Train to Allahabad

Do you like surprises….?????

Lets say, The most looked forward train trip turns out to be in AC 3 Tier ! instead of AC-1 and the departure time gets shuffled by twelve hours before. And unlike fast trains like Rajdhani, kisses each platform of the station falling on the way…. This is the story called, ” train to Allahabad”.

Feb 22nd, Evening 21:00 hrs.

My husband asked,” Minie what time is the train”,  tomorrow in the evening at nine I retorted. Tomorrow i have the entire day to pack don’t worry. Did you checked the tickets, I replied, off-course!!. Husband and wife never miss any chance to tick each other and, this time he got the triumph flag. He returned with the full swing of blow in his voice, ” Drat!!!! it is not the evening, its tomorrow morning !! 9:00″ , So which makes almost 24 hours to reach Allahabad. Within few minutes I could foresee myself travelling with the super charged boy, running in the coach from one door to the other, addressing Bhaiya!! to the staff, demanding to eat things which are not available and Pee after every two hours to empty the juices and cold drinks out of his bladder. All my senses could feel the jitters now!! The expected Panic Attack, was already on its way. No!! no!!!! no this can not happen, why didn’t you checked, I wont go by this train. And which train is this?? ” UdyanabhaTufaan Express” came the response. The best rule to deal with your woman is,” when she is beyond your control, is simply give up” the tsunami of her rage will cool down. He said, will cancel the tickets, ” but its my brothers engagement”!!!! I cried.

He came up with another news,”there is no Pantry”. The last jolt pressed the panic button, ” howling, crying, whining till I got drained out”. With lot of family melodrama, We chose to travel.” The packing was a fast forward action with the required things shoved inside the bags. The yellow taxi made us reach the bee hive of Kolkata railway station in no time. The train came and here we were inside the coach. The air conditioner’s cool air, gave a little sigh of relief. My better half exchanged a glimpse of satisfaction, with no idea what was coming next….

A hand reached me with some idol picture on it, the same hand extended the same picture to the other co-passengers.I looked at the man for a few seconds who was sitting next to me. The man wore thick glasses, thick stripes, thick strap of watch and rings of stone highlighting the thick fingers. The leather sandals too were of thick black stripes. This man, had some difficulty in speech, i realized it was the tobacco and saliva having a tug of war inside his swollen cheeks. After a night full of howling and crying, my body was demanding oodles of sleep, but the music of chatting, between this gentleman and the other co-passengers kept my eyes opened with my 70% brain shut. Of course, my husband too was contributing significantly to this chat. The only thing kept me little alert was my son and his bouncing mischief. The subject of chat was spirituality, which is obvious as he handed all the co-passenger photo of an idol. He said something, which badgered my zombie state. With a huge, flowing tone he said,” arre bhai agar ticket confirm nahin hoti hae, aap ek number lelo, aur bolo Pappu bhaiya ne apka number diya hae, woh kya hae na, Humaen Pure Kolkata maen, Pappu bhaiya ke naam se jaante hae.” I was impressed, what a Jugaad!!, But my curiosity bug won’t let me sit quietly, I inquired back, Who is this Mr. SanJeev, with a big grin he said, Broker hae”. Phew!! i assumed some one from railways.

My patience already had crossed the bridge, I grabbed the berth on the side and pretended to snooze.”  When i got up” the last thing I heard him, ” discussing an illicit relationship of Jawaharlal nehru with one of the renowned author’s wife and their son who is a well known celebrity. This lazy rhino said, : arre bhai shakal mila ke dekh lo”. My husband looked at me with frustrated eyes and I looked at him back, with a pinch of glee on my face( I loved the helplessness on his face), while tolerating this ” Yapping Machine”. The moment he got up and said, ” Acha chalte hae, Jai Ganesh Baba Ki”, I gladly said, goodbye.

And by the time, I rested the pillow behind my back, three big suitcases got dumped next to us, the coolie restlessly tried to grab the underneath seat space. A family of three, a robust young man with his Parents dashed in. All three looked like soldiers fighting kargil war for their berth and space for their colossal bags. They seemed to be in such a hurry, as if they were holding their bladders. The moment they poured out volumes of words in bhojpuri,” I wondered………………..No wonder. After they settled down, the young man got glued to his smart phone. His mother, whose hands showed off colors of hena and sequins shimmering on her purple churidaar , got herself wrapped in white sheet and rested her head on the sarkaari pillow to the lower berth next to me. There was some uneasiness in the air. The Young man with a rude tone of voice came up to me and said, “ Phone hata lijie, humaen apna phone charge karna hae”, With no resistance i removed my phone from charging. The air around got really uncomfortable and got mounted, when I heard sniveling . Hena hands with golden bangles, were busy wiping tears. Many of which, managed to trickle down resting on the pillow. When something like that happens, the curiosity  goes really high to reach the climax, but I told myself, not my business. Her son was quietly giving ear, to the words which were coming out like” air passing out, from a punctured Tyre”. In a small space of six feet by 10 feet eight people trying to be friendly with each other, yet drawing a strong line of being a stranger. Well the silly ice of silence broke between the immediate co-passengers and the conversation again took off. The young man mellowed down a bit and started to rip off his rudeness.

People who go through plenty of rough patches in life often create a shell of rudeness around them, which probably gives them the assurance of not getting darted again. Once they feel they are not vulnerable they take off that shell, ready to surprise with their inspiring story. Such lives are not very rare, but they often go unnoticed. The mother and father sacrificed their entire life to their only child. Since there was no good school in the remote village where they had family business, he was sent to the boarding at Darjeeling, Mother would see his son growing in inches as he met her once a year. The next dream was IIT, the God of all the colleges in India. Three years the mother stayed in PG, cooked for the students at Kota bearing each deficiency of finances and her own comforts. The Best reward came up, when he cleared all the obstacles and reached the only dream his parents had. Now, I could understand why the tears of the lady were leaking. When the entire life gets chopped between the joint family responsibilities and own comforts, The tears give a cushion to the painful times. The young brat in twenties spoke of his dreams and love of his life. It was truly interesting to see such example of hard work and success.

The night came, me and my little boy snuggled into the lower birth.The train got late and we reached at 9:30 instead of 5 in the morning.In the meanwhile, My son pooped twice, Each time his daddy went to escort him, I knew my lad wont poop in the Indian style toilet “, but I kept quite. Every time, he came furious and badgered my head with the showers of complaints, which i was prepared to hear….

With the train moving like a snail, we reached. Though, few hours late. With the good byes and the phone number exchange we parted off….

We all resist to change, don’t want to compromise on certain standards. But each state of journey, each situation has its own flavor to offer you. Be it life or a train journey instead of complaining….Its always in your favor to go with the flow…..You never know, what it adds to you and your experience….

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