Years ago, I saw an interesting incident on Discovery Channel. A group of leopards, going hungry for several days finally hunted a bison and were all ready for the feast. They had hardly started when a few laughing hyenas (Kudoz to the person who coined the term ‘laughing’ for hyenas’ sounds) arrived from nowhere, scared the leopards off, took the food with them. The relatives of the so called King of the jungle, the fastest runners must have become the laughing stocks in their neighbourhood in the jungle.
The motive of the story was to know whether any of you have felt like those leopards? (Do tell me in the comments. I like comments. I laugh like hyenas when you do that) You can see how excited I become after seeing your comments here (00:30).
Coming back, I did feel like those leopards. My college ended a few days back and it was time to return to my hometown as fortunately, that is the place where I’ll be doing my first permanent job (Yayy). So in order to travel this journey of 1500 km from Kharagpur (West Bengal) to Delhi with loads and loads of luggage, I needed a train ticket which has to be booked by the most notorious website made in the world history – IRCTC. This website is like a relationship between two very possessive people. The presence of a third individual ‘crashes’ the relationship.
Since the normal tickets had already been booked till I became sure of my date of travel, I had to rely on the Tatkal (emergency) service. To give a little introduction to those who are unaware, this is a service which allows you to book the tickets 24 hours before the train departs. But this ‘allowing’ is as believable as your girlfriend’s “I am fine”. The train which I wanted has 132 tickets for Tatkal booking every day, the journey is of 18 hours, all coaches are air-conditioned and most importantly they give free food. But the most beautiful girl in the college never has just one admirer. The booking starts at 10am and I used to be ready with everything since 6am. Still, somehow I was proved to be late for two days. At 10:00 I fill my details, pay by internet banking at 10:01, the transaction becomes successful at 10:02 and I realize the 132 tickets were booked at 10:01. India would have been a superpower if the same dexterity was shown by people in every sphere. It was like you are thinking to have sex and the doctor comes shouting, “It’s a girl ! Congratulations !”
Anyways, the same thing continued for two days with being ticketless and five thousand bucks down. Fortunately I got an RAC (Reservation against cancellation) ticket in a train that takes 26 hours, in a coach without air-conditioning with a ticket that guarantees travel, but the berth has to be shared with another person, who somehow is never a cute girl 😦
But the God was with me (as the leopards thought) and just 4 hours before the departure, my ticket got upgraded to ‘confirmed’ which guaranteed me a shitty but complete berth in the shitty coach of the shitty train in a shitty weather (>40 degree Celsius).
Finally going home, happily I do my final packing and enter the train which was scheduled to depart at the comfortable hour of 4:15am and is never ever late. I go to my top berth and lie down with the fan taking all the heat from the ceiling and showering me with its love. Still, determined to sleep I close my eyes only to wake up by a ticklish feeling at my toes. Startled, I see that my topless overweight neighbour cannot be contained by his small berth and his hands are awkwardly trying to play with my toes. I fold my legs and spend the day reading a book.
As the night approached, I gladly welcome it because it was time to bid the scorching heat goodbye. Then, it was time for the hyenas to enter the scene. An elderly man came to me and said, “It is very difficult to travel without ticket”.
I : “Yes uncle, you are absolutely right” (How about, illegal ? )
He : I am glad you understand. Would you mind? (and he pointed at my berth)
I thought he needed a place to sit which I couldn’t refuse because of his age and the fact that every berth around me had two people sharing it. Yes, the lack of strictness in non-ac coaches makes the travel for those without tickets very easy.
I gave him the place to sit but the naughty fellow craved for more. When I closed my eyes he tapped on my legs and signaled me to move aside. Before I could react, he lied down with me with his feet near my face and vice versa. It was a berth that was probably 6 feet long and ONE FEET WIDE and two people and my laptop bag were on it. Needless to say, only that much portion of my body was lying on the berth which was necessary to keep me from falling. All the rest were hanging or taking support from other hanging things. The laughter of the hyena echoed in my ears. Yes he started snoring. Loudly. Louder than I ever heard. Woke up a child. The child started crying. Loudly. Louder than I ever heard. And that is how my confirmed ticket proved to be that bison who died in vain. Finally at 6 in the morning I ran towards my home to give some solid support to my ass and rest to my eyes.