Friday, May 14, 2010

The Diary of April 2010

I was in the Hyderabad based office of my company (staying in a boy’s hostel and without any significant work).

Last year on 22nd April 2009, at around 9:30 PM, I had lost my Father (He was 65 years old, and died at the Asarfi Hospital, Dhanbad, Jharkhand. His cause of death was: Acute Pub. Edema, Aspixation(?) and immediate cause of death was mentioned as HTN \ Nephritis syndrome \ Hyporaforesma(?). He was admitted on 14th April 2009 at 8:21 PM, after having complains of chronic fever, loose motion and swelling of the body parts. Initial medical tests could not find the problem, but later it was said that the test had indicated the infection in the liver. There was not enough cash with my family and I too was not in position to provide financial help. The day he died, I had sent Rs.5000 in my father’s account. At that time I was in a contractual job at a different company in Hyderabad, and could not serve my father and could not even attend his funeral! But on getting the news, went to my village to attend other rituals).

This year (11th April 2010), I had to visit my village to participate in the prayers for the peace and “Sadgati” of the departed soul. For this I had to leave for my village at 8th April.

I had requested my current employing company to give me a leave for this, but since I was in probation period, I could not take leave for more than 3 days. It takes at least two days to go from Hyderabad to North Bihar by train. If I take extra holiday, my salary will be deducted. I planned to compromise with my salary to visit my village.

The Absent Minded Manager Landed himself into the Problem
I had wanted my boss to take interest in the planning of the leave, but he did not take much interest. So I booked the e-ticket in Secunderabad Patna express (Train no. 2791) on 6th April, but the ticket was waitlisted and so I rebooked the ticket under Tatkal on the same day (PNR: 1345156583).  The Sleeper ticket’s cost was Rs.476+120 Tatkal charge+10 IRCTC’s charge (= RS.606). 

I was little disturbed with the thought that the salary for the days for which I will be absent from the duty, will be deducted from my monthly salary and I was low/medium salaried (I had studied Management course with the Investment from debt of around 2 lakhs. But I could not get the expected package). This was first time when I was going to my village after joining this company (10th -11th August 2009), and I was also pondering that why I did not tried for Government job and  if I would had  been in a Government job, I would had got more holidays!

Here I did a great mistake. The time of departure printed on the ticket was 10:00 (24 hours format).When last year, I had traveled in the same train, it had departed from Secunderabad at around 10 PM (night). This made me to think that the time of departure is in night. To cut my days of absence, I thought to work till the evening of the 8th April.

On 8th April (Thursday), I left the office at 4:00 PM, two hours earlier than the usual time to do some shopping (buying earplug (which was thefted) of my Sony Ericsson R300 mobile phone, which I got at Rs.600) and pack my luggage. 
I was having quite heavy luggage (1 big suitcase, 1 big bag and a small office bag). I was not going to return to the Hyderabad, as I had to go to Gujarat from my village. I had planned to report to Gujarat on 19th April (Monday morning). So I took my entire luggage along with me.
After vacating the Paying guest (Boys Hostel, H.No:10-5-391/54/92/C, Syed Nagar-11, First lancer, Banjara Hills, Road No.12, Phone:09959190296) I left for the railway station at around 7:00 PM by a hired Auto which charged Rs.150/- from Banjara Hills to Secunderabad railway station. I reached the station at around 8:00 PM; I show the Train Information display board near the gate depicting the arriving trains, The Patna express was shown to be arriving at 10:05 PM. I felt relaxed.
Lifting the heavy luggage I went to the Gita Press book stall on the platform number 1, and thought to spend my time looking at the books and purchasing the few (Garud Puran, Hanuman Chalisa, Purva Janam ki satya ghatnaye, Ram Raksha Stotram,etc.).
The people on the platform were like that from Bihar, this further assured me that the train is going to come on the same platform.
But on not receiving any information on arrival of the Train, I started sensing that there is something wrong. I tried to contact the Enquiry counter, but there was lots of crowds and and I had heavy luggage, restricting my movement.
At around 10:30-11:00 PM, Patna express came to Platform no.2, I didn't show any movement of crowd towards it, but with the luggage I moved to the 2nd Platform. To save money, I had not asked a coolie's help and also no coolie had approached me.  On Platform No.2, there was no crowd moving to board the train, I asked few coolies standing there, who told me that Secunderabad-Patna express had left at morning 10:00 AM and this is the return train from Patna to Secunderabad. I was shocked. 
I went to the Tatkal reservation counter, asking there help, but could not get any support. I made phone call to the IRCTC's Customer care, after long time, a customer care person lifted the phone, he on listening my story, sympathized, but showed helplessness in taking me out of the trouble. He also said that since the ticket booked was Tatkal and confirmed, I cannot hope to get any money, from the railway.

