Fellow traveller(FT): Is this station, Goa?
Me: Yes, this is the start of Goa. Where do you want to go?
FT: I want to go to. Wait…
he began to search in the front pouch of his back pack.
Me: Margao? I asked.
FT too some paper and said. "Yes, yes"
Me: It is the next station. Thanks to the application "Rail Time" in my "smart phone" I was up to date of the stations the train plies to.
His English was not that much fluent (as if mine is fluent) and so I asked from where he was from.
Me: Where are you from?
He seem to have mistook my question and he said.
FT: I roaming around India. 2 months.
Me: Oh, great. But where are you coming from?
The train passing through the tunnels reverberated the sounds and it was difficult for both of us to hear. It was a tunnel some 1 minute long. So there was silence for about 1 minute or so.
Me: Where are you coming from?
FT: I am from Poland.
Me: Oh Poland, great. So how long have you been in India?
FT: 2 months. It is snow in Poland. So I came for a vacation of 2 months. I started my journey on (I guess?).
Me: Ok. Where all you went?
FT: I went to Kashmir, then to Nepal, from there to Kolkata, then to Huri.
Me: Huli, what?
FT: Huli, Kuli, wait…
He again took another booklet. It was a big India map. showed me some place below Kolkata.
Me: Oh, Orissa?
FT: Oh sorry, Puri.
Me: Oh, ok got it.
FT: Then to Konark, this place.
He started to show me the way he travelled.
FT: Vishakapatnam - Chennai - Kannyakumari - Trivandrum - Cochin
Me: Wow. Good good.
FT: and now train to Goa.
Me: Oh you boarded this train from Ernakulam?
Now I remember seeing this guy the previous night, under dim light. At that time I thought he was some North Indian guy, thanks to his 6ft height and white skin (:P).
Me: I am from a place some 45 kms from Ernakulam.
FT: Oh, nice.
Me: By the way, what is your name?
FT: I am Andrez.
Me: I am Sridhar.
We shook hands.
Andrez: Just let me know when it reaches Margao.
Me: Sure. It is the next station. Where all you are planning to go in Goa?
Thanks to the 5 day Goa visit, just a month before, I was somewhat good at identifying places in Goa. Andrez again searched for some paper and took an old train ticket, in which it was written "Calangute Beach", "Baga Beach", "Aguada Fort".
I found all these are in North Goa.
Me: Oh all these are in North Goa. You will have to go to Panaji from Margao.
Andrez: Oh ok.
Me: So where are you from Poland? Warsaw? I asked him the only place I know in Poland.
Andrez: No. It is a place called Zakopane.
Me: Oh ok.
Me: And what do you do there?
Andrez: I make leather jackets, in there.
Me: Oh Ok.
So you went to Kashmir. Where. Ladakh?
Andrez began to be vocal again. I found him to be a like minded person, thanks to his passion in travelling that too alone.
Andrez: Yes. I went to Leh, then from there to Delhi, then to Nepal.
Showed a few places in Nepal in his map and from there to Kolkata.
Andrez: Yes. Kolkata. Mother Theresa's place. You know Mother Theresa?
Me: yes, oh to Missionaries of Charity?
Andrez: Yes. Kolkata is a nice place. Then to Puri. then…
Again took another book. It was India tourist Guide. Showed me the temple and the Chakras of the Sun Temple.
Me: Oh, Konark.
Andrez: Yes. Beautiful place it is.
Me: It truly is. I have also been once.
Andrez: Train is really nice in here.
Me: Yes, it is comfortable.
Andrez: For me from Kolkata to Puri, it took 28 hours.
He began to show the route once again in his map.
Me: Yes Bus travel is tedious.
Andrez: Also the roads were not good.
Me: Yes, yes. That is also a problem.
Andrez: From then only trains. Trains are good.
Me: So where all went in Kerala?
Andrez: I went in the boat. to…
Me: Oh, Fort Cochin, Mattancherry.
Andrez: Yes, yes. Then to beach.
By now I understood that he is a beach freak, different from my interests.
Me: In Goa, you can try going to Dudhsagar waterfalls. It is good.
Andrez: Ok. (Didn't seem interested)
Me: So where all you have been other than India?
Andrez: Oh me, China, Thailand, Malaysia.
Me: Oh great. So how is China? Went to Great Wall?
Andrez: Yes. Yes.
He began to be vocal about China.
Andrez: China is progressing, faster. Developing. Even USA knows it… India is not that developed.
Me: Yes we are still a developing nation.
Andrez: India has good resources. Farms, Fish….
