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Travelling is often fun.... But it is the little discomforts and funny incidents that make the experience memorable. The travel guides and pamphlets give the picture, but our experience is only ours. This blog by Shefali Menezes, Sullivan Noronha, Martin Joseph and Babli Yadav goes out to all the people who believe in this experience..

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Yeh Laga 'Chhakka'

Disclaimer: The post means no malice against eunuchs. It just relates to a random incident. The image used is for representational purpose only.

I was travelling in Lucknow-Mumbai Holiday Express in the summer of 99. The train was chugging away to glory and as usual, I could not sleep because of  "Chai chai! Cold Drink le lo! Ae khana aaya!" But my parents had already gone to sleep.

The train halted at some godforsaken station that had no lights on the platform. After two minutes, I heard a loud clapping noise followed by the regular dialogue "Ae bhai de na!" Yes, it was the entry of the hijra a.k.a chhakka.

The image is used for representational purposes only.
Usually my father lunges to the bathroom to escape, no matter how dirty they are. But this time he was asleep. And sleep is no shield against the hijras. 

The hijra reached our places. I pretended to sleep like a dolphin with one eye open.

The hijra grabbed my father and shook him up. He/She (limitations of language) was drunk and my father was scared. He/She declared, "Paisa nikalo nahi toh utha doonga."

But my father refused to pay. The other men in the compartment to retaliated, so the hijra grabbed the Cool Keg kept near by and tried to escape.

Since he/she didn't lift(?), my father got some courage and he screamed, "Arre, yeh naqli hai, naqli! Pakdo Pakdo!"

Somehow the call of 'Pakdo Pakdo' (alternative 'Chor Chor') stirs up some spirit in Indian men and they start running towards the direction where everyone is running.

Coming back, all the men ran after he/she to catch him. But he/she was lucky. The train had started moving. But surprisingly he/she kept the Cool Keg at the door of the next bogie which was found some 15 minutes later.

Even after this incident, my father still runs to the bathroom to escape from the hijras, no matter how dirty the bathroom is!
-Shefali Menezes