“The Fast local for Kalyan is scheduled to arrive at the platform at 8:50 pm.
Kalyan jaane waali fast local platform me Aath Bajkar Pacchas minute pe aayegi”
The incoming train brought with it a gust of wind and multitudes of people falling out carriages who then terminated the inertia they had attained by ricocheting with the people standing on the platform. I threw my one free hand in front of me in a Spartan Defensive move and hurled myself headfirst into the jostling, marauding, screaming, abusive, unruly mob as soon as the train came to a halt.
The bag I gave my priority in pilfering into the coach first. Some hand came and punched my nose.
I gave the bag a downward push, and felt satisfied upon hearing a muffled yowl erupt in pain.
I realised in was in the compartment. And someone was enquiring where it was exactly that I intended to dismount, while taking extreme care to penetrate my ear drums not unlike the shrill, jarring cacophony of an electric saw.
I replied Kalyan, taking extreme care to return the favour in kind, but am not sure of the degree of harm I had done to his eardrums as he seemed unperturbed. Damn. Situations like these make me hate the presence of the mellifluousness in my voice.
Five people in my vicinity ushered me back inside the train, all the time chanting that Kalyan was last in the line, which added to the imbroglio brewing in my mind all the more. I asked someone close by to give me an approximate duration of the trip.
What he said next spelt apparent doom in capital letters.
Somewhat like this.
“About 40-50 minutes…”
My mind blanked out as I struggled to come to terms with this information. I glanced at my watch.
7:56 pm ...
I could do nothing.
A deluge of despair engulfed me. Someone had just vacated their seat, and I grabbed it before anyone else could, requesting a boy who had been eyeing this particular seat for the last 5 minutes standing nearby to haul my bag upon the luggage shelf of the train. He complied while shooting me filthy looks out of his crow’s feet.
The suffocation inside the jam-packed train was rendering it all the more difficult to think in a sane way, or to think at all. My mind was now a cauldron full of hot, simmering, frothing oil, and each bubble on bursting spoke an abuse directed at the idiotic Mistri. I prayed to the Almighty above to somehow delay the train. Here was where I learnt the third one.
Lesson in Life no. 3:- Never hope for the seemingly impossible.
“Hello, Mummy? Mera…umm… train miss ho gaya…to…err…ab kya karu?”
“Catch the earliest flight and come home.”
About 9.30 maybe…
“IIT jayega?” I asked the 5th Autowallah in the line, and sighed in relief when he nodded his head in acquiescence.
Below is a translated version of the actual conversation that happened.
“You looked as if you needed to go to the Domestic Airport.” Said he.
“Well, no. Might need to go there in a couple of days though.”
And then I learnt the fourth one.
Lesson in Life no. 4:- Never tell an Autowallah that you have just missed a train.
I missed my train.”
“Where were you going?”
“Nagpur. Via Vidarbha Express.”
“Where did you go? CST?”
“How do you feel now?”
“And Guilty?”, his voice achieving a scornful tenor.
“Of course you don’t feel an iota of it. That is the whole problem with today’s generation. With your parent’s hard earned money you must have bought that railway ticket and then you went ahead and missed it.”
“Wha…? I… ahhh…”
“I had a nephew once. His sister gave him her passport and some important documents and told him to keep it safely. He went ahead and lost it. And then he says sorry. You all say sorry. But do you really feel it from within?”
All I felt within at that moment was a complete inability to mouth any word.
“And now you will go through plane. More money will be gone.”
“The train ticket didn’t cost anything. My mom’s a Railway employee. She gets passes for me. Free of cost. “
“See, that is what I am talking about. You will argue but you won’t admit that you did the wrong thing. You should have left earlier to reach the station earlier, and you didn’t.”
“I did. I couldn’t because I couldn’t get an Auto in front of the Insti…”
“Exactly the way my nephew argued with me.”
I glanced at the rear view mirror to check if any facial feature of mine even remotely signified that I gave the tiniest bit of a wretched rat’s arse about this blighted nephew of his. No, there wasn’t any.
He continued jabbering away to glory as we entered the gates. I never opened my mouth other than to agree meekly to his musings. The topic turned to how coolly the couples in the institute roamed about to if I had any girlfriend to how difficult it was to get a girlfriend inside this institute as it had no girls worth hooking up with to how irreverent a soul I was to actually think of girls that way.
He dropped me in front of Hostel 4 and robbed me off an extra 5 rupee coin.