Good Friday

Sticky

I never knew why it is called a Good Friday….
And this good Friday is even more confusing. There are several reasons for it:
1) Today is birthday of one of my bestest friend. (Happiness)
2) Today is the 3rd death anniversary of one of my best friend. (Sorrow)
3) The movie based on my favorite novel is releasing Today. (Wow)
4) Want to go 1st day 1st show; But cant because there is no one to come to watch it.. (ohhhh)

Now this is a Good Friday indeed.. really don’t know what to do- celebrate or cry….

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Delusion

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“You are changing house and you are moving out of the hostel?” Richa asked lighting the cigarette.

“Yep”

“So why don’t you guys shift together into the same house?!”

Karan put down his cup and gave me a look. (The look that says – ‘explain her all over again’)

“If you listen to us carefully, you would know that we are actually looking for the house so we both can stay together. I told you in the very beginning but you didn’t listen”

“Okay. Okay. Got it. Got it!” she took a drag and said very excitedly.

“Why don’t we all live in the same place?”

“As in?” Karan asked.

“See, I just moved into this apartment and there are some flats where no one lives. So, I will ask my landlord if those are for rent or not. If any of the flats is available; you both could just move there. So, we three will be living in the same building, Rishi lives just a kilometer away from my apartment…”

“And what about Uvesh?” Karan interrupted.

“Arrey haa, Uvesh might also get admission in some community hostel. He told me a few days back. So, we all will be around.”

“F.R.I.E.N.D.S huh?” I asked sarcastically.

Richa giggled.

“What? I didn’t get it” Karan asked.

“In F.R.I.E.N.D.S, all Monica and Rachel live in the same apartment, Chandler and Joe live next door. Phoebe and Ross live in the nearby area. So if you guys move here, we could all have fun like them”

“I don’t watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S,” Karan said.

“What? You don’t watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S? Arrey Kevin you should show him. It’s awesome…”

“Arrey, discuss F.R.I.E.N.D.S afterward. Let’s not get off topic. This is India not USA. We can’t all live together. And haa Karan, You should watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S.” I interrupted her.

“I’m not asking to live in the same flat. Just in the same building.”

“Still. No one is going to give us flat in that building. And it won’t fit in our budget also.”

“I’ll talk to my landlord,” Richa said.

Eight months passed to this conversation, and we all live in different places.

Richa’s landlord said that no one from that building is willing to rent their flat to bachelor boys. And she continued lying me about everything.

I and Karan looked for few flats, liked one but someone got it before us and we didn’t like any other after that. We end up living where we used to. And we hardly speak to each other now.

Uvesh didn’t move to community hostel. And accused me of using other peoples for my own good (multiple times). And told me that, that’s the reason why Karan and I are not that good of friends anymore.

And Rishi; well no one knows where he is and what he’s doing. Last time I saw him on Diwali. After that, no trace of him.

None of us had any entitlement to be called F.R.I.E.N.D.S……

The Brunch

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bdayI entered your house, fully prepared to be judged and disgusted just for being with you. But I was subtly ignored.

Was constantly staring at my cell phone screen.

There was an awkward silence for minutes until we all take off.

I don’t know on what moment I mixed with ’em. Their faces started looking familiar. I thought it was really good idea to go out. But, still, your brother was giving me that look. Staring at me with a corner of his eyes while I was trying very hard to gel in.

I was very unsure about going out at first place. cause I knew I won’t be accepted. I know; it will take time. And was very aware of the fact that – they won’t accept it full heartedly. And why would they accept me? I was a stranger for them and for you yesterday.

A week later, your brother came to me when no one was around and asked me to come every weekend. cause they have never seen you this much happier earlier.

I think the brunch was a great idea.

Zamana Chhod dengey Hum

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I was in hurry. I had to reach class by 10 and it was already 10:15. I locked my room, tied my shoe laces and ran downstairs. I walked for some distance and it started raining. So, I ran towards a tree nearby and stood there. 10 minutes passed and still raining. Waiting for the rain to stop, standing under a tree accompanied by a cow, watching the potholes being filled by water which looks like tea. And I heard some voice from near distance. It was some aunty driving scooter and singing very loud. she was so into her song that she doesn’t even bother to slow down while driving through potholes. she passed by, splashing water on me and that cow. The cow mooed at her and was just staring at her very angry. I heard her singing “Agar tum mil jao; Zamana chhod dengey hum…” and as she finished this line she ran into an auto coming from the front. and she screams “oh God!” very loud. Cow and I looked at her, the cow mooed again then we both went to our path as the rain stopped at that point.

