The rustling sound and the hustling whistle of the engines…. reminds of a journey, a mesmerizing train journey. All of us have spent a valuable portion of our life in the realms of the train and have enjoyed and suffered at the same time. The feeling of travelling from one place to another gives us goosebumps of utter excitement.
I have also loved my train journeys no matter where I go. I like the time between my packing of bags, planning my trip and reaching my destination. It was 22nd October 2013, the last day of my 5th Semester and I was looking forward towards enjoying my Holidays and going back to my home. I belong to Kolkata and have come a long way to study at Lucknow. My journey to my home may take 20 to 24 hours. It was important for me to enjoy my trip otherwise it can be utterly boring and impatient to spent such a long time in a train alone.
Durga Puja had already begun at Kolkata and it was the 8th day of the Durga Puja known as “ Durga Ashtami” when I had to board a train from Lucknow to Howrah. Even though I had to give my end-semester exams after returning from home, it couldn’t suppress the joy and excitement I had about going home and spending quality time with my parents and meeting my friends.
Early morning on 22nd October, I woke up with reminders and deadlines that I had to accomplish before I move out for my train. I completed my work by submitting all my assignments to my respective Professors till 1:22 pm and rushed towards reaching Charbagh Station of Lucknow. My train was scheduled to arrive at 3:15 pm and would depart at 3:35 pm. As I moved to catch an auto rickshaw, I realized how late I was by looking at the rush with which everyone was running around. Finally I managed to book an auto rickshaw at 2:30 pm.
I wish I could have been more punctual and faster. Well, I reached railway station at 3:20 pm and rushed towards the platform. It was Platform no- 4 as usual and on reaching the platform, I got to know that train was late for 10 minutes. I took a deep breath and sat down on one corner of the crowd which were all waiting for the train to come. No further announcements were made and suddenly a train was seen to arrive at the station. As I moved to get in the train, I was taken aback by a shock that it was not my train but some other train that had arrived. When queried about it, I came to know that my train was late for 12 hours without any announcement and it was going to arrive at 3:15 am.
I sat for a moment with that shock and was not able to understand what I should do next. Everybody has moved out from Hostel which was miles away from the station and it was not possible for me to return to station at 3:15 am in this strange city about which I knew very little. I decided to stay in the waiting room but then also for how long. As I was thinking about it I came to know from the station manager that the train can be later than 12 hours. I was taken aback by the insecurity and trouble that I had to bear if I stay back alone in the station where I was surrounded by the unknown crowd. I called all my friends and finally went to my college friend Shikha Gupta’s home. She appeared to me as an angel for the moment that saved me from suffering any sort of uncertainty in life. In the midst of all this, I kept my hostel friend Ridhima, also informed about everything that was happening to lessen her worries.
I stayed at her home till 12:45 am, and then she and her father came with me so that I catch my train safely. I realized that train journeys can be hectic as well and heart breaking when it tests our patience. After long hours of waiting, I saw the glimpse of the light that indicated the coming of my train which made me wait for such a long time. I had never waited for anything to arrive in my life as desperately as I was waiting for that train. The first glimpse of that train made me forget all my suffering and finally I was happy to board my train at 4:30 am. I thanked them for helping me at that peak time when I needed them.
I was already tired before my journey could start. I was sleeping throughout my journey to compensate the loss of energy of both my mind and spirit. It was 24th October 2013, the last day of Durga Puja, also known as “Dussehra” , the day when all her idols are immersed in holy water of Ganga. I reached Howrah at 2:35 am to experience the festive spirit that had enlightened whole of Kolkata. The city looked embedded in the joy of Durga Puja and it also had the sadness that it had come to an end. My train journey was very memorable and tiresome at the same time. I can never forget that day when my parents were waiting so eagerly about my arrival when the entire city was mourning about Durga Puja’s departure.
Life is also a journey. My train journey started from all the uncertainties and ended up like the end of the festive spirit of my city. I said to myself- “Ever journey comes to an end and so did my journey but it will never end my love of travel by trains since every journey has its own share of ups and down. I hope the next one will be better. ”