Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One small journey with Shalini

***Disclaimer - IGNORE this unless you're bored, not in mood to keep your eyes on same thing for so long, can't sleep and want to fall asleep.***

After having an unfortunate dream on 21 Oct night i was extra cautious about my belongings which i needed to carry with me on the journey to my long awaited holidays.I was just passing days and time at office so that i could go to have a tension free,work and client conference free holidays with my family.I was not in the mood to see another any such dream which makes me wake up drenched in sweat.
On the day on which i have to travel i left office at around 1 pm (not on 12:30 pm as i did in my dream and i don't want to repeat all the things which i saw two days earlier) to avoid any bad omen. Came to my room,picked my luggage,double checked whether i am carrying my wallet and cell phone.Took auto to Metro station and finally reached NDLS railway station after facing all security measures incorporated at Metro stations.
Checked status of train on enquiry counter, my train was one and half hour late... i thought not a good day....again i checked my wallet and cell phone as i was extra cautious this time but not over smart.I started moving to the platform but before that i took a quick glance at the area around me,actually my eyes were searching for that telephone booth from where i made a phone call to my home in my dream but i was surprised to saw that there was no such telephone booth particularly in that area which i saw in my dream.
Took stairs to go on platform six where my train was scheduled to arrive with an delay of one hour thirty minutes.Crowd at platform left not a single seat as some train was already there which was about to leave.After taking one full round trip of platform i got a seat to sit.I checked my ticket which was kept inside the pocket of bag to confirm that if i lost my money than at least I'll be able to go home.My train ticket was not confirmed but it was Reservation against cancellation (RAC) so moreover my ticket was half confirmed in which i was required to share half seat with some other passenger and need to travel 1250 miles by sitting until or unless one of us bribe TC for a full seat or adjust our self on the ground of coach.I was thinking that if i get tired of sitting than i will take the opportunity to adjust myself at ground level once all the passengers of 6 seat get settled and ground level of AC coaches are clean as compared to sleeper coaches. I looked at my watch,still half an hour left for the train to show up.Suddenly another announcement declared that train is delayed by total 2 hours.God....why these guys don't tell exact information at a time,i must have gone to some near by place to kill time instead of sitting here on platform and watching passengers moving here and there.

I felt a very little and acute feeling of head ache as my ears were listening all the crappy and useless sounds there from last one and half hour.To avoid this, i took some short rounds as i was not in mood to lose my seat and i also wanted keep an eye on my bag which i kept at the place where i was sitting couple of minutes before.Reading novel which was in my bag came to my mind but i refused to do so as i did not wanted to read that story in that creepy atmosphere.
Another announcement declares that train is delayed by another half an hour which made it total of 2 hour and 30 minutes,this time railway gave explanation also.....they said "due to unavailability of platform we are not able to bring the train in....and it is standing on outer of NDLS rlwy station....".Ndls rlwy station has 16 platforms, all of them were occupied out of which 4 were under maintenance,so a total of 12 platforms.
Reservation chart for the train was placed at display boards but i was not interested to see who's next to me and with whom i was going to share the seat.I was already aware about the location of my half seat as i checked the status from railway website.Passengers who were having waiting tickets were jostling to see the status of their ticket.I was standing there and i randomly asked a person what was the waiting number he had, he replied

person: 90 is my waiting number.
me : its impossible to get 90 number get cleared on the occasion of diwali specially on the countries

busiest Delhi to Mumbai route.
person: may be it got cleared as railway has increased no of births in coaches from 8 to 9 in each coupe

and that's why i am trying to see my status.
me : there is no need of that,if you have cell phone with you, you can get your PNR status on

cell phone itself.
person: thanx for the information but i don't have cell phone with me.
me : okay.

checked his status with my cell phone and moved back to my seat.I thought he must not be in the mob who were wooing the display board but i got surprised when i found him standing there....may be his dad instructed him to not to believe on stranger in any means.

Suddenly i felt a drift in the mob present on platform, i came to know that long awaited train was arriving on the platform and that was the time when i need to leave my seat which was acquired by me from past 2 hours. Train halted and passengers started boarding deboarding,again tiff occurred between passengers boarding and deboarding.I managed to reach my half seat,kept my luggage below the seat and was sitting casually watching movements of peoples trying to get settle down with their luggage.I was wondering who will gonna be the owner of other half seat,actually i was waiting for that passenger to come.Its been only 10 minutes left from the departure time of train and still there is no sign of that passenger.I thought may be this person will board the train from next stop Mathura or he will be in some other coach.I took out my ear phones and started listening music as i was fresh at this time,no sign of acute head ache.
A voice made me to pause my current song so that i can confirm is somebody saying something to me.When i turned around i saw a girl was asking to me

girl:Excuse me,is this your seat?
me :yes,but only the half one.
me :are you having the RAC on this seat number.
me :okay.

Voila!!!!!!!!! was the word which came in my mouth but i kept it in my mouth only.I said

me :just settle down, i will be back.

