Lying on bed at home in Patna I am still lost in the last 35-40 hrs that started from the moment I took a train from Bhopal to Itarsi at 10.30 morning on the 14th morning.
Just half an hour before I had to board the connecting train from Bhopal to Itarsi I found out that I had not taken out the printout of the copy of the e-ticket for the journey from Itarsi to Patna which was scheduled for the same day at 3 in the noon.
I called up my friend and forwarded the e-ticket at his email address and requested him to meet me at Habibganj railway station and hand me over the e-ticket after getting it printed. Then I boarded the train at Bhopal after getting assurance from the counter guy that the train would stop at Habibganj.
And I found my self sharing place in the general compartment with a group of labourers belonging to Balrampur in UP who were going to Mumbai, perhaps to take on the might of the goons of that rubbish called Raj Thackrey.
As the train reached Habibganj, I to my horror, discovered that instead of slowing down it was was gaining speed and soon it dawned on me that the train would be bypassing Habibganj without stopping.
I frantically called up my friend and decided on the best course of action available at that time.
As the train approached the station I perched myself on the gate and saw a guy running with me, and then after me. It was my friend Dinesh, and he was running after the train with the ticket firmly clutched in his hand.
And soon enough the ticket was in my hand.
Thank you dost. And thank you even more for giving me the printout of my return ticket. You did great. ( Dinesh by some great presence of mind (pun intended) took out the printout of my return ticket instead of my forward journey).
I can still remember the look on his face when he said "Happy journey dudeeeee......".
I had a very happy journey, seriously.
Later I messaged him apprising about the path breaking development adding hahahahahha in my sms. He too replied in the same way, albeit with more "ha" in the hahhahaha.
After two hours of having a highly fruitful discussion on the various socio-political-economic problems plaguing the country I got down at the Itarsi paltform no 3, feeling highly enlightened and for that I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Prof. Sukhi Singh, Prof. Mahto Rana and the child prodigy who went by the name "Chottua".
The day was good with the sun shining brightly over the head as I headed for platform no 1 so to find out an Internet cafe where I intended to take out the print out of the eticket.
But my jovial walk was cut short as I was accosted by a TTE in the customary black coat and two RPF personnel in Khakis as they accused me of stopping the train illegally as if I was not Abhinandan the mortal one but Sabu the Lambu one . No preliminary talks worked and i was taken to their office.
There they told me that the train I was travelling in was not scheduled to stop in Itarsi and I had pulled the chain to alight at Itarsi. To prove my point they said that I had a ticket that I myself had taken from Bhopal for Itarsi. Talk of benefits of having a valid travelling ticket.
I told them everything in detail and said that I was told by the booking clerk at Bhopal that this particular train had a stoppage in Itaris, but to no avail. They were presumably trying to arrive at a point, a point where they would force me to cough up some money to make their Diwali more happier but which i was not ready to do.
This round table conference went on for thirty minutes and I was on the verge of blasting out with full force as I had reached the tipping point of my patience. At that very moment my cellphone rang and I answered it. It was ringing for quite a while but I was disconnecting it so as to focus on the other issue at hand.
The guy on the line was a person who was about to come to pick me up at Itarsi and I vented out my anger at him and referring to him by his surname I told him not to bother as he was already late by half an hour.
As I disconnected the call, I saw the picture changing. The RPF guys left the room and the TTE became sober to the extent of being polite.
To cut a long story short, with the help of the same TTE I was fortunate enough to get a confirmed ticket in a holiday special train which would take me directly from Itarsi to Patna, my destination.
It was already 5 in the evening and I was feeling sleepy as i had spent the last night roaming till Three in the morning and having tea in the old city with an even older school friend. And as soon as I climbed into the upper berth, I covered myself in the blanket, switched off my cell and went to sleep.
It was 8 in the night when I was woken up as someone was trying to shake me up. Still asleep I extended my arms out and found a food packet in my arms given to me by a guy who later i found was sent by dad. This was at Jabalpur station.
It was Ten in the night when I finally woke up and gobbled up the Indian thali that landed in my hands in Jabalpur.
I had Sleep, had food and now had nothing to do with sleep miles out of reach. It was time for night out or more aptly train out.
Soon my pyara humsafar Dell came out. After some minutes of chit-chap i found out the battery dying. And as I bent down to plugin the charger a hand came out of the middle berth and switched on the electric switch. My hushed thank-you was responded by an even more subdued most welcome.
Zoya had made her presence felt...