Traveling by bus is what I hate, air travel is what I can’t afford and traveling by train is what life means to me. Whenever it comes to recalling a memorable journey, there is only one journey that comes to my mind. It was way back in year 2009, I along with my brother and some of his friends were all set to leave for Viasiano devi (A holy Shrine.)
It was Sunday morning; when we were suppose to board our train. I was working on Saturday night, my shift got over around 4AM. I dropped a bomb on my team coach, stating that I will not be coming tomorrow. I boarded my cab, reached station exactly 10 minutes prior to the time of train departure. And here is when the journey began.
By the time train moved on, I was already on sleeper bench. This was because I wanted to cover my sleep for whole last night. I was unable to sleep, thanks to those folks traveling along with me. They were up their stuff; talking loudly, playing cards and what not. Their intention was clear; they did not want me to sleep, though I was still trying. After about half an hr, there was a group of eunuch in train and they were asking for money from everyone. All of these so called friends and my brother told them was “Aunty hum tu naukar adami ha..hamara malik tu upper su raha ha” (Mam we’re just the servants, our owner is sleeping above.)
I heard this all clearly and I was trying to show that I was sleeping. I did not act smart nor did anything else; I just kept my eyes close. They were calling for me and trying to wake me up. And what they did after that was the most funniest and embarrassing part for me. One among them moved her hand over my manhood. I was all shocked, alert and awake by now. Acting as if I woke up from a sleep, I said what happen. And they were all around me, asking for some money. I had no clue at that time, what I was suppose to do. All I kept on saying was “Aunty, mein kaha se du passe” (Mam, where should I give you money from.) They did not listen and continued moving their hand all over me. Finally, I accepted the fate and gave them 100 bugs. And then they left me. Everyone around were laughing at the molestation done by these people on me. By now sleep was already lost somewhere in that train only. I came down, had a glass of tea. By now we were somewhere near Ambala. All of us were standing on the door of the train. I and my brother were sitting. We were thoroughly enjoying that cold breeze and the tea in our hands.
The next station that came is where the real fun began. I don’t remember the name of the station now, but very well remember what we did there. All of us stepped down from the train, expect of one guy who was taking care of our bags.
It was an empty station, not much people around. Four of us sat on different places at station. The halt time was around 2 minutes. We kept sitting at our places, looking at train. We did not move an inch, even when the train started moving at a slow speed. Our coach passed by us. We were still sitting there. The train speed increased a little fast; more then what we expected.
And then we ran, we ran like the last thing in this world is to catch that train. We shouted at each other, just board, don’t look around. And that’s what we did. I somehow boarded the AC couch. And I was not supposed to be there. My ticket was booked in non AC couch. I was sure of one thing that everybody has boarded the train but did not know that who was in which coach. No one’s phones were working, because they were prepaid. (A prepaid phone does not work beyondPunjab.)
I sat on the door of AC couch, thinking that where the other people might be. I was worried that the TC should not see me. The journey in that AC couch was like never ending. The next station came and I stepped down from the coach. On platform there were only 4 people. Those fool who tried to catch the speed of train. We all laughed out loud at that time. And guess what we did. We again sat on platform, waiting for train to move. But this time, we were able to board train and our couches. The fun was ultimate. We reachedJammuaround 6PM and we were to head towards Katra without waiting for a minute. And now I will tell you about the biggest suspense and fun of this journey. Our return tickets were booked for Monday evening 4PM.
Our parents scolded us so much, when we told them that we would be on a 2 day journey only, that to by train. We boarded the state buses (YES, I know I hate it.) We reached Katra by around 9.30 PM. And as soon as the bus stopped me and my brother ran to get ourselves Yatra tickets. (Getting a Yatra ticket is must in Vaisano Devi.) The counter was supposed to close at 10 PM and then start again at 4AM. We had no time to waste. It was me and my brother who got the last Yatra tickets. We went to our hotel room, had bath, that to with ice cold water. It was already so cold outside, but getting hot water in that hotel was no option. We packed ourselves in all possible clothes; and left.
We had our meal and exactly at 11PM we started moving towards ‘Bhavan’. We opted to walk and decided that we will catch up straight at ‘Bhavan’. Mid way came the difficult part. It was damn cold. It was all black. We were running against time. And we all knew that we have to make to the station tomorrow on time. At around 3 AM, I reached ‘Bhavan’. I had no clue where others were. I was damn hungry and tired. I could not even stand properly. Here came the biggest confusion in front of me and others to (which I got to know later.) In rush of time, we decided that we will catch up at Bhavan but did not decided that where at Bhavan. I kept looking for everyone else. I got announcements done, looked all over. And finally around 3.30 found everyone else. We then grabbed ourselves ‘Rajma Chawal.’ We then had our bath. The water was of ice. It was chilling. The cold air made it more difficult. And finally we had the most beautiful ‘Darshan’, anyone could have.
We headed towards, Bharo mandir at around 5AM. All of us opted to take horse ride. The minute we entered the temple, the door were shut. We were among the last set of people allowed inside. After we came out, we all had a glass of tea. I was exhausted, moreover because I had no sleep for almost 30 hrs. It was around 5.30 AM now. And before we headed towards Katra, we said “at 5 we have a train to board.”
Coming down is always easy as compared to coming up. That is for obvious reasons, one does not have to use too much of power. We took stairs, we ran, we did everything to make sure that, we reach on time. One thing we missed out in keeping track of time was that we rested a lot of times. Mid way, we had ‘Rajma-Chawal’ only once. At around 11.30, we reached Katra and went to our hotel. We had our breakfast, and then we took bath.
We packed our bags; and boarded the buses towardsJammu. We reached the station at 3.30 PM. It took us sometime to get our bags checked, and locate the platform. The train was already on platform. We located our seats, and settled down. We knew that the next station is not too far. So I, my brother and another friend decided to be above the train instead of been inside the train. We wore caps, jackets and everything and some how reached the roof of train and laid down; so that nobody could see us. As train moved we stood up. We loved the cold breeze; my sleep was not disturbing me now. I tried to stand up, but could not. As the other station came, we jumped off and went back to sit on our sits; and said to ourselves “we boarded the train.”