He began to be vocal about fishes, now.
So many types of fishes you have. Delicious. Many are exported. India needs to export more. It has started now. Saw a news last week.
Me: Thought "Oh these development maniacs"
He was referring some US- Indo pact on export, which happened recently. I was not aware or interested in it. So tried to change the topic.
Me: Oh Ok. So this is your first visit to India?
Andrez: No, second. I have been to Mumbai.
Me: Oh. ok I am going in there.
Andrez: Oh ok, What do you do there?
Me: Oh me, I am studying.
Andrez: Oh great. India need intelligent people like you.
Me: Just smiled , thinking ("Oh.. thank you thank you . There are many in here sir.")
Andrez: Mumbai is crowded. I like places where there are less people.
Me: Oh ok.
Me: So you go to beaches mainly?
Andrez: Yes, I come from mountains.
Me: Oh your place is near mountains, in Poland?
Andrez: Yes. I like to go there in beaches and just lie down.
Me: Oh great. So in Goa, how many days?
Andrez: 10 days.
Me: Oh great. So after that when returning?
Me: From Mumbai?
Andrez: No from New Delhi.
Me: Oh ok.
Me: You are there in Facebook?(Oh me, the Facebook addict)
Andrez: What, face??
Me: Oh leave it, give your mail id.
Andrez: Oh mail id…
He took a book from me and wrote his mail id in English with a bit difficulty.
he wrote something else too below it.
Andrez: This is my address, he showed me his address too which he had written below.
Me: Oh thanks Andrez.
Meanwhile one vendor was carrying "pazhamporis".
Andrez: What are these?
Me: Oh those are pazhamporis, roasted bananas.
Andrez: Oh, they taste good?
Me: Yes, yes. You can try it out.
He bought 4 of them for 40 Rs.
Andrez: Have it.
Me: No thank you.
He again insisted to take one from it. So I took a piece of it.
Andrez: Oh they make this from bananas.
Me: Yes, using ripe bananas.
Andrez: Delicious. For 40 Rs, it is cheap. Good.
Me: Yes it is nice.
He again offered me pazhampori.
I politely refused
Me: You have it. I just now had break fast.
Andrez: Food is delicious in here. Fishes, meat, seafood. But most are vegetarians in here. I guess about 80% of them.
Me: not that much, may be 30-40%
Andrez: Oh ok.
Me: I myself am a vegetarian.
Andrez: Oh. (he smiled)
He was done with the pazhamporis and he promptly put the wastes in a cover he had kept beneath his seat. The fellow desi passengers who had also bought pazhamporis had just thrown away the wastes throughout the window.
Andrez saw a magazine lying besides me.
Andrez: what is it? Is it National Geographic Magazine?
Me: Oh that is local environmental magazine. "Koodu" .
Andrez: Oh local National Geographic magazine.
Me: yes kind of…
He went throughout the pictures in the magazine, which had articles related to Organic farming, Silent Valley, Eravikulam etc…
He saw one photo and asked me:
Andrez: What is this?
Me: Oh that is jackfruit.
Andrez: Oh it is a fruit.
Me: Yes. You can see it even in here, on the way.
Andrez: Oh, it tastes good?
Me: Yes, it is good.
He was in awe on seeing the Simhavalan Kurangu(Lion tailed macaque) in one of the pages.
Andrez: Oh these monkeys. They are dangerous. There were plenty when I went to Nepal.
Me: Oh.. But these are some endemic species present only in these parts. Endangered ones.
Andrez: Yes, dangerous ones.
Me: No, Endangered one.
Andrez: Oh ok…
Again some silence amongst us as we were passing another tunnel.
Me: So to go to the beaches, you will have to go to Panaji from Margao and then from there you can go to Calangute, Baga and Aguada. So where will you stay there?
Andrez: i will go to some tour planners.
Me: Oh ok. Do try to go to Dudhsagar.
Andrez: Ok, I will try.
Me: Give a paper, i will write how to go there.
Andrez gave me a piece of paper, in which I wrote the way to go to Dudhsagar waterfalls.
Soon margao station reached.
Andrez: Oh this is the station?
Me: yes, you need to get down here.
Andrez: Oh thank you.
He took his back pack and was about to leave.
Me: Bye bye, Andrez. Nice talking to you.
Andrez: Thanks to you too.
Me: You can get buses to Panaji from outside the railway station.
Andrez: Oh sure, I will do that.
Andrez: Oh forgot… can you get me that cover lying below. The cover with wastes.
Me: Sure Andrez.
I gave him the cover with wastes, which was almost full and waved bye bye to him.