It was 10 Dec, a sunny Saturday afternoon. I woke up packed my bags, wore my boots and was all set for my first overnight trek. I checked my whatsapp to find out my lecture got cancelled. Lisa was going to meet us at the station directly. Our train was at 2:18 pm. We reached the station at 2:10.
All I remember was a small group gathering with unfamiliar faces enthusiastically greeting us while we joined the circle.
I was desperate to pee.
So I politely shook everyone’s hand. And rushed to the loo, handling my bag to Rajat. I stood in line, after a matter of minutes, I told the lady in front of me I had to use the loo, urgently ( all this was said,hopping from one foot to another to seem desperate) otherwise I would miss my train. She was kind enough and allowed me to enter. I peed in a matter of seconds rushed out and went back to where I left them.
Missed my train
they weren’t there. I realised my phone and my money was with Rajat. I slowly started panicking. I knew I had to take a Kasara train. There were 2 trains to Kasara, one fast one slow. I walked to the fast one and went to at least 5 compartments to find a familiar face.Then I looked at the time it was 2:16. I had two minutes, I rushed to the other platform and went 3 compartments down no face. I rushed back and The only thing I could as I see now was the train pulling out and all I could do was whisper ” no, no no, to myself,shit,f***” and put my hand on my head. I literally held back tears and was going through the longest one minute mental breakdown anyone could ever go through. I lost my capacity to speak.
After that, my brain suddenly activated and it made a mental list of what I needed to do.
1. FIND PHONE
2. CONTACT MOM
3. MOM- LISA NUMBER
4.LISA tell her missed train. What now?
Find a phone.
I asked a couple, the lady could I borrow her phone to make a call. She looked at me with shock look on her face. I could make out I made her comfortable, she was giving me excuses like, I have no signal and no balance. I couldn’t take it the last few things. My brain was pounding. I asked another lady, she again said “no”. Honestly who would, I didn’t fit into the crowd. I was wearing black track pants, with brown hiking boots, a full sleeved grey shirt and a pink top on it. It was fishy for anyone. After a good 3 people, rejecting me, I held back tears and felt weak at the feet, till finally I approached 2 college looking girls I approached and asked if I could borrow their phones to make a call.
Spoke to the mother
I quickly called my mom , my voice started to break As Soon as I said “mom, I’m at the station, I’m calling you from this number, because, I missed the train. My money , my phone my ticket is the the train with everyone.” Mom says “don’t worry. I will give you Lisa’s number,” and I looked the girls, who were looking at me, like I was helpless and I finally found some hope on the phone called. I called Lisa, and she gave the phone to Shazia ,who told me to calm down and that I wasn’t the only one who missed the train. She said she would message me the number and I should contact him. And suddenly the phone gets cut.
Finishing phone balances of strangers
Till I realised finished the girls balance. I looked up at her, as she gave me the smile , that says ” it doesn’t matter, I can refill it again”. I apologised and the. Noticed her train pulling out. I asked her whether that was her train, she said it doesn’t matter, I can catch the next one. Now I felt completely guilty,the only stranger trying to help me,I finish her balance and making her miss her train. I went to nearest cobbler at the platform and asked for a pen and wrote the number down. And then as I looked up, I thanked them and said you have been the kindest people to me. Helping me. They said its nothing, the least we could do.
Receiving 100 bucks from strangers
They said “now what?” I then told them, that my friend told me another guy missed the train and he is coming to the station so I will meet him near the ticketing counter. She asked me “Do you have money to buy a ticket?” I gave her a weak smile and said ” no, everything I owned went in that train” , she then, scuffled through her bag and opened her wallet and handed me a 100₹ note, she said that would be enough for me to buy a ticket and eat some food. I looked at her and said” I can’t take that from you, I had already made you miss your train, finished your balance, I can’t, it’s to much for me too take it, I assured her my friend was coming, but she was determined to give me the money.
I thanked her a gazillion times as I walked away. Then she said yelled out at me asking ” What’s your good name? I looked backed rather embarrassed to have forgotten to ask their name. I said ” I am Payal” and she immediately replied, ” Payal I hope you find your bag” I looked at her in awe. I was flushed with emotions and I thanked her immensely.
Find the boy
After that my next move was to Riyaaz and tell him where I am. So I was on my next mission hunting for a phone. I went straight to the ticketing counter line I asked a man could I make a call. he said sure, but he would dial the number. Called Riyaaz and informed him that I would be sitting near the line and I’m wearing a pink shirt. After that I explain to the man, who looked shocked, and I thanked him. I rushed to find another phone to call my mother update her about my situation. By the time I sat down it was 3pm. I was so relieved that I started laughing at myself. So much drama could have been avoided if I just peed at hostel.It was 3:15 when a guy in black shirt passed me, and I literally thought, maybe that’s him, but then I said no. And it was. He walked backwards and said ” you’re Payal?” I said yes As I got up, I said hi, he said so you have a ticket, I smiled sheepishly and said “no”. We stood in line and I asked hi, of I borrow his phone to tell my mother I was there called .
Feasting on the platform
We bought the tickets. I asked him how he got late? He replied ‘ My mother was making the chicken, she wouldn’t let me leave without, by the time I was in the cab there was peak traffic and I called Shazia, to tell her that I’m backing out,that I won’t make it and she told me another girl missed the train she’s doesn’t have any money, and she’s catching the next train, so why don’t you join, and he said ” here I am”
I opened up his tiffin of chicken and a neatly stacked newspaper pile of roti’s and began feasting in the middle of a busy station at 3:30 pm. With my mouth stuffed I told him this was the best thing I have eaten. I loved it. While writing this, I can still remember the favour of the chicken.