Friday, 3 July 2015

Alappuzha Express!!!

Sometimes, we understand the value of things only when we are on the verge of losing them...

That's why, even though my senior readily allowed me to leave office early, and I reached back much earlier than usual, I just didn't bother to leave for the railway station well before time, simply because I knew I would catch the train anyhow...

So here I was, chattering and lecturing all along about the whole day to my grandma who is always all ears for anything I blabber about...She listens with great attention to my briefing of the day, which predominantly is filled with complaints, and comes up  with a crisp and unbiased analysis...And, while relishing my dinner, I explain to her my expectations for the coming days, based on the probable actions of the characters of this day... And she clearly points out where I'm wrong and asks me to stop imagining too much of things that are never actually going to happen...

So, when such an interesting session was going on between us, her eyes suddenly fell upon the clock...

"Go...Get ready...It's 7.45..."

I said I have time...And my mind automatically re-calculated the time to 7.30. Obvious...The clocks at our homes are by default kept 15 minutes fast, with the pseudo hope of helping us achieve "punctuality" at workplace.

I thought I'll leave after 8...After all, the train is at 8.45...

And here starts how my weekend got a nail-biting kick off..............

7.50 pm ( I suddenly realised that the clock's battery was replaced yesterday as it had stopped working and uncle had forgotten to keep it 15 minutes faster)

I check Ola App...My net gets slow..
The App seems to take an eternity to open...Finally it does open...

Auto is available in 3 minutes...I book the ride and I call the driver...
" Madam...I'm near Triplicane...I'm stuck in traffic. It will take atleast 20 minutes to reach Mylapore...Please cancel the ride and book another one.."

8.00 pm...

I didn't lose hope...I went to the nearby auto stand...
"Central ponam..."

"Central aa??Athellaam mudiyaathu ma"

"150 kodukkaren nga..."
"Traffic ma...athellaam mudiyaathu..."

The same sort of dialogue happened with 2-3 more auto-walas...I appreciated their unity in decision-making...

I ran back home...

8.15 pm...

I took my bag and started walking fast with all the might I can...Even on the way, no auto was ready to come...

Finally I saw an auto in front of the Ganapathy temple...With all my positivity, and without asking anything, I got into it and said, no...ordered...

"Central ponam...Seekram...Train poyudum"...

And that guy listened. As the auto stood at the first signal, my watch showed 8.20 pm..

That moment, I knew what tension meant...

It meant losing the much anticipated journey home...
It meant spending a weekend alone...
It meant taking back with me what I had brought with much affection for my mother...
It meant cancelling Monday's leave...
In short, it meant missing Alleppey Express...

I visualised my face if I saw the train leaving to Palakkad without me...I just couldn't take it...I want to be home!!!

I prayed with all my heart...I promised to be a good girl and cursed myself for being like this...Please let me go home...

Beach Road looked so long...All India Radio and Madras University buildings looked so unusually huge and lengthy...I lost all hopes and closed my eyes, while I literally crushed the iron bars of the auto (in fact...my hand is what got crushed...)

Suddenly, we took a right turn...

The red, old grand building with its white tall pillars showed in front of me...I didn't wait for the change, as I handed over those crushed rupee notes to the driver and ran to Platform No.6...The faded blue letters on that old white nameboard of the train that read "Alappuzha Express" greeted me with a winsome smile...I ran with all my might and energy till I reached S7...
I rubbed my hands wet with sweat over the chart to search my name...Seat No.24...

And as I put my bag down to the seat, drenching with sweat and gasping for breath, I looked around to see many more people like me...Fully exhausted...

"Ting...Ting...Ting...Passengers kind attention please...Train No.22639 from Chennai to Alleppey via Erode will leave shortly from Platform No.6..."

That moment, I knew what happiness is...It is this...It is what I right now feel as I write this...

It is closing my eyes to sleep on the upper berth of the train with the unbeatable and most beautiful feeling of anticipation...Of seeing my mother waiting for me at the railway station as I open my eyes tomorrow...

A Simple Message...

A Simple Message...