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Archive for March 2008

Delusional Writings…

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This is something that I wrote a while back…Don’t remember why, just like that I guess.

THE NIGHT TRAIN TO DEHRA (My tribute to Ruskin Bond)

“There it was….staring at me from the depths of the thick trees, like a long lost friend from the past…..some one you knew…but couldn’t quite place him……It will always live in my heart. As long as I live……..”



I always took a train from Delhi to Dehradoon. I was working in an IT firm over in New Delhi. My parents stayed in Dehradoon…something they had been doing for the past 55years. I was in Dehradoon till I was 24 and had to go to Delhi for my job. It was on that day that my eyes fell on it. Like a bright star in a dark sky…..It grabbed my attention…..I though it was a figment of my imagination…I pushed it out of my mind and went to sleep…..I thought it would be the last time I was seeing it…..But God had other plans for me …………..


Delhi was a BIG city. The pandemonium that was the capital was very different from the quiet Dehradoon…I felt lost and out of place there…like a penguin in the middle of Sahara desert.I thought that I would have no problems in adjusting …but I did. I missed the scent of the trees of Dehradoon which was replaced by the smoke coming out of vehicles and factories……the sweet song of the Mynah replaced by the noise of the city…..MOST of all I missed my parents…here I was surrounded by at least 10million people. but I felt alone….


I was coming back from Delhi for the first time. We had just entered the forest regions…it was 10 Pm and I was getting ready to fall into a deep slumber in the rocking cradle that is called a Train. And there it was again… bright and shining as the night I saw it for the first time….I was baffled….

It was huge a building. shining like a small sun in the pitch black blanket surrounding it….I was mesmerized by what I saw. It was like seeing Adonis in the centre of a collection of corpses. It looked like a 5 star hotel…
Now the forest that I am talking about may be home for some tribes…..but none so famous that they would be worth having a hotel for the jungle there didn’t have a lot of animals and construction work was banned there for the time being due to some dispute between a furniture company and the government it was impossible ( at least legally) for someone to build even a room there. I was obviously curious now. who wouldn’t be….but ultimately my sleep overpowered my curiosity and the Sandman did his job…


I felt really happy when I was in Dehradoon…..even after living in Delhi for 8yrs now I always found it difficult to adjust…But now I knew how to survive in the race of life…I knew what I had to do …and I did it……….


My train used to pass that Hotel four times a year….it had been happening for 8yrs now… curiosity was growing within me….ticking like a bomb that threatened to burst any second.. And then on the auspicious night of Dipawali it happened…..the bomb exploded sending shockwaves throughout my soul…

I could not control myself anymore..I had to see that place for myself…

I knew for a fact that there was a village near that hill where this hotel was situated. I decided to get down at that station. I didn’t care if I would end up missing work; it didn’t matter anymore. All that mattered was that Hotel.

I got down at the platform.There was no one around but a few stray dogs..I got out of the station and spotted a battered old Hansom. with its owner looking like he was taken out of a grave…I thought he was dead…he wasn’t. He stirred as he heard my footfalls against the eerie silence of that night.. He woke up gingerly and stared at me for 5 min…

Then I asked him,” Can you take me to a lodge nearby where I can get a guide?” He spoke in a wheezy voice that had Asthma written all over it,” What lodge sahib! This is a poor village of around 100 families, we don’t even have a tea shop here. Why have you come here sahib? Were you traveling without a ticket and TT threw you off the train?” I hastily said no…But before I could say anything else he said venomously,” Then you must be one of those bloodthirsty government employees who come here every now and then and take whatever money we have in the name of taxes….Go away you scoundrel. You are not welcome here”, he suddenly grew very angry…
His eyes came to life; he suddenly grew violent and for a moment looked like he was going to use his whip on me.

I realised that he was slightly mad and quickly told him the reason I was there… He looked at me warily..and said” What hotel sahib…there is no hotel there sahib….there is only jungle..!” I asked him to take me to his village.I hoped to find some sane people there. And there I was standing under a banyan tree in the middle of the village. Now since it was night time and the village had no electricity there were only a small number of people I could see.

One of them came up to me and asked,” What are you doing here sahib? Now I have spoken to old Ramlal there but I don’t believe your story.There is no hotel near that hill. I have been in this village all my life and I know that there is nothing remotely like a hotel there.If you want us to help you please tell us the truth.!” I laughed at him…not a mean laugh….but a laugh caused by his innocence and suspicion.. I told him that I knew what I had seen and I just needed a place to stay for the night and I needed a guide who could take me to my destination because I didn’t fancy going out in the jungle alone. He said that I have to sleep under the tree. They provided me matress and sheets. I spent my night sleeping in installments.

 I was very restless. I kept having a weird dream that I was standing in front of big building shining in all its glory with a sign that read “DOON INTERNATIONAL”. As my hand reached out to grab the doorknob of its entrance ,I always woke up.

I woke up in the morning when I realised I was being licked by something…It was a dog. I woke up with a start and the dog ran away. I spotted the man who had spoken to me last night….He was washing his hands..I went to him and asked for some water and washed my face. Then I again asked him for a guide.He said that even though he didn’t believe my story but he was sure that I was a good man. So he called up a youth about 6 feet tall who looked like a wrestling champion.
His name was Ballu.

Ballu agreed to take me to the spot I had told him about for 500 Rs. It was more than what he earned in a month. We gathered the required things and started for our goal…. The jungle was thick..I was unable to see anything beyond a distance of 5mtrs. We kept on walking. I could hardly keep up with Ballu..He was walking with a speed and comfort that told me that he knew this jungle well. We rested for a few minutes and had our lunch. Ballu told me that we were near to the spot where according to me the hotel was located. I could feel the adrenaline flowing through my veins. I felt like a crack addict at that moment. I was intoxicated with excitement and anticipation. As we walked I started to wonder why we hadnt reached it till now..

We reached a spot where the hill took a turning…I could sense that I was near my destination. I could smell it in the air. We turned and I recieved the biggest shock of my life. There was a building there alright…It was a big old Fort….which looked as if it was as old as time itself….there was no hotel there…..
Nothing at all…..I shouted at the top of my voice,”NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

I refused to believe what I was seeing …..I guess I still refuse to believe what I saw…………

It couldn’t be….It couldn’t be…………………………………………



Written by yasho

March 19, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Just like that