This is not a story of Friday the 13th. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of Saturday the 14th. The 14th of October that I was scheduled to go home for the long Diwali weekend and also my old man’s big 50. Needless to say I was buzzing with baseline excitement all day. But as the day progressed, my evening got curiouser and curiouser (Alice in Wonderland reference in case you were going to correct my grammar).
My train was at 22.20 hours. Being born to over anxious parents, by their constant nagging, I always end up at the station 2 hours prior to the scheduled departure. But I’m 21 now, I thought. Fully capable of making adult decisions all by myself. Or thats what I told them. Determined to not be there too soon or too late I booked a cab for 21.00 hours. Packed and ready to leave as soon as my driver called, I waited at the hostel gate excitedly, impressed with my pristine planning.
When at 21.15 hours he still hadn’t called, I opened the app to see that my booking was cancelled. Its okay, I booked another one and waited patiently. He called me 8 minutes later that he was at the gate. When I told him to come pick me up from the hostel, he said the gates were closed. “Its okay self, I’ll talk to the guard and get him to open the gates.” (I constantly keep having conversations with myself in my head). What I hadn’t realized during this was that it had begin to rain. Yay.
So I walk up the slope and tell the guard to let my cab in. Much to my chagrin, he told me he had orders to not do so and that I should walk upto the main gate (which by the way is a good 8 minutes walk from my hostel). I lose my temper then, round 1 of the many to come. How did he expect me to walk in the rain with two heavy bags up the slope to the gate? Couldn’t he just open the one right in front of him. He asks me to buzz off, annoyed with me. (p.s take him some sweets, self and apologize for the bad behaviour. He was just doing his job.)
So now frustrated and tears welling down my cheeks I start the climb while i answer a call from my father asking me if I’ve left considering how it was 21.45hours by then. I reach the front gate fully drenched. The driver has called and confirmed that he will be there in 10. And like a bolt of lightening it hits me that I forgot my father’s gift on the table, the same gift I’d been making for over a week. Crying round 2, I call my friend. She makes the 8 minute walk to the gate and like a savior brings the gift. The driver is still not here, I cant call him because my phone is waterlogged and the touch wont work anymore and its still raining.
Just as I am about to take the auto with 3 minutes to 22.00, my cab appears. I dump my wet luggage and wet self in it and tell him to hurry. He takes a look at my flustered face and red eyes and probably some tear tracks along my cheek and starts to make conversation with me. I calm down. He tells me we’ll make it in time and if not, he’d book another cab and take me home. I laughed. And calmed down some more. (p.s. Um, borderline creepy?). It was 22.12 hours when I reached the station. I fumbled with the change and thanked him and got off.
I checked the board that displays the arrival and departure list and my train is scheduled to leave at 00.20 hours. Wait what? Was there a mistake? I put my hand in my pocket to check and couldn’t find my phone. Crying round 3. Right there in the middle of platform of number 3 with a myriad people surrounding me, I hunt for my phone while crying dramatically. False alarm, I found it in my bag buried under my clothes.
After enquiring at the kiosk, it turned out that my train was delayed by two hours. And also the platform was super crowded. Yay.
After scavenging for a very wet (from the rains) seat, near a group of oglers and a bunch of extremely loud humans I resigned to my fate. I put my feet up on the suitcase (which during the course of the evening had somehow gotten sprained ), zipped up my hoodie and pulled it over my head (because akeli ladki khuli hui tijori jaisi hoti hai and all that) and settled in to get (not really) Watson upto speed. God bless her soul, she reacted with all the oohs and aahs in the right place.
Two hours later, way beyond my bedtime, when the train finally arrived, I couldnt wait to go to sleep. I entered and the stench of phenol and cockroach kill engulfed me. You’d think with that much disinfectant sprayed everywhere the cockroaches would be long dead but oh no. Hello superpowers who were ready to take over the world some day, and my berth for now. I brushed them off and fell on my seat and slept like a log.
I woke up to Sunday the 15th and the animated faces of my parents who came to pick their 21 year old very adult daughter up from the station. I hugged them, and everything in the world was right again.