So my struggle with long distance trains doesn’t seem to stop. This time, just like the last time, my train got late. By 30 days. And I am to be blamed for it.
Like Will Smith says in ‘The Persuit Of Happiness’, ‘this part of my life is called being stupid‘, after trusting a hippie with his expensive scanner and realizing how bad a decision it was. I had the exact same feelings this morning about myself. Let’s rewind two weeks. I had to book train tickets for attending a wedding function at my native place, Karwar, on 29th April. As always, I did so from the irctc.co.in portal, and got three confirmed seats for May 28th. Awesome, I said, knowing how hard it is to get tickets during the holiday season. Got the confirmation email with all details and I was good to go.
Today, in the morining, we were all set. All dressed up and ready to start our day journey. We don’t usually do day travels since it is too hot in the non air conditioned coaches that we usually book our tickets in. Anyways, it was going to be fun, I thought. Called up the railway enquiry number 139 to make sure train was on time. Surprisingly, it said the charts weren’t prepared yet. Odd, because the train left the originating station a full day ago. Must be a technical glitch, I thought. Made sure I took everything; Misty, mobile phone, charger, water bottle and what not. Great. We left for our train that was scheduled to be departured at 08:10 in the morning.
The station is just a few kilometers away. We reached there at 8 sharp. Reaching there, I immediately started to look for the platform where our train was expected to arrive. The indicator didn’t say anything. Must be a fairly new train, I thought, trying to bury the little doubt I was starting to have. Let’s ask the station master, said my uncle, and so we went to the station master, to get some solid confirmation.
The station master’s office was a large room with a table in the center. More like a bollywood movie’s police station. The man there was wearing his shirt then. We entered and he asked us what was the matter. I asked him about the status of our train, numbered 22656. He thought for a second before quicky replying that the train only ran on saturdays. Damn! That wasn’t possible. I had a reserved ticket in that same train and it showed today’s date. Station master asked us for the ticket. I showed him the eticket on my mobile phone. Now he was confused. He called up someone on his intercom and asked if there was this particular train running today. The other guy said the same thing, this train only runs on saturdays. Umm. Weird. Station master tried to confirm it by asking if there was any additions to its trips. The answer must have been in negative.
Now we three were real confused. We tried to reason the possbile explanations. ‘Maybe the train is so new that even the station master doesn’t know about it’, said my uncle. Meanwhile the station master rang another number, this time of the previous station, called ‘Vasai Road’. He asked if any train with the said number had left the station or is scheduled to leave. No, was the reply. We thought for another few seconds when suddenly, with a little frustration in his decenly polite voice, the station master said, ‘This ticket is for 28th May’. I went silent for five full seconds. With my tongue stuck out, all I could say there was ‘sorry sir’. I and my uncle came out silently, glad that he didn’t swear at our stupidity. Okay, MY stupidity. We came out, and had the greatest burst of laughter. For him, it was funny. For me, a little less towards funny and a lot more towards the incoming embarassment. I, with my 17 years of schooling, couldn’t tell May from April. Stupid. Very, very stupid. We went to where my parents were waiting. I told them, smiling and trying to make a poker face simultaneously. My mom, got so furious that she actually started to laugh. Things were pretty serious, and yet somehow, that was so stupid that no one knew how to react.
We thought for some time then, and decided to go in some other train in the unreserved compartment, which, if you know, you know the struggle and if you don’t, you’re pretty lucky and rich. I am still in the train, tired, sleepy and dirty with sweat and dirt all over me. I’ll reach in three or four hours, and then it will be life a usual.