I don’t understand Animal’s language but I think Cow said: “Bhagwan ne sunn li…!!!”

He no more belongs to you

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The names written on sand said it all. He didn’t turn back nor he regretted the words which he spoke just a few minutes before. It was late. Late enough that birds were about to return back. Sun was about to set and in the other side waves were still busy playing with the shore unaware about the arguments which were going on. Nature behaved normally as if nothing was wrong. but the two hearts knew the results. Both of them stood there for about an hour without uttering any single note. They were busy noticing the sea who was calm thinking nothing without any worries. All of sudden their heart stopped to beat for each other. And when this happens one must know that their ways going to change forever. Their paths parted. The decision was crystal clear after all they were no longer each other’s destination. They decided to travel alone in the long route called life.

Love, care, understanding, fights, lust, crush, disappeared the moment he abused her. The moment he disrespected her. The moment he was loud towards her. Loud enough that strangers could catch some words. The moment she was no longer his first priority. The time was perfect. Perfect beach, perfect breeze, perfect trees and there stood the imperfect two. She kept holding his hand until tear dropped. But as usual, he was less bothered to comfort her. He was busy with phone and random messages.

Seconds passed…. minutes passed…. followed by hours but still was with his phone after all texts were more important than her tear. The silence was finally broken the moment he took her leave without a kiss on the forehead. He didn’t speak a word the time he left, but his action said it all. Tears got heavy with each step he took forward. She kept watching him go and words got choked. The only hope she had was he’ll return back. But hope is just a hope it never gets a miracle to come true. All the memories flashbacked including the never ending love they shared. Life plays a good game. Unexpected moves are the best shots taken by destiny. Prayers were washed away as he didn’t turn back. He disappeared in the crowd and she lost him again. She could barely walk. She still couldn’t believe what actually happened to her.

One fine time waves washed away their names imprinted on the sand saying “He no more belongs to you”.

I fucked up (Deleted part)

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After Pathankot, more passengers started boarding in. mostly college students, talking nonsense very loudly.

I see people from Gurudwara serving passengers water and Lemonade. Thanks to them for saving my 120 bucks for a day. Whatever I haven’t noticed going there, all I see coming back home. Big and beautiful, green farms and people working there, huge houses with a round shaped water tank and a large Eagle statue on some of them. I’ve seen random people keep staring at me like I’m alien with a beard. I’m used to it. So it doesn’t make me uncomfortable. All day, I observed things, people around me and their behaviour.  The day passed doing all this.

The sun set and I reached Bathinda. Most of the passenger de-boarded and new passengers boarded in. one uncle asked another uncle to make a space for him to seat. He refused. We already 5 were seating there on the seat of 4. And then the argument started. I was quietly listening what that uncle has to say about the new generation. How we do not respect elders by not giving them the seat.

I don’t understand, why people play this ‘respect card’ in train all the time when they don’t get the seat. It’s subjective completely depends on you. If a person is travelling on a long route or is tired or exhausted, why he or she has to give up their seat just to prove how much they respect them. No one gives up their seat to youngsters. Everyone pay for a ticket. Why this “younger generation is so disrespectful” kind of dialogue all the time. To get respected by others, you should start giving respect to others. Your age won’t give you.

The discussion ended at Hanumangarh (exact to be after 1.30 hours) after that uncle finally left the train with most of the passengers. Again new passengers boarded in. I tried to sleep, but couldn’t. Dust from outside was coming in. and was very hot inside so couldn’t even shut the window. The train was packed after Bikaner Junction. Passengers were fighting for seats.

I fucked up…. (Once again…. (As always….!)) II

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It was very loud. I opened my eyes and shouted ‘shut the fuck up’. No one even gave a damn. Yeah it was that loud. It was Bathinda. Train was there for about half an hour and going to be there only for another hour. I saw some young boys on seat in front of me. I heard them talking. It seems like Gujarati, but same time it sounds like different. I thought they were speaking Rajasthani. I stood up from my berth and went to washroom.

