“8, 16…32, 33,34…. 35, huh! 35”, I dropped my luggage on the floor.
“Arun .. Arun.. here” I waved to my friend. He was carrying another big luggage of mine. It was winter holidays and I am going home. So this much luggage is expected.
“Which one?” Arun asked
“35”, I replied.
“But 35 is mine”, A young lady spoke at once.
“B4 35. It’s mine” I showed her the ticket.
“Mine also is B4 35”, she also showed me the ticket.
“How come it is possible? Your ticket is fake see the Indian Rail logo is not visible”, I am sure.
“Jijaji (Brother-in-law) has booked my ticket from the counter, yours is fake. It’s only a printed copy” She pushed her opinion.
I am not going to listen. I pushed my luggages under the seat and tied them together with a chain.
“Let the TTE arrive”, I put the key in my pocket making it clear that I am going nowhere.
Others are also surprised to know that both of us has a ticket for the same seat.
An old uncle could not wait for more “Is your ticket showing RAC?”
We both have the same answer and spoke almost at the same time “No.”
“Can I have your ticket please”, Arun asked me. He took the ticket and vanished without uttering a word.
I made myself comfortable, no further dialog is opened.
Arun returned and asked me to take out the luggages.
“Why? Where did you go?” I asked Arun without moving an inch.
“I got out of the train to check if your name is in the reservation list but ..” Arun was in the middle of a sentence when the girl spoke up “it’s not there. I told you, it’s my seat.
She giggled as if she won a battle. I am not going to buy that and looked up to Arun for explanation.
“Your ticket is upgraded to second AC. Hurry up now!” Arun added.
This answer made the girl’s win little pale.
We took our luggage and jumped out of the coach.
“Which coach?” I asked Arun.
“You are going back to the hostel. Check the date” Arun handed over the ticket to me.
The ticket says 28 December 2016 and today is 27th.
“It would have been embarrassing, if I tell the truth inside.” Arun was right.
We are back to the hostel. Next morning Arun came to my hostel room only to share another news “Your train is cancelled. So book another in tatkal.”
“Oh no! Why this happen to me all the time?” I complained.
“You should be thankful to your stars. Yesterday’s train met an accident.” He threw the newspaper to me.
All of a sudden I was not feeling good. I took the newspaper and read line by line. All the faces in the coach came alive to me. The little girl who shared a smile as if I know her from ages when I entered, the old man who tried to help genuinely and yes, the young lady I had a fight with. I don’t know any of their names, shared a few words, mostly showing off my ego or just passed on smile selflessly.
Life is very strange. We keep on fighting for betterment, neglect relationships, create a virtual but strong wall around us but at last, death claims it all. I just hope all are safe.