“Goa Express” I caught my breath and quickly gathered up to ask again “which platform”? The man at the inquiry window rolled his eyes over me and Robin. A sadist smile crept on his face as he said “Goa Express is going to come on the 7th platform” and with a killing pause added “and is just arriving”. His fingers pointed over a train crawling in the nearly far end of the station. Dumbstruck with the answer, both me n Robin looked at each other and in a split second we were again sprinting towards the platform. As we accelerated towards the screeching ‘Goa Express’, I visualized similar scenes from bollywood movie. In India our lives are so much impressed upon by our very own hindi cinema, especially mine. I figure out a related story in every situation. Before I could venture out again in my fantasy world, I was showered with choicest of adjectives as Robin was boiling with anger for getting us late to the station. And I know what was coming next. The train had already stopped at the platform and was ready for departure as the halt at this station was of only five min. Our speed was slowing down. Thanks to me again because it was me who despite of Robin’s instructions did not pack light. And the entire melodrama appeared to be happening in a slow motion with a violin playing in the background. Three, four and five, the destination got nearer. The platforms passed by as if we were crossing our hurdles to success.
Struggling with my heavy rucksack and an airbag I said, “Robin, what if we miss our train”? “I will kill you”. Robin snapped back, panting heavily. Trying unsuccessfully to match with his speed I casually said, “c’mon Robin this is so adventurous. If we miss our train we’ll take a cab for the next stop of this train. Simple”. “This is not a story of a movie and we are not missing this train. At least I’m not for sure”. Robin was quite confident.
Self and Robin were roommates and students of final semester of engineering at RB Institute of Technology, Agra and were going to Pune for the combined aptitude examination for management course, post degree. The deadly combination of Robin’s hosh and my josh was a life saving grace for both of us. We complimented each other so well. Although I was happy in today’s situation also, expecting some never seen before action, I guess the same was not true with Robin. Anyways, I shrugged off my wild thoughts and with all the energy gave a final push to myself and joined Robin.
Making our way in the crowded over head bridge, tearing away the rush coming from opposite direction we moved ahead. For the first time ever, I noted the mismanagement of these platform crossings. I really wondered how nobody ever thought of making such passages bi-lane. By the time we neared the platform, the train had already started marching off the station. Almost flying above the pour of unorganized lot, we managed our way to Platform No 7. The train had picked up its speed by then. Giving our career best timings we first threw the bags inside one of the compartments and then finished by squeezing ourselves in a compartment of ‘Goa Express’. Our heartbeats had gone totally out of control and sitting at the door of the bogie we looked at each other with a complete sense of achievement.
“I thought we nearly missed the train today Adi”, gasped Robin. “I could have not afforded to miss the train. I worked so hard for this day.” “Yeah, I know”. I would have not agreed better on this at least. Things were not easy in life for Robin like me. He struggled for each bit of life to reach where he was today. Amongst the crème lot of electrical engineering batch there were even bigger dreams in his eyes to be fulfilled. With vast responsibilities to shoulder came the obvious no nonsense attitude towards life. A perfectionist to the core, Robin was always dragged into situations because of an able me. And I Aditya Sharma. Though life has not been that tough for me but it was not served on a platter as well. Even I had to shape my career on my own. My dad was a banker and Robin’s father was an employee in the secretariat office. We came from kind of financially equal background. But the difference lied in the size of our families. Where my family satisfactorily met the demand supply ratio with me and my sister being the two kids, Robin’s was in dilapidated tenements with three elder sisters. The self evident reason behind such extended family was the obvious desire of a son. Anyways let us not get into the much debatable topic of gender equality and its immediate effects. I simply wanted Robin to live fully and whole heartedly rather than walking on the edge of a blade. Having lived his life in bits and pieces he had shut himself completely and all what mattered was making it big in life.