Everyone was talking very loud, women were wearing loud makeup. Officially now I can say, I’m in north. Everyone was staring at me. I was confused why they were staring. Is it my boxer or my stupid face? Every time I woke up, my face looks stupid and I got some weird attitude. I came back to my berth, sat there took out my cookie jar from bag, started eating and observing people around me. Train left Bathinda and stopped at somewhere nowhere.

A man came to the window and asked people if they want roasted corns. Those young boys purchased some and asked me if I want one. I nodded my head and gave 10 rupees. One of those boys asked me to get down and join them. Yeah, I was on upper berth.

“Are you people Gujarati?” I asked them.

“Yes, and you?”

“Me too”

“Where’s you from?”

“Valsad” and we started talking in Gujarati. It’s fun to talk in a language that no other people around you can understand and we all were from different regions of Gujarat so everyone has the different accent. Local people in that coach were just watching us talking.

Those boys were also working for army. All of them met each other for the first time but they seems like friends for years. They told their life story, how they were trained, where they were trained and all. It was very interesting talking to them. They were living life to the fullest. I gave them some movies to watch. Entire day passed with them. They made me forgot everything happened a day before.

Finally we arrived at pathankot cant. Four of them were posted there and two at Jammu. So I got my company up to my destination. They did guide me where I am going to find a cheap lodge, from where I should shop, from where I could get cab, etc. I see after crossing Pathankot, the view outside has completely changed. Beautiful landscape, army men guarding with guns. Huge rivers with little water, round shaped well-polished stones on river bank.

At 7:30, I reached Jammu.

‘If he really knows me, he know I’m coming and he will come to the station to take me’ I was day dreaming and someone’s bag hit me and my bubble burst.

Those boys again reminded me where I could find the lodge and how much I should pay and be careful with local vendors, they will loot me. I get down from the train, started moving out of the station. It was very crowded, you can hardly move. The entire station was full of army men arriving from different areas of the country in different trains.

What side I should go? East or west. I need to analyse. Hmmm I am from western region, my home is on west side of station, and my hostel is also on west side. So west is the right side (though east was on right and west was leftJ) I am going with the west. As it was very crowded it took me 20 minutes to get out of station.

So, finally, I am at Jammu after travelling 34 hours. I started looking around. It was nothing close to what I thought. I don’t believe in ‘first impression is last impression’ philosophy. So, I am going to give it a sort and try to like though I hated it at first.

“Hey!” someone shouted and I looked back.

Those army guys were there waiting for cab. They guided me to lodge. I was entering in one and remembered that I have to withdraw some money first. I looked for those guys but they were gone. I asked several peoples for nearby ATM. No one replied, they acted like they were very busy. I walked around a mile, no one even listened me asking. Even Mumbaikars helps anyone in need in their always busy schedule. Finally, one Sardarji guided me to ATM.

I saw an ice-cream vendor near ATM. First went to him to eat something nice after two days. I took my favourite ‘Black Current Sundae’. While eating I asked that vendor for a lodge. And he told me about the same lodge Army men told me. He asked me from where I came. I told him, I’m from Ahmedabad

“Gujaratis are very friendly people. I’m from Bihar, many of my relatives work at Surat.” He said with a huge smile.

I smiled back and went to ATM after finishing my Sundae. I withdrew money, went back to that lodge, but it was full. Went to next, also full. Next, full. I fed up. Gave up all hopes of finding a lodge. I decided to go back in any train I will get and I saw those Army guys again. They took me to some another lodge where they were staying.

“This city smells so bad”, I told.

“Yeah, but you will be used to it in some hours only” one of those army men replied sarcastically.

“There’s only a few places left” Lodge manager told me. “Would you like to enrol your name in register with this man?”

“what? I don’t get it.”

“Means, you will get room only if you say you two guys came together”

“But I don’t know him. I am meeting this man for the first time. How could I …”

“If you want a room to stay, you have to. Otherwise, forget it. Everything is packed and you won’t get room at any other lodge at this time.” He interrupted me.

“And you are sharing a room with 14 people”, army man said.

“Means we are 15 unknown persons staying in the same room? How big is this room?”

“It’s a hall. And big enough for 15 persons” “Don’t worry you all have a separate bed.” The manager said quickly before I ask another question.

“Okay. And what about luggage?”

“There are lockers in the room. You can put your luggage in it, and here is a mess on left, there’s a water purifier on every floor and please relax. Don’t worry. You are safe here”

“Okay!”

