FOUR STATION SHORT

With time phases of our life also take turns and one such phase is the grand shift. Yes, the grand one the shift from boyishness to manliness. The phase when little wings start popping up from our back. Yes, my friends you got it right the grand entrance to the phase called college life and traveling is what like an attachment to college it. I am from the ‘City of Joy’ and under various circumstances was moving to the ‘City of temples’ to grab my Bachelor of technology degree from the prestigious KIIT University. I as an IIT aspirant took a drop of one year after my 12th boards. Well, at last, I did get IIT but with a K attached to it. Well it was about 10 am on 21nd of June 2016 in the morning when my little brother booked a ticket to Bhubaneshwar in Tatkal to leave the ‘City of Joy’ on the next evening and the stage was set for the eldest son of the house to leave the bird nest and learn how the world works. The clock clicked 12 and the D day arrived it was a calm day I did got a nice nap until 4:45 pm when I came to know that my ride to Bhubaneshwar has already left.

Well as I said it was a calm day, I woke up early took my bath and started packing. All of my family members were busy bringing essential for me especially, mom. Then unknowingly a message draws my attention and I was happy to see it was my seat confirmation message with contained my PNR number. I took a deep breath and again moved to my packing zone it took 2 hrs to make sure that nothing was left behind. I said, mom, that I was done and then fell on my bed as my back was paining a lot due to the work. Suddenly out of nowhere I rose up and yelled VIKASH (my little bro) and said what is my train timing he said in the evening I asked again and showed him the messages that I had on my phone. And he said “Bhaia train to gai”. We looked at each other faces and ran towards mom to tell her and she was like what how it can happen. We hurriedly wore our t-shirt and walked our way towards Howrah station which is just a walking distance from my home. I called dad and told the whole story he told me to buy tickets from current booking counter but until we reached there were no tickets available then a miracle happened. As we were moving out of the ticket window the person in charge told that he had one ticket available but till Balasore only which was 2 stations behind Bhubaneshwar. Having no option I booked it since it was my first time so I was going with my father. At evening, my father came back from office and we left home watching some wet eyes.

We reached station before 1hrs of our departure time and came to know that the train was delayed for an hour and was rescheduled to leave at 12 am. lastly the train whistled and I left the ‘city of joy’ with eyes full of dreams and desire. I watched the train leaving the station and TT getting inside. And at that moment realized that I only had one ticket which was 2 stations behind my assigned destination. The train was over crowded that day and I think that’s why the TT allowed my father to be with me in the sleeper compartment on a general ticket. I tried to sleep but I was not able to as every moment I had a fear what will happen.

It was a moon lit night and I was able to see the lush green fields filled with crops. The shining moon light reflection from the nearby lakes and ponds coming inside the train compartment. The train took the first hold at Kharagpur and I saw passenger and local vendors coming inside to sell their merchandise. As soon as the train left I also left the living world to the world of dreams where there is everything for everyone.

Like a what someone has said “every start has to have an end “My sweet dream also came to an end and I came to realize that it was morning and the next station is Balasore up till where my ticket permits me to travel. The train took its pace and we cross Bhadrak and then Cuttack as soon as it left Cuttack I arranged my luggage and became prepared for departing the train. It was a humid day with the sun shining brightly in the sky but then clouds of misfortune came above me in the form of senior train ticket checker who was examining everyone tickets. One of the two ticket checkers ask my dad to show his ticket and my dad just said “Hai” and the TT moved on to the next one well it was a sign of relief but the real story has just begun. We moved to the compartment gate and put our luggage beside it. The instant we were done adjusting our luggage the 2nd one of the TT asked me to show the ticket and I was stunned. There were noises all around the noise of people chatting, crying of a child the rattle of the train wheels and the wind that was flowing inside the compartment but for me it all silent. Fortunately, the silence broke when the 1st TT said to the other one that “inka hogaya”. I and my dad nodded our heads simultaneously and both of them left for the other compartment. I took a deep breath and then started recognizing the outside world. Odisha is a not that a developed stated I could see farms, cows grazing the vast grasslands small rocky hills with trees covering it and a mesh of criss-cross of rail lines which were moving in and around me in forms of the tunnel and over bridges. Just then I heard a noise of few young boys pleading someone and it was another set of 4 TT who had caught 2 youngsters without tickets. The came near us and asked for a passage I moved back a little and allowed them to go. Mysteriously, one of the four TT sat beside in one of the side lower berth I looked him and was thinking that why he was not leaving I waited a while and then heard move to that side of the gate the train is coming on platform number 4 and At last, I reached the destination I came down from my train and brushed my teeth and got myself in a zone where I can feel cosy and fresh and set my feet to the university where I was to go. But did forgot that to go there I have to move out of the station as I was crossing the overbridge I saw TT and rail police personal arresting the defaulters. We moved forward watching each other and went straight ahead to the glass doors which was leading us outside the platform area. And again, I heard the same word I don’t wanted to hear “TICKETS PLEASE” at the doorstep a TT wearing a black blazer was standing checking the tickets but what one thing is good with me is that what I don’t like I don’t hear I moved out of the gate like I didn’t hear you and luckily at that instant only the TT got busy with another passenger who had an issue with her tickets.

And had my last breath of relief.

So, this is my story how I was four stations short. :-}

VIVEK KUMAR YADAV