As there were around two minutes left from the departure time of train, i quickly reached at the door of train and looked at the reservation chart which consists information about passengers including name,age,gender,seat no,reservation up to station and boarding station,i started from top to bottom looking for my seat no
32 Ankit M 24 NDLS SU
32 Shalini F 23 NDLS BR

okay, so Shalini is the name of girl.I went back to my seat and found she was settled at the half seat,looking out of window and waiting for train to make move towards our destinations.I took out my novel from the bag to avoid looking her as 2 times she saw me staring at her.I was finding an way to start conversation although she made first attempt but that was the formal one.Train started moving,suddenly she got a call on her cell phone and she responded back to that call with the current status of train...may be call from her home or some relative.I was acting as i was reading my novel very deeply but in reality i was looking at her again and again whenever i got the chance to do so.She asked me

Girl:"At what time this train will reach to Vadodara?"
again she made an attempt for conversation and i was not in condition to miss this chance as i was looking for this moment. I replied with a facial expression as i got disturbed
me :"train is running 3 hours late and right time of reaching Vadodara is 8:30 am, so now it will reach around 11 am"
she asked
girl :"how come 11 am,according to delay in 3 hours it should reach at 11:30 am" girl,good in mathematics.

me :Ya that's true,but generally this train covers some time in night as it runs continuously in night due to no traffic of other trains on the track.
girl : okay...
I thought my answer would have refreshed her concepts of speed,time and distance.I said again "by the way i am Ankit" she said "Ya i know,i saw your name on the reservation chart".I thought "what a girl....she has already seen reservation chart" in reply to her i said "okay Shalini", she started laughing and asked "when did u saw the chart", i said "actually if i tell you the truth than the moment you asked me whether this seat is mine or not and  i
went out by saying that "you get settle down, i will be back" at that moment i went out to see reservation chart"
.She said "and what would be your answer if you were gonna lie?" i said "than probably i must have said that i have seen it on platform itself".
I asked her
me : So you are going to Vadodara?
Shalini: What makes you say that i am going to Vadodara?
me : Well just now you asked me when this train gonna reach Vadodara,isn't it.
Shalini: Well,that doesn't mean i am deboarding there.Actually i am expecting my uncle to be there.
me : okay (before i asked her again and just opened my mouth,she said).
Shalini: by the way i am going to Bandra.
Shalini: and you to Surat,isn't it.
me : Yup,so you have seen my destination
She took out a novel from her hand bag and it was Sons of fortune by Jeffrey Archer, i asked her "whether she is also a fan of Jeffrey Archer?" she said "who else here is also fan of him,are you" i said "yes,i am, as i have Shall we tell the president with me".I asked her "how is Mr Fletcher? (one of the character from sons of fortune)", she said "if you are in mood to tell me the climax than please don't do that" i said "No,i just want to know at which point you are right now".
She asked me "so...Ankit,what do you do?" i said " I am working as a software engineer in an Software MNC which has one branch at Noida"...okay she said (as usual) and "i am in the profession of event management and i am going to Bandra for an event", she told me about herself before i asked her.I said "well good to know you are in event management profession,but i didn't asked you about this"...she said "yes,but you were eager to know this,don't you".... i was out of words...she was so clever and quick....i said "That's why you are in this profession"...she didn't said any thing as she got what i meant by those last words of mine.
I was reading my novel as i was not getting any other thing on which our conversation can be continued.Train was running fast by passing stations and approaching Mathura.I or in fact we both were waiting for dinner to come which we ordered to irctc catering service.Due to delay in train at Delhi, pantry service got affected and dinner was served late.During the dinner i asked her what kind of event her company manages and i came to know that her company manages social shows which are performed by bands,singers and stars for charity which includes management of things like security,seating arrangements,stage arrangements,spacing arrangements,safety arrangements,catering arrangements.She belonged to safety and seating arrangements.
As it was already late,passengers started arranging their bedding to catch some sleep as all were tired by the wait which each one has to do for train.I was feeling tired but i or we don't have any other option other than sitting.In fact i quit thought of settling down on ground floor.I said Shalini to stretch her legs on the seat,she refused first but after some time she felt i was suggesting a good idea and she stretched her legs.I was reading my novel but as lights went off i was unable to read,so i went outside to get some light as i need to pass time.Shalini was resting out at the full seat,i thought may be she fell asleep on the full seat but i need to sit there also as i was not able to spend whole night standing near wash basin with a novel in my hand. I heard the sound of door which separates the non-ac and ac section of coach,when i turned back it was Shalini.I said "Hey,i thought you fell asleep as you were looking tired",she said she was not feeling sleepy and she was also not able to read her novel in the dark and feeling bored so she came out to have a chat.She asked me about my profession,she also has the same perception about software industry that our life is so cool and full of glamour.I cleared her that BPO life is glamorous and software life is cool because we work in an air conditioned environment,nothing other than this is cool about software life.
Train stopped at Bharatpur station, i asked Shalini whether she needs tea or coffee as i was going down to have one for mine,she agreed to have tea.I said "okay get inside to seat,i will be back".I went back holding two cups of tea in hand,hand overed one to her.As people around us were sleeping, we were not able to talk in normal pitch of voice.When Shalini was taking sip from her cup i was looking at her,she was looking fantabulous as blue light was falling on her face and got mixed with her fair complexion.I felt i was infatuated.She was silently sipping her tea, i asked her why she is so silent and not uttering any word.She responded back to this question and i was not expecting that response,she said "you were continuously staring me,what makes you do that?".I replied to her that "honestly speaking you are looking fantabulous at this time and i was not able to take my eyes off from you"....hmmm...she said...she said "you know what,i like your honesty,things which u said so honestly is good,but i don't know whether this is your honesty or you are flirting with me", i said " you are right, but this depends on you that what perception you had for me and how much you trust me in this".Shalini said,she was talking to me from the time when she boarded the train,girls normally don't talk to people if they have a bad perception about them.I asked her whether she is telling me any secret of girls or a reality.A reality of an normal person....i got the answer from her.
She said we should take some rest now as it is already 2:30 am,so we can spread our legs towards each other and i should not shy for keeping legs towards her....c'mon don't be so formal...she said to me... i kept my legs towards her but on the outer side of the seat.She closed her eyes but i didn't.She asked me to stop staring, i said i was not staring her as to stare her i should be able to see her face and her face was in complete dark shadow of above seat.She slapped me on my legs and continued to close her eyes and said "when was the last time you were serious,can't you give a straight answer to any question which is asked to you..... ",i said "sorry madam...i am sorry,now please continue your rest at 2:35 am".