The man with whom I have to stay with came, asked me to fill up the form and insist me to use his id card for identity proof. That’s strange. How could you do that? What if I commit some crime there and ran away. He could be jailed for that. His native was Jharkhand, a weird village name I couldn’t even pronounce. I fill it up. The only information I gave about me was my name. I gave him 500 bucks, he gave me 150 back and I went aside. There was a rush on reception.

At-least 5 or 6 people came to me and asked me for a pen. Why people don’t keep a pen with them.

“Let’s go”, he said. And we moved toward the lift.

Going upward, he checked the receipt and Hola!!!! We not only got different rooms, we got rooms on different floors even. He helped me find my room and left room only after making sure I got a good bed and I’m comfortable there.

“I’m on the 4th floor. If you need anything” he said.

I nodded head.

This trip is really giving me some very good experiences. People I’m not trusting on first place, are helping and caring for me.

I went to washroom to refresh. For my surprise it was clean and tidy. Changed clothes, lay down on my bed and started rewinding my two days journey. And I realised, rent for a room is 150 Rupees per person that man gave me only 150 Rupees back, he gave me his share only. Didn’t returned me change. I ran to his room, started looking for him but, I couldn’t remember his face. There was a man sleeping on bed covering his head with blanket. I went near him, pulled his blanket a little, it wasn’t him. Thank god, I didn’t woke him up. Everyone else in room was staring at me. I ran down to ground floor. I looked for him everywhere but couldn’t find him. I went back to my room with a sad face.

“Fuck man, this maths fucked with me once again”, I said to myself and my inner voice replied “Really? I think you should stop blaming others. You are the one keep trusting anyone.”

“Yeah, whatever. Next time I’m blaming you if anything went wrong.”

I entered in my room. And two 25 years boys (or man? I don’t know how to address) were fighting for charging mobile. Yeah. there was only on charging port.

I went to balcony. My room was on 3rd floor, so I got a pretty view. Entire station was visible from there. And it started raining. And trust me it was nothing near beautiful. It was looking horrible as hell. The trees were shaking like a rubber stick. Like someone is doing yoga. And lightening was giving perfect effect to its horribleness. I heard a very loud sound and then entire city went dark. I heard someone saying ‘Storm is coming’. Neither was it GOT reference nor Sam smith’s song.

I decided to go back home. (For sure this time) I can’t stay here anymore. Nothing looks good here.

Half an hour later power came back. I went to mess to eat. I didn’t had proper food for last two days. I see a man entering in lodge, wet and running towards stairs. He went up to first floor, and came back to me. I recognised him. He was that Jharkhand man. He came to mess with me, ordered food for me and gave back the change to me. He said he completely forgot and when he saw me he remembered.

I tried to eat food but it was terrible. Even train food was better than this. I left all food on my plate and asked the man seating on the counter about wastage fine. He seems confused. “Why you are asking for paying fine?”

I point my finger to one of the instructions on wall which say ‘one will pay extra charge if they waste the food.’

He laughed and told, “It’s just a suggestion, not a rule.”

That doesn’t make any sense, but why should I care. I went to my room.

I entered in my room. And two man were arguing for charging the phone. I change my clothes again, held my laptop bag very tight and fell to sleep. I was very tired so I went sleep at 11.00 p.m. which 4 hours earlier than my routine.

I woke up at 6 in the morning. Get ready. Checked out without informing that Jharkhand man and rushed towards to railway station.

I see a long queue on a tiny ticket window. I looked around on walls for train time table and found the same train I came in. It was just 10 minutes to arrive that train and queue were moving very slow. The lady on the window was yelling at everyone for a change. A lady wearing Salwar and red lipstick at the window asked me “yes?”

“One Ahmedabad”

“345 rupees. You have change right?” she asked very rudely.

“Yeah. Take this.”

I took my ticket and ran towards platform. No LED indicator was showing my train, but I went to platform no. 2. Because platform no. 2 mostly go downside. (Not necessary, but that’s my logic)

Platform was crowded but I found a spot to seat. An hour passed but my train didn’t arrive. I saw people arriving at Jammu and people going to Katra. Another hour passed, felt like another sign to not to leave. But, I didn’t want to stay here anymore. Waiting for 2 hours and there wasn’t any announcement for train for a single time.

After 15 minutes, the train arrives. General compartment was at the end of the train. I ran towards it. Few passengers were already in train. I got a window seat (every passenger’s ultimate goal). There was a couple seating in front of me. One man entered in coach and sat next to me.

