Sunday, 20 January 2013

TRIP TO PATNA


To day we go to Patna for a stay with our son, daughter in law and two grandchildren.  We leave at 2 PM via train.  Our ticket is a first class air conditioned two birth compartment.  Vaibhav has driven ahead to the Delhi train station with as much luggage as could be fit into his car.  We will follow by taxi.  The driver attached the two dog crates to the luggage rack on the car roof with our two dog's leashes.  Again we experience traffic with cows and stray dogs among the traffic.

Upon  our arrival at the Delhi train station we see a mass of people, cars and stray dogs. Two coolies throw our luggage and dog crates on their heads and take us and dogs directly to our compartment.  Soon our grandson arrives with the rest of the luggage. Goodbyes are hastily said and we are off, the train leaving on time unheard of in India.

Our compartment has become quite cramped with luggage and dogs, yet more comfortable than the cramped airline seats. The view from the window is interesting.  In the city new construction is seen everywhere and poor people some homeless among it all. During our journey we are served hot meals and chai.  We are able to sleep on and off and arrive in Patna a half  hour early, 1:30 AM.  The porter assists with luggage as we exit to the train platform.  It seems we are an unexpected and entertaining spectacle,  a large amount of luggage, a white woman with her Indian husband and dogs.  Fifteen to twenty people gather to watch.  I am just as curious.

Soon we are greeted by our son and daughter in law (Bahurani) who have arranged for a taxi to accommodate  all the luggage and dogs.  We are surprised by a sea of bodies sleeping on the floor of the station lobby.  I later found out these people are waiting on morning trains and have no money for a hotel stay.  A few awaken as we, with dogs in tow and coolies balancing  luggage and crates on their heads, move through the crowd.  Once out side a pack of stray dogs find us interesting and are not happy with our dogs invading their turf.  They follow us, barking, to our vehicles.  Once home we are greeted by our grandchildren.  We are all so excited.  It has taken a full year to gain the necessary visas and pet passports to accomplish this visit.  It's 5 AM before we are able to wind down and get to bed.