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Train - Train, Don’t Come Again!

A look of confusion was plastered on our faces. We looked at the scene in front of us like a tennis match. Being pushed from one side to another, we stood there, clutching onto each other’s hands, scared for our lives.

No, we weren’t being chased by the Italian mafia. We were in a deadly situation, but not quite. We were at a train station, travelling by a Mumbai local train… for the very first time.

We, as in my friend and I, let’s call her “Poodle”, had promised another friend to attend an event at her college. The distance was too long and the list of means to travel- short. And since our friend was extremely strict about the “You owe me” policy, we had to go.

As a child, I’d always face confusion while writing essays on “My First Train Journey” simply because I hadn’t had much of an experience, rather any experience. And since many of my classmates found themselves in a similar place, we were told to write things like “the coolies were helping people carry their bags”, “we found our seat and sung on the way to our destination” Little did I know, that these sentences were just one of the perks of being a delusional child with no real opinion whatsoever.

And be it 10 years ago, or now, confusion seemed to be a lingering feeling all the way from the ticket counter to the train itself. Unlike always, that day confidence was simply not my strong point. After asking (or rather stuttering) for our tickets, we found our way to the platform.

And as every English paper tests us with ,”No sooner did I reach the station, than the train left”, life did that too. With a panic-stricken face, Poodle began to run after the train as fast as she could. Being the kid at Sports Day who never got to the finish line, I obviously couldn’t keep up with her. I didn’t know whether I was making a bigger fool of myself trying to run or the fact that I was running on the platform screaming, “Don’t try getting on! This isn’t DDLJ! You’re not Sharukh and I’m most definitely not Kajol.”

So after about 2 minutes of pointless athletics and our breath running out, we lost hope and came to a halt, unlike the train we’d just missed. After asking around, we decided to wait for the next train that arrived in 15 minutes. Other trains came and went by, and before my eyes, I could see women falling out of the ladies compartment and in that moment I decided to do a very Chandler Bing thing to lighten up the mood and said, “I hope these women don’t have a falling out!” Well, I certainly didn’t hear any laughter from my audience, all I got was a plain, simple glare from Poodle.

This time however, we had a countdown two minutes before the train arrived so that we could catch it in time. As soon as it began to halt, we ran to the first compartment we saw. People were gushing out of the compartment and others pushing, and trying to get in. I held Poodle’s hand and made sure we got on safely, only to realize we got into the wrong compartment. Either way, there was no going back out now, so we just sat in the first empty place we saw.

All throughout the journey, we remained extremely alert and kept a count of the stations. The word “nervous” was written all over our faces. The train ride got over much faster than we’d imagined and just as we got off the train and stood at the platform, unsure if it was even the right station, we looked at each other and screamed, “WE DID IT!”

People around looked at us, extremely worried about our well-being but we continued to giggle. The experience was definitely daunting and it wouldn’t be something I’d recommend. But if someday, you wake up and realize you’re feeling adventurous and maybe even suicidal, this should be the first thing on your list!

                                                                   – Zara Humranwala

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