“I want to go to Pathankot. This train is going first or the train on platform no. 3 going Delhi?”

“I have no idea.”

“Where’s you are going?”

“Ahmedabad”

“Okay, good.” He said. “This is superfast right?”

“I’m afraid it’s not. What ticket you have?”

“I’m from Army. I got this memo to travel.”

“Okay!”

Leaving his bag on the seat. He gets down the train and went to the driver of that Delhi-going train. 10 minutes after he came back.

“This one is going first”, he said and the train started moving.

The journey of 33 hours in general compartment accompanied by unknown and overfriendly people begin.

After pathankot, more passengers started boarding in. I see people from Gurudwara serving passengers water and Lemonade. Thanks to them for saving my 120 bucks for a day. Whatever I haven’t noticed going there, all I see coming back home. Big and beautiful, green farms and people working there, huge houses with a round shaped water tank and a large Eagle statue on some of them. I’ve seen random people keep staring at me like I’m alien with a beard. I’m used to it. So it doesn’t make me uncomfortable. All day, I observed things, people around me and their behaviour.  The day passed doing all this.

I tried to sleep, but couldn’t. Dust from outside was coming in. and was very hot inside so couldn’t even shut window. Another day passed. Time was passing very fast till yesterday, started passing very slow. I took my novel out of my bag and started reading. After reading some pages I got bored. Went to the door of train. I saw peacocks, blackbuck and cows outside. It was sand everywhere, and some Acacia tree. I saw a paper flying out of the door.

“Wait, what was that? Is it someone’s train ticket or what?” I checked my pocket.

“Fuck! It was my ticket.” Why the hell I put it in my shirt’s pocket. Why?

When everything is going good, it must have to happen something worst. I planned to get down at one station and before Ahmedabad to purchase new ticket and get back in train. 6 stations passed. But I couldn’t do it. It remained just as a plan. Finally, at Sabarmati station, I get down with all my baggage and ran to T.C., told him everything. After long discussion, I gave him last 500 bucks as fine. He gave me back 200 rupees back by charging minimum of fine. He even asked me to not purchase another ticket and if someone ask me for ticket show them this memo.

“Whatever next train will arrive, get in, don’t worry and be careful next time. Okay”

ADI – AJMER Intercity arrived in 10 minutes. That T.C. asked me to get inside. I went in. it was almost empty. I put my bag on seat and went to wash up. My hair was mess filled with dust. I washed up and sprayed perfume. Took my baggage, get down at Kalupur railway station. Took an auto for Geeta Mandir, get bus for Anand and went to my hostel. Locked myself in for hours. Promised to never ever ever get back with him again. Deleted his number. Cut off that so called friendship from my life. Took a shower, refreshed myself. Came out from room with a big smile. Blend in world again like nothing has happened.

I did it successfully. It’s been 3 days today and I’m doing well. I was watching a movie on my laptop.

“Hey, your cell is ringing ”, my roommate told me.

It was an unknown number. I picked it up.

“Hey, how’s it going?” I was confused because I don’t know who he was. I really suck at recognising voice on the phone. “Can you hear me?”

“Wait.” I went to the terrace. “Yeah! Say now.”

“Sorry for that day. I thought you were kidding. You always play prank so…” It’s him.

‘Fuck man I should have worn flip-flops, it’s so hot on terrace.’ I didn’t reply him because this is what was going in my mind. And if he told the same thing again, I could have replied him this.

“And it happened for better that you didn’t come there. Next day riots started here.”

“I did came there and stayed a night.”

“What?” he didn’t hear it properly and didn’t bother to say again.

“Nothing. Why you called?” I asked.

“Just inform me, what is the last date to submit fees. And sorry once again.”

“No. why are you saying sorry. I am the one who should be sorry. I am the one who acted very juvenile. Couldn’t get your joke.” I replied sarcastically and hung up.

“You should have suggested me before picking up call that it could be him” I blamed my inner voice. “Now answer this question”

“Am I juvenile enough to not forgive him or mature enough to forgive him. Or vice versa.”

My inner voice didn’t reply. It remained silent for the first time.

FIN.

I fucked up…. (Once again…. (As always….!))

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This story has nothing to do with any living or dead person. It is work of fiction mixed with my travel experience.

