Fellow Passengers – A Journey on Royal Orient
Collin and Rosemary from UK
Chandra Kanta Gariyali, IAS Mr. Collin is the President of British Travel agents association, and an ardent traveller who is quite involved with India. He was a guest of the Government of India and was on his third visit to India. A leading travel agent of Britain, he was keenly observing all the travel-related activities around him and was evaluating the services and facilities.
His companion, Rosemary, a lady of Swedish origin, was settled in London for long and worked for a European Bank that was mainly involved in helping the reconstruction process of East European countries. The Bank is currently funding both the government and the individual initiative projects in these countries. She is also widely traveled and has lived in Italy for long time. Rosemary was a very sensitive human being always willing to appreciate goodness, which came her way. She was frank and open, warm and friendly.
Professor Orleyeg and Merlyn – the Romantic Couple from USA
Prof. Orleyeg, an American of Russian origin (still wears a ring that the last Tzar gave to his grand father), is the Emeritus Professor in the University of Strandford, in California. A renowned Professor, who has his students spread in every corner of the world and has been much honoured for writing more than 300 books, publications papers and abstracts, in the field of Metallurgy (now called Material Science). Currently he is working as a Consultant in Spain. He has special interest in old swords and daggers and other metal weapons specially made in Damascus. He was philosophic, human, friendly, warm, active, alert and fully enjoying life at seventy-two. He was always awarding an A+ to anybody, who did or said anything nice, just like a professor. He had four sons and had lost his first wife to whom he had been very much attached.
He had later met Merlyn, a beautiful glamorous woman of about sixty, to whom he showed great love, affection and consideration. He used to introduce her as ‘Merlyn’ same as ‘Munroe’. They made an ‘envious pair’ in love, and were a shining example of how love can be timeless and ageless. In fact, both of them are currently writing on
a book on ‘Love and Courtship after fifties’. A lot of interest was generated on the train because of this book and everybody was making suggestions towards this epic work.
Merlyn had also lost her first husband who was a Persian doctor and a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She had spent 19 years with him, in Tehran, working as a nurse in an American hospital. She had seen the best of times and enjoyed freedom and liberated way of life till the revolution took over Iran. Things went from bad to worse for her, as her mother and husband died one after the other leaving her alone with her daughter. She had to migrate back to U.S.A, in a hurry, leaving everything behind.
Her husband’s relatives usurped all her husband’s properties leaving nothing for her and her daughter Laila. She fought legal battles in five Islamic courts to regain the control of her legitimate properties, while bringing up her teenager daughter all by herself. Now she is retired and has started a new life with Professor Orleyeg with whom she is looking forward to writing a book about the sum total of their coming together and being together. They wish to give hope to the aging generations to look forward to something more in life. For having undergone so much suffering in life, she is an enormously happy person. She dresses very well, is fond of make-up, clothes, jewelry and whatever else women like. She is full of life. Talks openly and loudly like a typical American, enjoys her food and drink and has a great jest for life.
Prasad and Rani – Civil Servant and Wife
Prasad was a young officer of the Indian Administrative Service, who worked for the Tourism Department of Uttar Pradesh. For him this visit was both work and enjoyment and had brought his young and beautiful wife for company. He came from a middle class family of U.P. and he was very sharp, intelligent and articulate. He appeared to be a dedicated and hardworking officer with a great deal of involvement in the tasks at hand. He was at the same time jolly and happy, enjoyed life and its good things and was full of humour and jokes. Willing to speak on any subject, he was all the time correcting the tourist guides for the bloomers they were making. Being newly married he was still in a romantic frame at mind and was trying to learn a thing or two from Professor Orlyeg about love. He was also whole-heartedly contributing to the ‘love book project’ of the professor.
Rani, married a couple of years ago was still young and fresh. An ethnic beauty from U.P. she was a housewife with a MBA degree that she hoped to use some day by going out to work. She was very much in love with her husband and was generally reserved and subtle and yet managed to have her way with Prasad. Though not a great conversationalist like Prasad, she was a very pleasant person with a soft and smiling face and starry eyes. She was quite and determined and had a mind of her own. Both she and Prasad spent lot of their time on train, naturally with each other, either reading or watching films. We felt she was happy to have her busy officer husband in her captivity, at least for a week and was very possessive of those cherished moments. She also managed to steal an evening with her husband, while ditching the regular programme, eating and shopping on the pavements of Ahmedabad.
Archana & Jewela – Bombay Girls
We were also having the enchanting company of a young and vibrant duo, Archana and Jewela, one a photographer and the other a journalist. They were the trendy girls from the field of Media and worked for a Bombay-based magazine, which is on the Internet. They were covering the journey for their magazine. Jewela is a very dedicated photographer and nothing else mattered to her but catching the best moments of journey in her camera. She was a prototype of a typical Bombay Catholic Girl and possessed all the smartness, sincerity and intelligence they normally have. Archana is just becoming a Bombayite. She is from Chapra in Bihar and has a Master’s degree in communication. She is still wide eyed and needs to be told what to buy and what not to buy. She does the writing part while Jewela does the photography. Both the girls were full of life and fun and it was very good to have them around. The seven days spent in the company of these beautiful people were really unforgettable. There were discussions and arguments, jokes and story sessions and much sharing of joys and sorrows on this journey which made us realise that under the surface all human beings are the same.
Mr and Mrs Shah, Indo-Canadians
We also became friends with an elderly couple of Gujrati descent from Vancouver in Canada. They had come in search of their roots and to experience the culture of Gujrat. Mr. Shah had left India forty year ago. He was a self-made man and a typical prototype of an elder generation Indian migrant to Canada or USA. Starting with a petty job in a shop, he had risen to be a merchant and trader of standing in Vancouver.
He had five sons, all married to ethnis Gujrati girls; and about twelve grand children, still living in a joint family home in down town Vancouver. Realising that things may not be same after they pass away, he has purchased a house each for all his children. They were vegetarian and teatottalers. However Shah did sneak out in Dieu to have a drink with my husband without the knowledge of his wife, while I kept her busy in some shopping. We enormously liked the couple who were trying very hard to hold on to Indian values in an alien land. They were specially looking forward to visit the Jain temples in Palitana. After living for forty years in Canada and becoming Canadian citizens, they still loved India very much.