Train journey was a kind of problem for me and my friend, since we haven’t traveled by a train before. Only both of us were leaving for Dehradun with some maps and addresses. We were not so confident but still then we thought we can do it. The journey started from New Allipur Duar Railway station in North Bengal.
By August 2006, A education consultancy in Bhutan had booked train tickets for us. We were shocked to see the train, so dirty and people sitting everywhere they like, I thought that issuing sit numbers were just for fun. We sat so compact and we could hardly move. We couldn’t imagine consultancy would book such a train for two of us. For us at that time, finding the right train and right sit number so tough. After seeing such a train couldn’t bear a lot surprises rendered upon us by the consultancy. Whatever we thought, it was two days journey to New Delhi and from there we got to catch a bus to Dehradun.
Train started to move so slowly and gently, I wondered what the next is. It was the food and toilet the next time. Whatever the case is, we had the food and used the toilet. Then the business of the Chaiwalas, Badamwalas, Hermaphrodites, water boys and so on started their business inside the train making a whole lot of noises. My friend and I haven’t talked much; we were kept dump by all those surroundings. We saw huge rats moving on the railway tracks. We saw good trains moving and wondered what if we had booked the sits in that train by ourselves. The train we were moving had only Sleeper Class. Yeah, the weather was hot, it was August.
By looking at the condition of the train, I thought smoking was okay. So I smoked and paid Rs.400 fine. I told that I was from Sikkim to police officers and I didn’t smoke until I reached New Delhi.
At night one of us used to stay awake as told by our friends and parents. The passengers without sits, they sleep on the floor and some tend to adjust with stranger passenger. Sense of humor and way they talk seems interesting if we share our sits with them. We got a drunkard in our compartment; he was helpful to let our time pass away with so much fun. He was an ex-army man in Darjeeling. He praised Darjeeling with each and every word possible and there was another guy trying to act like he is from New Delhi speaking Hindi accent of Delhi, he is from North East India though.
The journey was so noisy, the weather was hot, there were people sleeping on the floor, food was horrible and so on accompanied us all throughout the night. In the day time just the floor was empty and the sits packed. Yeah, we saw the lights of New Delhi. We reached Delhi at night the next day; the train was seven hours late.
We were looking for Bhutan Embassy in Delhi. We got into an Auto Rickshaw; the driver said that he knows Bhutan Embassy, actually he didn't. He took us around and round, he was searching for Bhutan Embassy so we gave him the address. We didn’t know that he taking us for a small tour, he was showing all those India Gate, Red Fort, etc., so we insisted him to take us where we are supposed to go. Finally we reached the same spot from where got into the same Auto Rickshaw. We didn’t say anything. He straightly took us to Bhutan Embassy which was so near. Seeing Bhutan Embassy, we got so relieved. We paid huge amount to Auto Rickshaw driver as he demanded.
To our surprise, we were not allowed to enter the Embassy. We had to explain to the security guard that our relative live inside the embassy, he is out of station right, and his room is left open for us and so on. So finally, the guard let us in. I wondered what if we don’t have someone known inside the Embassy.
The next day we got to catch bus to Dehradun, although there was train going to Dehradun we preferred travelling by bus. The ticket counter was charging so much from us. They were charging us Rs.700 each for a ticket. By then we knew these people very well, we asked one of their customer and he replied Rs.350 for a ticket to Dehradun. The bus took seven hours to reach Dehradun. We reached at night again and paid higher amount to Auto Rickshaw driver as he demanded and finally managed to reach the college.
Dehradun is surrounded by small hills all around and is large valley having a preserved environment. It is the state capital of Uttarakhand, the state which is renowned for tourist destination.
PS: No proof read (2006)