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Several weeks ago I asked my friend, would he take me to roam around in his hometown ‘Jammu’. He agreed immediately. I was very happy because I love to travel. But I thought he was kidding or he might thinking that I’m kidding so I asked him several times. Every time he was like “yeah buddy do come”. And as me being myself, was very excited. I checked for reservations and called him; told that I’m going to be there on this particular day. And booked ticket. Packed the bags.

And here I’m today at Ahmedabad Railway station, going Jammu. All alone. There’s no one with me.

I board the train after traveling around 50 miles from my hostel which is 217 miles from my home, I called him to inform that I board the train.

“yeah… I’m coming……….. Like seriously!!!”

“Yeah… good… Nice joke.” He replied calmly after listening to me.

And I was like “what?”

“Nice joke buddy” he again said.

“I’m not getting what you are saying”

He again said the same thing. And I asked him same thing again n again but his response didn’t change. I heard him very the first time but it wasn’t the response I was expecting.

“I can’t hear anything like train announcement or something and there’s no train by this time… so nice try.”

“I’m sending you my PNR number,” I said furiously.

“Okay send it” “wait, I don’t have internet here, I’m at Kashmir. And you should have called me” he said.

“But I told you earlier that I’m coming and what should I do now? I’m in train at Ahmedabad and it is going to leave the station in 10 minutes. And….”

“I thought you were kidding all the time” he interrupted me.

And there was a silence for 30 seconds.

“Just tell me what I have to do now. I should go back or what?” – I broke the silence.

“But I sent you a text on FB last night, go check it”

If I had checked that text, why would I call him after boarding train? That’s common sense or what I call it common non-sense. But never mind. It must be my mistake. As always.

And now a silence for 2 minutes. This time, he broke the silence.

“Say something”

“you say what to do now?” “Okay, I think I should go back”

I wasn’t sure (as always), but I thought going back would be the good decision. So I told him that I’m going back.

“Sorry,” he said.

And I hung up.

It is said that “when you are not sure, don’t do it”.

And whenever anyone has two option, they consider their most favourable option as ‘a’ and least favourable as ‘b’. And they always go with option ‘a’. But things don’t work like that for me. So I gave a chance to option ‘b’.

I changed my decision. I’m not going back. I’ve spent fucking 600 bucks on that ticket, the exact amount I usually spent in three days. I gonna go all alone and come back all alone. That too alive.

Every time something like this happens to me, I’m like ”why me?”

There are so many people living happily. Make their life miserable. Why me all the time. But this time, I know I was the one who fucked up. And I deserved it. Means I was the one who used to pull a prank on everyone. So one day it has to come back to me. Karma is a bitch.

Today it became very clear why it always happens to me. And the answer is, because I’m stupid enough to try to make my own story, create each chapter carefully, this will happen and I will react like this then this will happen. It took me so long to realize that life and novels are two completely different things. You never live the story you are trying to create for yourself, you have to live what others are carving for you; no matter how messed up it is. Because that’s the life.

In meantime, I noticed a girl. I’m very bad at guessing things; especially age. But I think she was 25 or something. She was constantly staring at me since I board on train. When I was talking on phone, she was listening me carefully which makes me little uncomfortable. I hate when people listen others talking on phone. I don’t want anyone ever to know negative side of me and she was listening my conversation which was letting her know how messed up I am. I saw her expression were changing every second listening that shit. I was able to read her face. She was feeling pity on me and try to talk to me and condemn me and was confuse to talk to a stranger or not who misinterpreted a joke and packed a bag to travel 217 miles. So I made her get out of dilemma. I tried my best to ignore her.

So finally train left the station. And I again started getting mixed feelings. May be this isn’t a best decision. I am going north. People fight there for anything. I should go back hostel, tell everyone I got sick so I am not going. Or just go with flow and do what I’ve planned. I took my bag, get off my seat and put my bag again and told myself “okay I am going because I planned it for weeks and no one can stop me doing this”.

That girl (or woman (whatever is politically correct to address her)) is still staring at me. Now she has a company of two males. The way they were communicating they must be her family members. And now they are also staring at me. They also tried several times to talk to me and every time they tried to do I started looking out of window or try to search something inside my bag. I know what they would talk. “Where’s you going?” “Why are you going there?” “We are also going there” “why are you going alone?? Why there’s no one with you?” “What you do?” and all that crap.