Fortunately, Yesvantpur-Gorakhpur Express was late and standing on the platform No.1 of the station. I thought to travel by that Train, for which I would had to buy a General ticket. Since the General ticket counter was too far away from the platform, I approached the TTE of the train and seeked their help. They said that there is no berth available in the train, If I somehow like to travel in the train, I will have to do so by paying the  fine for not having ticket and travelling in the sleeper coach. The fine till Patna would be around Rs.800. I did not had that much money in my pocket, the TTE said that I can get money from the ATM available on the station, as the Train may stay for some more time on the platform. I went to the SBI ATM, where while taking out money from the ATM, first time I made wrong entry, but in second attempt, I was able to successfully withdraw the required amount. The guard of the ATM asked some money to drink tea, which I refused, telling that I am in problem.
I went to board the Train, Boggy number S-8. While stepping up, my chappals fell in the Railway track, but I took risk and managed to take it out. I found some space to stand near the toilet and seat number 1 of the coach. There were around six persons with counter-booked wait-listed tickets,  to accompany me in that place near the toilet. 
The train started at around 1:00 PM, it was standing on the platform for around 2 hours. 
The TTE came and after taking Rs.790, he prepared a paper ticket from Secunderabad to Patna, for me. He advised me to get down at Itarsi station and board another train for Patna.
While "doing the night duty" (Guarding the toilets of the Indian Railway!). (09-4-2010, Friday) In early morning hours, I and my companions got some births to take rest. At around 9-10 AM, again I had to vacate the seats. At around 2:00 PM the train reached Itarsi. I went to the room of the station master to seek his help, (enquiry counter was far) he said that though he is not much sure, there are some train between 4:00 to 6:00 PM for Patna. 
Fortunately, I heard on announcement that a train is coming from Mumbai on platform number 2 and will go to Patna. I rushed to catch that train. It was a Mumbai-Patna special train, and lots of vacant seats were available in the sleeper coach. I got a seat, and quiet comfortably I reached Patna (10-04-2010). Between Ara and Kulharia station, some "students" pulled chain, twice, to get down at their desired locations, which was not very far from the Kulharia Railway station. An "educated" middle aged man also supported the activities of these "students". During that time, an alcohol drunken agricultural business men, "entertained" us. I show a strange type fruit, known as "Koilwar" being sold at the stations after Ara. I reached Sitamarhi by a private bus, at around 8:00-9:00 PM. I had to go to my paternal village, Maibi Purnahia by an auto which asked Rs.100 from me.
I reached my village with almost empty pocket. I was tired and lazy for most of the time of my stay in the village. Though being the only earning son of my departed father, I could not expend more than Rs.10-20, from my pocket for different religious ceremonies for the peace of my father's soul. The ceremonies didn't went so nicely as there was limitation of cash in my family, and the food offered in the feast for the village people was not much palatable. 
Father in law of my elder brother had asked me to return his Rs.30,000, which he claimed that my father had taken from him for my studies, which I assured of returning him on installment basis.
I left for Ahmedabad from my village on night of 16th April and reached on morning of 19th April. 
While checking my SBI account I was shocked to see that on 14th April, someone had removed Rs.8000 from my bank account through SBI ATM of Sitamarhi.
Next day, I went to the SBI branch and complained about the incident. Since It was outcome of my carelessness (I had kept my ATM card along with the PIN in my unlocked Bag while staying in my native house at village Purnahia. So it is quite possible that on the morning hours of 14th April (Thursday) some educated person, close to me, after knowing the PIN, took away the ATM Card and withdrawn the money, leaving Rs.2000 in the account, and re-keeping the ATM  Card again in my Bag) they said that the bank will not be able to help me.