Train was running fast to cover delayed time.I was looking out of glass window but I was able to see only my reflection as outside environment was completely dark,few things were visible when a small station comes.My phone was playing Is this love a song from movie Pyaar k Side Effects and i was asking that question to myself but i was not able to find the answer.I still thought that i have an infatuation.
I started feeling as if some kind of weight are on my eyelids as they are getting down.I was feeling sleepy, i fell asleep but got awake as Shalini shifted her leg.Train was approaching Kota,I again fell asleep.I felt some kinda drift in train,some kinda creepy sound which generally produced by tyres of train, i didn't opened my eyes.I start hearing more lound sounds, sounds of people.I opened my eyes and looked at scared and horrifying faces of people.Some thing was going wrong, I looked at Shalini,totally scared and unknown of the fact what was happening.

Suddenly we felt heavy jerks, i assumed that our train is getting derailed and our coach is going to collapse.Oh my god was the word in my mind.As soon as the word derailed passed through out my mind,whole picture of catastrophic damages and loss of live flashes into my eyes.

The situation was like we all gonna die but i was not prepared to die, i dont't want to get died so early, i haven't seen the world, i don't want to die without having love of life.... Oh my god, Oh my god please save us,please save us all.... and then i felt that our coach is finally getting down as we felt lots of jerks and all the luggage was scattered on the floor.People were shouting for the help, i felt some thing hit my head, i lost my control on myself and became unconsious. Last thing i saw before collapsing was Shalini was lending her hand to support me.

was the sound which i heard, i was thinking that from where this sound is coming, where i am right hell or heaven....does there are also chai walas in hell or heaven....i heard sound of running train....i was thinking whats going on.....i opened my eyes and found Shalini seating in front of me looking outside window.I looked outside window and found that it was a beautifull morning and train is running very fast....I asked her 

me:"Am I alive"?
Shalini:What......what are you talking ????
me: Am I alive? i asked her again... 
Shalini:ofcourse you are alive....
me:Thank God!!. 

She looked surprised and asked 
Shalini:Whats wrong with you,for what you are thanking god"...

i didn't told her the whole story or the dream which i had last night. 

me:nothing i just had a bad dream. by the way where are we...
Shalini:We have passed Vadodara.
me:Oh...i slept very long btw did u met your uncle?
Shalini:Ya, I met him.
me:Okay, lemme get fresh and compile my luggage as we are approaching to Surat in next 2 hours.

I have not expected that the whole journey will end like this.I was dreaming a lot those days...

I came back and got settled at my seat and started compiling my luggage.She asked

Shalini: So what are your plans once you reach your home?
me: nothing planned as of now, one thing which in my mind right now is to just have a good break and a good sleep in my mom's arms.
Shalini:Good, mine will be hectic once i will step in to Mumbai.

I was sitting quiet as i was not in the mood to talk after a strainfull sleep, my body was aching at different parts as i was in a single position for several hours....

I got a glimpse of Tapi river and said "its time to go", she suddenly took out her cell phone and asked me my cell phone no.We exchanged our cell phone numbers so that we can keep in touch.

I asked her to just give me a call when she reach Mumbai, she assured me to do so..... I de boarded the train met my parents who were waiting on the platform and waived a final bye to her and moved on.

I got call from her confirming that she reached Mumbai..... I thought i should tell her about the dream which i had last night once we both are back from our trips... and i did the same....

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