3:50 Saurashtra Superfast Part I has been edited by Aashna Kanuga.
3:50 Saurashtra Superfast
When he saw the reservation chart declaring his allotted seat as RAC B6 31 in the Saurashtra Superfast, he had only one word for it, ‘Ugh!’. He was already in a bad temper. The conductor had charged him extra for his ‘huge’ luggage. The train was about to arrive, but he didn’t know where!
‘Now, where the hell is Platform 5?’ He was standing on Platform 3 waiting. On the other side was Platform 4. After which, there were only railway lines and with good-carriage trains on them. The tea vendor told him it was at the backside of Platform 4. And as he moved in the specified direction, suddenly the platform took a little turn and a railway line started. Sure enough, a sign on the pole declared ‘Platform 5’. What an ingenious way of working in a limited space!
When the Saurashtra Superfast arrived on the platform, dragging his suitcase and rucksack—which had testimonies of his mom’s affections—he reached his RAC seat. He swiftly placed his luggage beneath the berth so as to occupy the maximum space and then waited for the other person who was going to share the seat with him. It was already a side-lower berth, meaning it had less space compared to the opposite ones. He was sure that he wouldn’t be able to sleep.
All he prayed for was a good company; the person doesn’t need to delight him, but he shouldn’t disturb him either. Deep in these thoughts, he plugged his earphones into his ears and got lost in the music. After a while, he felt the train moving. “Good, so he couldn’t catch it. He must be late.” Happy with his conclusion, he settled down, and turned up the volume of his music player.
He felt a soft pat on his shoulder. A little annoyed, he turned around to see that a girl, wearing an orange kurti over black leggings with her shoulder-length hair untied, was saying something to him. She was carrying a backpack. In one hand, she had her handbag while the other one was busy in holding her hair in place. He took out his earphones and asked rudely, “What?”
“Is this B6 31?”
“Yes, it is. Can’t you read?”
“Yes, I can. But I am not sure about the coach. I was little late, so I had to climb into the first coach I saw.”
“Okay. Yes, it is B6 31…uhh… sorry, bit of bad temper.” he said. As he looked closer, he realized that he was talking to a type of girl that one doesn’t come across very often. She was a thing of beauty. Despite her repeated efforts, her hair kept falling in front of her face. When she tried to move them away from her face, she looked even more beautiful.
“It’s alright.”, saying this, she smiled and then started arranging her back-pack in whatever space was left beneath the berth.
“Oh, I can help you with that!”, saying this, he rearranged his luggage in a less aggressive manner. “What’s your name?”
“Isha”, saying this, she continued to arrange her luggage.
He had expected that she would ask his name. After her arrangements done, he hadn’t expected her to take out a book from her bag either. She chose the opposite corner, sat there with one leg beneath her and the other one folded over it. She started reading her book ‘When you can’t stop talking’ as the train moved on. He sat down, took a book out of his bag and pretended to read it. “What does she think of herself? What if she is beautiful? If she gives a smile, not all boys would start licking her feet. Go to hell!” He plugged in his earphones and started listening to the song ‘Mora Piya Mose Bolat Nahi’ (My beloved is not talking to me) on repeat.
A few hours later, over the sound of the song playing, he heard the unusually loud sound of clapping. He knew eunuchs were coming and therefore, pretended to sleep. As he heard them approaching nearer, he thought, “Isha, being a girl, would not worry about them. I don’t know what to do. Should I quietly give them a 10-rupee note? No, I should just pretend to be asleep.”
Somebody started caressing his cheeks and it was the second human contact for him during the day. It wasn’t soft like Isha’s. What should he do? He was just bidding his time. The eunuch said, ‘Aey uth na, janu. Abey de na.’
He didn’t move. Now the hand drifted towards his chest, opening his shirt-button. He had to do something. But what?
Come again next week for the second part of ‘3:50 Saurashtra Superfast’.
To read more by the author of 3:50 Saurashtra Superfast Part I, click here.