Monday, June 29, 2009

An Unforgettable Journey to Kochi

From ancient to modern world we saw a lot of travel documents. People crossing the geographical difficulties to reach, to know, to see the new world. We can see this phenomenon all over the world, even now tourism is a major business. I think every journey to the new places are unforgettable; mine too was in terms of places and experiences. As usual I started it one morning [3.40am] enjoying the fresh air; but the starting was completely silent. Birds are yet to woke up and people are in their great sleep.

Rains are absent for some days because of that current cut come back; now its scheduled for half an hour in the night, I think its good for all. Now a days people are moving away from one another in an alarming rate . So this time may give them good times to share their feelings. That night was very cool and rains were back. June to december is the time of monsoon in Kerala, its a refreshing time for both the nature and the people as its come after the great summers but now even in the ebb of monsoon rains become a rare phenomenon, may be it indicates the changing climate; if everything goes on this way, then will we have enough water on the future? Rains plays a vital role in Kerala economy too as the major source for electricity in Kerala is from the hydro power.

I started my journey in my friends bike to Mannarkkad, I like the journey's in bikes because it will always give you the freedom to go smoothly even if the road is very narrow, moreover winds coming to your face and we can look where ever we want, then on the state owned KSRTC to Palakkad. I was the first to get in and took the first seat, iam very happy to to sat in that side seat. Bus journeys are the popular transportation methods in Kerala.

Traffic was not high on the highway, Tanker lorries and other lorries are slowly moving to their destination. Morning have some one hour to gone and beacon lights of mobile towers adds some beauty to the night, mobile towers are now the characteristic in Kerala, where ever you go you can saw a tower, it really revolutionalized the Indian society. Now in Kerala the density of mobile phones are coming close to one phone per person. I think people spoke more in mobile phones than in real life!

I reached Palakkad Jn Railway station on 5.55am; Palakkad is the divisional head quarters of Indian Railway; there are two railways stations some km away from one another, One is called Palakkad Town and another is called Palakkad Junction locally called Olavacode railway station. I went to the counter and bought the General class ticket to Ernankulam Town station. I met one of my friend on the station, he was on his journey to Guruvayoor, its the first time i met him, as far as then we met through net and mobile only. The railway official in the counter said to me that Kerala Express will arrive on Platform number 2. But some time later Bangalore- Kanyakumari arrived on platform 1 and in order to reach there early i entered in to that train. But later Kerala Express overtook us in another station.

Its difficult to spend time for me in that journey as i am traveling alone. Rivers on the way are full with water and the aircrafts are looking towards the sky to fly in the Cochin International Airport. Any way I reached Ernankulam at 10am and now i have to find out the NSR office, up to this time everything was ok; I heared that NSR building is near to High court. Its new places and I thought that its better to walk as I have enough time and started to walk towards it. But i lost my route, and because of it I retraced my path, and then went through the bus route[not in bus] and after some time i reached high court, but i cant saw that building but saw many other offices. Even after walking so much through roads i didn't saw the building. what to do now? where is this building? Rains are started again and i am walking through all this way without an umbrella! If I took an umbrella then i should forgot it somewhere thats why i never use it if possible.

After some time I called one of my friend and asked about the place and she gave me proper direction to reach there, but it was a junction moreover traffic was heavy and in addition to the troubles my mobile mobile battery declared strike against me for not giving him enough food[current], but actually it was his problem he dont know the amount of food he needed as it shows battery full suddenly. Now i started to look for a pay phone[as it cant declare strike against me] and at last i found some phones in the opposite end. Anyway i made a last chance on my mobile. Switched on its once again, anyway some time later her father identified me and thus i reached the NSR office. As my friend completed the registration procedure early in the morning she and her father went back to home and I am started to wait for my number.

At last my number arrived, i went to the counter, for ID proof I have Voters ID card, SSLC [Secondary School Leaving Certificate] and all other academic certificates I got thus far. But here the problem was about something else. In most of the agencies initials are not accepted, they want the expanded form, and in Voters ID initials are not printed, so voters ID didn't accepted as an ID proof, SSLC certificate was not in their list so it too. As far I know in most of the Government offices in India, they need two types of ID proofs. One to Verify the name, for this we required a certificate which contain full name and photo, and the second is for Address proof - a proof which contains your name and address.

As the ID proof I have to submit Passport, Driving License, PAN card, Bank Passbook, Voter's ID, College ID [Not more than one year old]. I didnt have passport, PAN card and driving license at that time; i forgot to take my bank passbook and College ID[but my college ID was 3 year old]. I still didn't know why government provides so much documents as ID cards? why they cant provide a single document whose validity cant be challenged. If it contain all the details and datas regarding to finger prints and retina scans, then there shouldn't be any need for more ID cards. I didnt find a way and come back to road; If i have to register then i have to come back to home and then went there again, but again that long trip? no.. I just stood there and think about it for some time. the only possible solution is the creation of some ID card but which one? As i cant create Passport, Driving License, PAN card, college ID in a single day, the only way still opened for me is the creation of a new bank passbook.