“Adi” my thoughts jolted as Robin found me again lost in my own world. His smiling face relaxed my intense emotions. “Will have the entire journey sitting here or wanna come along finding way to our bogie”? “Well not a bad idea though. The weather is incredible and can be best felt here” I know the smirk on my face irritated Robin once again. Before he would start with his ML(Moral lecture) again, I asked his hand to get up. “Chillax Mr Idealist. I will not take the credit of changing your views about life. This revolution will be done by some great personality only. And his or who knows her name would go down in the pages of history for doing so. Ha ha ha”. The look on Robin was good enough to make me shut my predictions. We got up laughing to move inside the compartment but what laid in front of us was a bit unnerving. The deafening silence which had sneaked in, was soon broken by an infectious laughter leading to a kind of chain reaction amongst the passengers. The scandalized look on our faces would have not invited anything more embarrassing. Not knowing which compartment we are entering, we were drenched in deep satisfaction just a minute before. And now the situation was not so welcoming. We had unknowingly entered the ladies compartment of ‘Goa Express’. God would have not done anything better to make this eventful day go a step further.
We gathered our discomposed look and tried finding our way out through the connecting bogie before the ladies started overreacting. But much to our disappointment, the shutter connecting this bogie to the next one was down and locked may be due to security reasons. But today the izzat of both of us was under threat in the over loaded ladies compartment. The innocent looks on our faces was doing no good so Robin, spoke to pacify their tenable suspicions. The entire account of how we boarded the train relieved some tension in the air. But even then we could not escape the situation till the next stop which was about an hour away. Until then I made myself comfortable sitting at the door of the bogie much to the discomfort of Robin but there was no other choice left with him too.
The next stop was Gwalior which took more than an hour to arrive. We quickly jumped out of the train to find our S-2 compartment before we miss it again as the halt here was just of two minutes. Finally the lady luck bestowed some honour on us as our bogie was just two coaches away and we easily made our way to our reserved seats. What a sigh of relief it was after an action packed day. “See this happens when we don’t plan our actions and live unorganised” spoke our Mr perfect once again. “Had you kept your hall ticket in proper place and packed your stuff a night prior, we would have made to the station in time. Our course is coming to an end now Adi. Soon we will be graduates and certain amount of maturity is expected out of us. We are not kids anymore. Grow up brother and pull up your socks. Enough of living in the fantasy world where things happen as you wish them to be. Writing is good as a hobby but for your living and better future you have to get cracking now”. Robin sounded like a true well wisher. Clearly confused about the future part I sipped my tea and gazed outside as the train once again rumbling and rolling, started moving out of the station. Robin started fixing our bags and I lazily imbibed my charge up drink, a hot cup of tea when a girl stormed into the coach with a huge swollen up bag which was lying in front of her. Conscious of people around she quickly drew up to look for her seat which was astonishingly in our cabin only. She settled fast to cover up her mortified situation. Drop dead gorgeous, she was well conscious of her good looks. She sat near the window seat to avoid any conversation. The silence which prevailed was disturbed by the grumbling noise of the train. But she soon spoke may be to justify her otherwise doubtful situation. “These cab drivers na, I tell you. The professionalism is so lacking here. Had it been a metro or bigger city these bunch of incompetent lot would never get business”. Me and Robin watched the pink lips opening and closing in a complete state of awe. “Never they reach in time even if you specify that you have to catch a train. How would they understand what missing a train would cost to us”. She quickly added. The long pause was enough for Robin to assume, that was all she had to say. “Don’t spoil your mood ma’am. Such things keep happening. Feel blessed and thank God that you did not miss the train”. I was completely shocked to see Robin in such a sobered down self. This subtle nature acquired may be just a few seconds ago in him was something a new discovery for me. At his comforting best Robin succeeded in striking a conversation with the lady. As they both eased with each other I smiled at the new self of Robin emerging out of extremities and balancing the opposites. The grey shade which was so welcoming. The stop at Gwalior, got the guy rolling over and evolving in a bright switch in life.
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda wherein opposite words were to be used in one sentence. The words highlighted represent those.