I was staring earnestly at the laptop screen on Monday morning (OK, am lying. I was gossiping with my teammates) when office admin opened our team room door and entered with a security guard.
“Surbhi, there is a courier for you”- handling me a Ebay packed of the size of two Dominos garlic bread boxes stacked vertically. “Umm… OK. What is it?” and I signed without waiting for an answer.
From: KS, New Delhi. The parcel read. The only person I know named KS is an insti junior with whom I worked for a writing project 3 years ago. Not really close or in regular touch, but someone who is capable of throwing a surprise out of the blue.
By now, my teammates were more intrigued than me. There started the guessing game, and I made the mistake of mentioning about the junior. “OMG! You have such stud juniors.” “But wait, he cannot be having this address. This being a new office, very few people have this address. I have given it only to my brother I think.”
The description read: “7 LED display…” This looks like some controls item.
LG: “Show me the address. H (another colleague) has asked for the address and I wrote it exactly like this.”
Me: “Oh, may be it’s for her, delivered in my name. Oh, the vendor xyz in Delhi is called KS.”
I had to look around for a cutter and then keys to be able to open the strong packing by Ebay. Finally, I managed to open it. All this while, I was trying to recollect who all have my address. A total of 3 people have it.
After removing the layers of packing, out came a nice table clock. Yay. Something that I indeed needed.
I was told a few days ago not to check my phone in middle of the night and my excuse was that I need to check time and I do not have a table clock. Also, a month ago, I had locked my phone inside a room (this should go in Hyderabad diaries series) and had to rely on laptop to wake up next morning.
Well… this made my day… although I might complain when that alarm goes off tomorrow morning. My teammates weren’t exactly happy though. Guess I should act as a secret Santa for them sometime.
Just in case you are still thinking about KS, that was just the name of the Ebay seller.
An email popped up in my inbox in 2nd half of the day: 30th April will be holiday due to elections in Andhra Pradesh. Interesting! 1st May is off. Taking 2nd off, I can have a 5 days break. Let’s see what I can do in these 5 days.
First thought: Visit home. Check train options.
I jumped onto Indian Railways website and checked train options from Hyderabad. There is a train from Hyd on Tuesday and a return train on Sunday. Perfect. Leave around 11 pm on Tuesday, reach home on Wednesday around 8 pm (18 hours train, 2.5 hours by road). Spend Thursday, Friday, Saturday at home. Start around midday on Sunday and reach Hyd at 9 am on Monday morning.
30 waitlist for both sides. Not bad. High chances of it getting cleared. Else, I will try for a tatkal ticket a day before.
Called up Mom. Told her the plan real quick. All she understood was that I will take the train, I will take 1 day off and I will spend 3 days at home. And that she should not tell anyone right now, especially not Gran Ma. Surprise after all. I was grinning wide after the call.
Jumped to IRCTC website immediately. Entered all details and reached the booking page. Departure time. Arrival time. Travel duration.
Travel duration: 41.5 hours.
This looks like 18+24.
The train takes a day extra vs what I had thought.
Of course that makes sense. After all, it is 1600 kms distance on a not-the-fastest-Indian train that we are talking about here. Suddenly, a lot of things made sense. A colleague was wondering aloud how come train option for him is taking more than 30 hours and for me so less when our homes are in similar range of distance. I was crestfallen. The 5 minutes were super exciting. I was just short of preparing a to-eat-at-home mental list.
Simply wrote an email to Mom telling how I had goofed up and that I’ll visit a month later. But I want to go home in 1.5 weeks and not a month later.
Am yet to work on an alternate plan for the long weekend.