With a heavy heart, I was heading to Aligarh in a hope to get some peace. Actually, peace is something divine above all pains and pleasures, so was what I was looking for right then.
A Wrong Train
I was at Kanpur station to board Gaumti Express. I boarded a sleeper compartment with a general ticket. In few minutes, the train started and gained some speed. The outside view of unfamiliar buildings was shocking me. I was totally clueless at this time. So, I asked one person, “Bhaiya Dilli na (Bro! this train is heading to Delhi, right?)”. He replied with a nod. I sighed a relief. But after five-ten minutes, my doubts clouded again as I was not seeing anything familiar outside. I had been in Gaumti Express every time I was returning to Aligarh from Kanpur. But this time, there was something wrong either with me or with the train. It was not wrong to say that I was out of my senses because of yesterday’s tragic scene but not too much to differentiate between a wrong train and a right train. After clearing my doubt with another person, I was confirmed that I had boarded a wrong train. Actually, at same platform, there was another train (Riva Express) before the actual arrival of Gaumti Express. Gaumti Express might have been little late that day. I had boarded Riva Express instead of Gaumti Express. I could just say very deeply to myself and my heart, “F*** man!!!”. And, it was a super fast train to Allahabad. It was 180 degree opposite to what I should have boarded. Instead of heading to Delhi, I was moving away from it. I also consoled myself about that first man who told me that the train was moving to Delhi. He might have taken me wrong as if I were asking, “Is this train coming from Delhi”; to which he replied, “Yeah, Delhi”.
I asked TT to pull over the chain but he raged at me and said loudly, “Kid, first you don’t even have a valid ticket for the train you have boarded and, second, in your heaven, you’re thinking that you can pull over the train. If you do so, I will fine you very hard and further hand over you to RPF cops. So, don’t even think of that shit”. But after some time, somehow his cruel heart melted and he extended some helping gesture to me. He gave me a suggestion, “Get off this train at Fatehpur outer where it usually stops because of chain pulling. And there you can get plenty of trains to Delhi every two to three hours”. I did follow him. From Fatehpur outer to Fatehpur station, I walked for a mile on the railway track and ran for extra few hundred meters in a hope to catch a train already standing at the station. Phew, I narrowly missed it even after sweating a lot. Sometimes, circumstances hit you hard when you badly ask for a favor. So happened to me too. Now, I had nothing to do for 2-3 hours. A good thing about Fathepur station was tasty onion pakoda. My hunger and slurping tongue forced me to concentrate on food rather than on my pathetic situation.
Rahu and Ketu
I had already conveyed my mother about my arrival to Aligarh. I also told her that I had boarded the train. But, now how could I tell her that I boarded the wrong train. She could not accept that her well qualified and to be engineer son could do this on earth. Now, I had to cook a story for her and convince her that I would be late today. While thinking all this, I boarded again a sleeper compartment in a new train. Rahu, Ketu and all bad grah and nakshatras (All the stars) were heavy on me. Once again TT came and I had to bear those routine bullshit words. Apart from that he also took all the money that was left in my wallet (in college days, I used to have only few hundred bucks to spend all through a week). For TT, I was a bumper offer as I was traveling without a ticket. After giving a huge fine, I got a confirmed birth to relax and chill, although it was a shared one. Without cooking any story, I just called Mom and told her, “I don’t know Mom what has happened to Gaumti Express today, it’s running very slow, it just crossed the next station Panki in all long three hours”. She soothed my mind and asked, “Beta, have you eaten something?” What could I have replied guys, “Yes, tasty onion Pakoda :D”.
I reached my home at 6 in the evening instead of 12.30, the arrival time of Gaumti Express. My parents were so worried, especially my mom. On seeing me, they took a sigh of relief. And, a hug from my mom made me emotional. I would have cried. But that day I got to know, ” I am also good at acting “. Although, my father gave me a suspicious look. He didn’t say anything at that moment. He threw questions during dinner as if he was interrogating a petty criminal. A common sense question, “I haven’t heard Gaumti for being late for more than two to three hours, and this is also not a festive season, so how come today is it too late?” Before I could say anything. My father added, “I am updated on news since morning. I haven’t heard of any major track blocks or accidents.” My mother rescued me and said to Papa, “Let him eat and take rest today. Doesn’t my Lal (son) look so tired?”. Mother is always a boon gifted to a son on this earth. She always rescues her son from an interrogating father. Either she knows or not, her son is always right and she can really fight for him. This moment is always a moment to cherish for and I can call it a fulfillment to the pursuit of happiness I am looking forward.