After Mehsana, I received that shitty train food. I tried to eat that shit but barely completed 2 rotis, I was angry and it was even worse than expectation so I throw it out of the window. I usually don’t litter but this time, it was obvious. I can throw my laptop when I’m angry; so food is not a big deal.

Fucccckkkkkkk!!!! I was looking for my novel in my bag and realized that I forgot all my cash in other bag; which is at my hostel room.  Just two minutes ago I had 4000 bucks and now it’s just 1200 INR. Wow… my account is also empty as always. As people say it’s a sign but I already have just passed Palanpur so now I can’t go back. And I need money. What to do? What to do? I called my friend ‘D’, every time I’m in some shitty situation I call him and ask him for help. Though he never get me out of it, but calling him helps in it’s own way.

The moment he picked up call I ask him to not to ask me anything but help me with some money immediately by transferring at-least 2000 bucks. He told me, He just shifted Vadodara a day ago for the job and was unemployed for months. So no money. But he made me sure that he’ll manage and make it avail to me by evening. I hung up. Get back to my seat.

“You’re so mean… you didn’t even ask him how the hell he’s doing. And what’s wrong with you? The person who never ask people for his own money to give back is now asking for credit. You are calling him after 3 months. You fucked this up, you should suffer, why are you asking him for help?” My inner-self told me.

“I can’t take money from him, I have to do something else”, I told myself.

So, now I had only one option, the ultimate ‘Brahmastra’ – my sister. I called her and told exactly same thing I told to D. and she did. That was something unexpected. This was the first time she didn’t ask me 1000 questions before doing a favour. A day full of surprises huh. Everyone is behaving totally different than their nature. I think I should stop judging people. And I get ready to experience ‘The Art of Travel’.

When the train was about to reach a family came into my compartment and woman from them started chatting with that girl. I heard them talking that both of those family were going Pathankot. That girl was married to a guy work for army canteen at Pathankot cant. And that another family is going there because, the head of family was posted there. Till I reach Jodhpur, about 11 hours from I board on train, I got to know that most of the passengers in my and adjacent coaches are Gujarati and work for Indian army.

I got scared of them. Technically, I shouldn’t. I should feel safe around them but, I hate interrogation. I mean definitely they are going to ask me where I am going, why I am going there, why alone etc. when civilians ask you it’s different and when army men ask you it’s totally different. What if they think I’m terrorist and I cannot give a reasonable answer what is the purpose of my tour. And I have a tattoo in Urdu on my wrist which mostly draw strange people’s attention (and one of reason behind people think I’m mysterious).

One time I was clicking photographs at railway station and two guys came to me and asked me why I was clicking pictures of empty station, do I work for any terrorist or anti national organization. Though they were just doing right thing, because clicking picture at railway station is not allowed and anyone could misuse those photographs. But how could they accused me of being a terrorist. Once it has happened and I don’t want it to happen again. Once it was enough.

So, I created a story (as always),

‘I was going to spend holidays over there with my friends, but for some reason, they cancelled plan at last moment but I am going on backpacking at India’s most beautiful state.’ Partially true. Not friends but ‘a friend’ ditched me and not most beautiful but most dangerous and controversial state.

And I was right as always. (not always actually) one of those army men came to me and asked me all those questions while seating on my seat. Exact all those questions. One other man also asked me same questions but I didn’t tell him why I was going their thanks to that call I got at that time.

I told the story sentence to sentence as I created to that second guy, a six feet looks like a wrestler with the spiral mustache. But with my surprise, he asked me a question I never thought of.

“Where at Jammu?”

And I had no clue. I don’t even know a name of any place over there. And how I could be so stupid or what I call myself ‘juvenile’, that I had no idea what places I am going to visit. But I told him I was going on backpacking then why he asked me this question.

Then he added, “go to Gulmarg. It’s awesome. But one should go there when snowfalls. Next time make a trip with some friends, go to Chandigarh, take a bike and travel from Himachal to Kashmir. It would be the greatest trip of your life.”

And I was like “yeah bro, sure. Next time. Thanks.”

“hey, can you please go to my seat which is in next compartment? I got three seats in this compartment and one in another one” – an army man with broken hand traveling with his family asked me.

“I cant leave them all alone here and sleep there.”

“yeah, okay”, I said though I don’t want to go. But that is the least I could do for them as they are saving us and our country.

I went to another coach, he came behind me and helped me find his seat and told me to call him if I got any trouble. I fell asleep after he left.

 

CONTINUE…..