1. Dinner on the Train
The journey started from Kolkata to NJP. Everyone had brought something for dinner. Shobhit brought chicken and roti, Sandeep brought puri and sooji ka halwa, and Mayukh brought noodles. I brought puri and chole. The food was now too much for 5 people to finish. Everyone tried to eat as much as they could, but, you know, some of the food ended up being wasted. There was one family adjacent to our cabin, and they were pretty much excited. Even more than us I believe.
2. Nighttime Storytelling
Ah, one thing I forgot to mention. We were travelling in AC 3rd Tier, so there were 8 seats in one cabin out of which 5 were ours. It was getting pretty late so all cabin lights were turned off. One small light was still on somewhere which perfectly set the mood for nighttime storytelling. Mayukh told us a spooky story about some children getting abducted or to be precise the whole school bus vanished and later after a month or so, their body parts were found near a camp with signs of cannibalism. It was a creepy one, to be honest.
3. Cabin Berth Fun
After that story, we packed up and called it a night. Sandeep and Omkar (my cousin), were sleeping on the lower berths. Shobhit and I were sleeping in the middle berths. Mayukh was sleeping on the top berth. We had some fun while we were in our berths. I was poking Mayukh from below 🤣, and Shobhit was playing some songs that were going well with the vibe ✨. My brother was looking outside the window and Sandeep was completely out.
Mayukh handed over his mobile to me to charge it as the charging port was in the middle berth, it’s very rare, to be honest, to see Mayukh without a mobile. I fell asleep shortly. I don’t know about other people but I don’t get proper sleep while traveling in long-distance trains. Now and then I would wake up.
4. Kolkata to NJP Midnight Train Halt
I remember waking up and the train was halted at one of the stations. I fell asleep again and woke up around an hour later to find out the train was still at the same station. It was 4 a.m.
5. Early Morning on the Train
Near about 6 a.m. Mayukh, Omkar, and I were awake. Omkar was even a couple of steps ahead of us. By the time we came down from our berths, Omkar had already brushed his teeth and freshened up. It was a bit crowded near the lavatory so the rest of us were waiting for the crowd to subside.
After freshening up, we enjoyed tea from various tea vendors. I think it was lemon tea, it was good, and kind of elevated the mood. Our train was 2 hours behind schedule. It was supposed to reach NJP (New Jalpaiguri) by 7:55 am, I suppose. However, no harm was done, as we had the chance to see the lovely landscape.
6. Corporate Culture Discussion
In the meanwhile, everyone was fully up now. We were discussing IT corporate culture. Everyone was sharing their fair share of frustration. Mayukh, especially, was very much frustrated.
In the meantime, I received a call from one of the HRs from a company for which I was holding an offer. It is based on the financial domain. I will maybe write a separate article for this company. I didn’t pick up the call, because I didn’t want my friends to know about my job offers till that time. They assumed someone was calling me from HV. I had one more job offer in hand, it was more than double my current salary. It was a startup, started just a few years back I believe. Till this point in time, I was planning to join the latter one.
7. Arrival at NJP from Kolkata
So we reached Kolkata to NJP around 10 a.m., and the weather was not cold to our surprise, it was a little hot. All of us were anticipating that it was going to be cold. We had a little breakfast near the railway station, some parathas and sabzi which I don’t remember. Btw, the view was mesmerizing from the railway station over-bridge, we could see the mountain line. I was feeling pretty excited, as this was my first time seeing mountains.
8. Conning Tourist Episode in NJP
We were having Tea, and in the meanwhile, we needed to decide how are we going to reach Kalimpong, whether should we book an SUV or go by bus. SUV drivers were asking for around 4000 INR. It was too much.
In the meanwhile some random guy approached us and offered to do the same in a Tata Sumo but for a price of 2500 or 2800 INR, I don’t remember clearly.
We shouldn’t have trusted this guy, there was a twist which we realized later. The twist was he was selling us this deal under a tourism package under the tourism company for which he worked.
Long story short these guys were completely conning tourists and selling them expensive packages. All of this wasted around an hour or so.
9. Bus Journey Commencement, NJP to Kalimpong
After wasting a lot of time, we booked an auto for the bus stand where we could book bus tickets to Kalimpong for only 100 – 150 INR something. At this point, I was sweating like anything.
We settled into our seats as the clock neared 11:44 am, the scheduled departure time for our bus. With everyone aboard, the bus departed, marking the beginning of our journey from NJP to Kalimpong after what felt like a considerable amount of time wasted. 🤣