ness albeit the load of problems it came with.And traveling in groups in general compartment was even “cooler”.No hassle of waiting in queues for reservation(pre-pre IRCTC ), just a couple of minutes spent in taking a general ticket,that’s all.

General compartments present before you a different India.
India of laborers,hawkers,urchins,
hijras, and ticket less travelers. Lets not forget the dirt,dust,cockroaches and even rats.

From experience I have mastered the art of making myself comfortable in an unreserved coach,though I don’t travel like this any longer.

Ya,you guessed it right.Bang outside the loo is the easiest location one can accommodate oneself in a general compartment.When the whole compartment is jam-packed,this location gives you more space than anywhere else.

Outloo will have cartons,trunks and other forms of luggage competing for a of space with you.Think! It is an opportunity.Improvise and sit on trunks,cartons(make sure the contents are intact!).If you don’t find any of these to place your butt,stand till your legs give way.Then sit on the floor,don’t think too much!If you are one of those, I am a very clean types, use a sheet of newspaper to sit.

When you are comfortably placed here,the most irritating creatures are not cockroaches ,beggars or the sing-for-money kids, but the loosers(loo-users).You will have to give way for people to answer nature’s calls.Soon you will find analyzing the pattern of loo-usage.

How many women,how many women are going in?Why are women going in more than men or otherwise? Thoughts like,”Why is this yellow saree woman going for the third time in an hour” will pass by.You will give a blank stare to the guy who comes out relieved;the stare would mean,”Didn’t you take a leak like 5 mins back?” Can’t help such inquisitiveness.
Other than this,trust me there is nothing better you can do here to ease a harrowing travel experience.

The only interesting twist in this kahaani would be having some army jawaans for company.You can pile on and they will manage to get you place to sit comfortably.

Half/Full Side-ies
If you manage to get close to an occupied side seat,stand close to the person. Ask politely for a half butt placement space.Most requests would be impolitely rejected. Never mind, keep your spirits high.Be aggressive.Persistence will win you a seat, I mean half of it.
If you don’t manage to get a seat,keep an eye on all seats around. You know the mannerisms when someone is going to get down at a station, right?Jump to that seat! Grab it!

The Normal Seat
Very optimistic you are if you feel you would get a seat here the moment to sneak into the coach.
You can find a place in between two people or try
invasion from the end of a seat,with part-by-part body placement.
When you manage half a seat, you can try tricks like falling asleep over the seat-mate amongst other stunts to irritate him.

The top berth in general compartments which I guess is originally meant for luggage, is usually occupied entirely by someone who religiously follows the adage of early bird getting the worm. Do not be nice to him. Wake him up.!Ask him to sit and not lie down.

When sitting on the top berth,make sure your feet does not dangle,if they do, the guy sitting down will abuse you.
Be careful when you are having water or peanuts sitting here;an iota of carelessness will leave the guy down in fumes.

Side Luggage Rack
If you are desperate to lie down and belong to the adventurous types, this is your place.The side luggage rack(above the side seats) which can barely accommodate your breadth, is for you.
Push the luggage there to either sides.Get up there and lie down.If you are horizontally challenged ,even a bit, don’t try this stunt!

If nothing works, the floor is always there for you..Take you shamelessness-astra out and sit on the floor;you can reach home and take a Dettol-shower if you want.

Come what may,make sure your luggage is with you/next to you. through out.Use it as pillow,leg rest,seat whatever.Losing it does not leave you with good memories of a travel.

Aren’t you looking forward to a long unrserved journey? Now that you have read this much, please don’t say no. ;)

Image courtesy :ClicQ

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July 31, 2008   39 Comments

Hartal Nation:Kerala

Why is there a Hartal in Kerala today?
Amarnath Land issue it seems.

How is Kerala of all the states related to this?
How many people from Kerala have heard about this temple leave alone visiting the shrine?

Why is the government so spineless?

How can a BJP-VHP of all the parties call for a Hartal in Kerala?
Mind you, BJP has NEVER EVER won a single seat in Kerala(leave PC Thomas winning as part of NDA with his midget IFDP)

Bandh was banned by Honourable High Court of Kerala in 1997. Before this verdict,Hartal meant closure of shops.Now Hartal has taken the meaning of Bandh.(as it was before the verdict)

Kerala is now the land of professional agitators who turn into vandals for any political party.
People fear this tribe and do not get out to work. So the politicians win.

I am sure that BJP ruled states including Karnataka is working normally.

Recent Hartals in Kerala:

June 4:Hartal in Kattapana, a town in Idukki district.
Reason:Attack on UDF workers

June 5:BJP and the ruling left All India Hartal only in Kerala
Reason:Fuel hike

June 20:Hartal in Trissur district
Reason:Police beat up KSU workers(KSU is Kerala Students Union with an average member age of 30+, all Phd candidates, for sure)

June 27:BJP Hartal in Trivandrum
Reason:Yuva Morcha(BJP feeder organization) DYFI(political gundas run by the commies) clash

June 30: Idukki again.UDF(original opposition in Kerala assembly)
Reason:Issues related to Kattapan Service Cooperative Bank elections and CPM- Congress clash

The above list does not include panchayat,taluk level hartals.

July 2 :Punalur,thanks to Congress;Pattanapuram, CPI
Reason: AIYF Secretary PS Supal arrested for freeing arrested criminals

July 3 :BJP Nation wide hartal; Kerala shut down!!!
Reason: Amarnath issue

Kodungallur in Thrissur(thanks dinu for the correction) district
Reason: DYFI leader Biju injured in political clash succumbing to his injuries.

Edit 1

Kerala observed its 57th shutdown of this year Thursday, if one takes into account all the village, district and state-level shutdowns. (Says Sify )

(Facts&Image:Malayala Manorama)

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July 3, 2008   43 Comments