I will strongly recommend you to apply for all ID cards issued by Goverment of India- if you are an Indian citizen- don't think about the necessity of it, because all the ID cards supplied by GOI will be necessary in the life for a long run.

So now i have to create a bank account, but for it I need the signature of a person who have already an account in that bank and minimum balance of 500Rs, minimum balance may be different for different banks; In SBI [State Bank of India] at that time it was 500 Rs for savings bank account. so if I got both then there is a chance, but i am running short on cash and didn't know anyone who have an account in SBI and now staying in Kochi. I didnt except these problems and have to pay 337Rs in NSR office for registration, at this time i have exact money with me, so any extra payments will rise a serious threat towards the money i have to pay for my return trip.
Now what to do to get that 500Rs and signature of the introducer. As my mobile call back the strike for some time- I now use the last of my battery- for talks, I wrote down some contact numbers in the back side of my Railway ticket. now where i can saw a SBI branch; In fact I decided to start my new account on SBI. so went in search for a branch. I walked in the direction of town railway station but after hearing from someone that SBI branch is on Broadway, I retraced my route, and went to broadway. After some time i reached the regional office, then went to the branch office near to it. At last I got that form for savings bank account.

Then came back to road for completing the next requirements- introducer's signature and 500Rs. Some of my friends are studying in CUSAT [Cochin University of Science and Technology], and i guessed that they may have an account in SBI, as they were staying in hostels and usually all the cash transactions will be through ATM's. but where is this University? I know its in Kochi but how to reach there? I applied my usual method; asked about it to the first one i saw. Yesterday one of my friend asked me to come in the University she said that they will be free after lunch, but at that time i thought that i will be in train for return trip and if i stayed that long in the city then it should be difficult to get the last bus to home. But now everything changed its now become my necessity. A kind person told me that i have to go to the Kalamasseri route, so i got in the bus bus for Kalamasseri.

All the intercity buses in the city are painted with red color, so its easy to identify it. Any way iam now going to University, I asked the conductor to inform me about the stop in time. Bus continued her journey through her way but most of the way was new to me. Because of my mistake i went out of the bus one stop before the actual stop. Now what to do? I have a long way to walk. The road is very good and decorated with street lights but i have to walk all that way! So i started walking, after some time i met a person who was about to go and he offered me a lift up to University stop, i walked the rest of the way to the university.
Any way I reached there and met two of my friends; but both of them didnt have an account in SBI ! but my friends room mate have one and she signed in the form and i went back to SBI. I also borrowed 500 Rs from her as i am running out of cash. Iam very thankful to both for helping me otherwise more and more difficulties will be on my way.

Now i took the next bus and went to SBI office and completed all the formalities in submitting an application form. but they said to me that i cant open an account on that day. I have to wait for the safe passage of night. But what to do in night? I did all these to avoid an extra journey now i have to wait one night in the city. But te question is where? where can I stay? As Iam running short on cash renting a room for a night is beyond my imagination.

Now two options are available before me, one to spend the night on railway station or with any of my friends, but the problem with friends is that their mobile number is not with me- as my mobile again start an indefinite strike up to the time i gave him food- and i don't know how to reach their rooms. But one of my friends number was with me [I wrote it in my railway ticket before my phone switched off], i called him, he was there and asked me to come to Kalamasseri, now have to go through the same route for University but have to go further from there. If i didn't got him i fixed that i will stay in the Ernankulam Town Railway station. Anyway i reached his room in that evening.

In that night we went to the nearby hotel for dinner, it was a beautiful night, and rain too took some rest. We walked through the roads of Kalamasseri, traffic was still there lorries and other vehicles are eager to reach there destinations.As usual i slept in the late night. In the next morning after breakfast I went back to bank and completed the remaining procedures- now i got the passbook. i too got an account in the largest bank of India- The State Bank of India. State Bank Group is the largest banking group in India, over some 15000 branches. Any way that passbook with photo was enough proof for NSR. I started walk back, through the broadway, before the Menaka Boat Jetty and before the huge buildings at last i reached the NSR office and registered my name there, and paid the 337 Rs in cash.

Now I can go back to home as the process completed. I started to walk towards Ernankulam Town Railway station, There was a long queue before the counter and i too joined in that ocean of people, the queue is moving forward and at last got the ticket before the train came. As i am in General compartment ran towards and boardered in the Kanyakumari- Mumbai CST and went back to Palakkad Jn and then retraced the route to home.

Anyway i will advice you that apply for every government ID cards that are applicable to you, it will help you in the future; even if it didn't you will not lose anything... And my request to Government is that stop providing a lot of ID cards, just one for everything; which will include all the data and information regarding to retina scans and finger prints so that it wont possible to make the fake....


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