24th May 2015
A metamorphic day in my life. I left the Room No. 104 of Hotel Shrinath in Jaipur at around 7:00 a.m. for my examination center – ‘The Brightlands Girls Senior Secondary School’. It was reasonably early since the exam was to start from 9:00 a.m. but then there was no scope of picking up any risk. I reached the exam center in half-an-hour and sat on the opposite side of the school in front of a store that was yet to open for the day. Since there was significant traffic on the road and significant noise as a consequence especially due to the exam, I put in the earplug and sat with my eyes closed in a meditative and trying-to-be thoughtless state. I had not brought any hand notes nor was I trying to recall any formula, I just wanted to be thoughtless as much as I can. I was not alone there. I a boy and a girl (probably siblings!) were sitting beside me in front of another store just beside the store in front of which I was leaning against the wall. I kept myself in meditating stance as long as I can and every 15-20 minutes, I used to check out my watch and get back to the antecedent state. The time seemed to advance really slow for me at that point in time and each minute seemed like a long wait. An hour passed by in this state of at least 70% thoughtlessness. It was around 8:30 a.m. I opened my eyes for the final time coming out of the most durable meditation I had ever done to date. I pulled out the earplugs and kept in the packet and the packet into the bag. Now, I was eagerly as well as apprehensively waiting for the school gate to open so that I could enter the center and then into the classroom that I was allotted. Few minutes of my staring towards the school gate passed by and then I saw the ‘probable siblings’ advancing towards the road and then waiting for the conducive configuration of the traffic for them to cross. Just a few moments later, subconsciously and of course luckily for them, I happened to turn my eyes away towards the place they were sitting and it fell on the mobile phone that was kept on the floor they have been sitting.
I got up and without a second thought and moving a few steps towards them shouted in a little loud voice, “Excuse Me.” They turned. “Ye aapka phone hai kya?” I asked pointing towards the phone.
Both of them quickly turned their eyes in the direction my index finger was shooting. They took no time to recognize that it was their’s phone. The boy walked quickly up to his phone and collected it.
He did not forget to thank me. “Thank You,” he said.
“Welcome,” I had to say.
I got back to my temporary seat and a few minutes later, I saw that the students were lining up and so I was convinced that the gate was about to open. I got up to my seat to join the line to take the test of my life.
1st June 2018
“TQWL 1!” The message disappointed me as I completed the payment.
This was the third consecutive day I had failed to get a confirm AC tatkal ticket. It was the 1st day of the month of June. The really long journey of about 40 hours (including around 4-5 hours of delay of which the Indian Railway has the birth-right) accompanied by the sweating months of summer was going to make my journey really challenging. Anyway, the relief side was that I already had a seat in sleeper class in Doon Express and so at least I could reach for my summer training on time. The train was to embark upon its journey from Howrah and that would mean I had to make my way to Howrah from Kharagpur to board the train. I booked a seat in Ispat Express dated June 2, 2018 which was to arrive at Howrah at 6:50 pm starting from Kharagpur at 4:45 pm and that gave me a gap of 1 hour and 40 minutes and so I thought, “even if the train gets delayed by an hour or so I would be able to board the train at 8:30.“
2nd June 2018
I went to JCB Hall of Residence to have the lunch but before I could reach there I got to know that all the workers in the campus are on strike and so there will be no lunch that day from the private messes. I cross-checked the news at MMM Hall which is nearest to my Hall and got no good news. I then went to the PAN loop private canteen only to see that the crowd there was huge and the numbers looked enough to make me miss my train as I was yet to be done with the final packing. As I was returning disappointed, to my room, I went over to the ‘Where is my Train’ app just to check the status of the Ispat Express. I was taken aback and worried to find that the train was already delayed by an hour. It was already a few minutes past 2 in the afternoon. But then I had a change of plan seeing the delay in the train I had reservations to travel to Howrah. It was actually impractical to believe that the train would compensate the delay and make me reach Howrah on time. As per the past records of the 4th largest railway network in the world, it was not too pessimistic to predict that if the train was already delayed by an hour at that point in time then it was certainly to delay further and certainly not to compensate the time delayed and hence the change of plan seemed to be the right call. “I will leave earlier and take a local or any train that would be available,” I decided. I started the final packing for the journey. I called my friend Alok in the meantime to help me with the luggage. Lots of things were happening in such a short time and even the clouds did not want to stay out of actions. It started getting darker with the thick and grey clouds covering the sky. As I got down, it had already started raining and in no time it was raining cats and dogs. I reached down and looked for a taxi. There were none. I called a taxi owner asking if he could come soon. He promised to come in less than 10 minutes. I had to wait. Just a few minutes passed by as I was explaining the sudden change of plan to Alok, I saw a taxi coming towards LBS but as it reached the front of the MMM Hall, it turned to it’s right towards the MMM Hall. I took the umbrella from my bag and hurled towards the taxi.
“Dada, Station chaloge?” I asked.
“Haan chalenge par pehle Mechanical Department jana hai, do students ka interview hai uske baad station chalenge,” He made it clear.
“It would not take much of the time for the Mechanical Department is not too out of the way to the station,” I thought. “Thik hai,” I agreed.
The rains were so heavy that in that short span of time before I got into the taxi, I was significantly wet from below my waist. I directed the taxi to go to the LBS main gate were Alok was waiting with my luggage under the shade of the security room. Alok helped my luggage into the taxi. Soon, I was making my way to the station sitting on the front seat of the taxi watching the rain continue raining cats and dogs which seemed getting even wilder with each passing moment. After dropping the two students at the Mechanical Department, the driver set to drop me at the station. He accelerated the taxi with the windscreen wiper at work helping him with a better visibility of the way. It was quite a scenery from inside the taxi. The water flowing down the elevations, the fields looking even greener and the roads looking much cleaner as the dust got washed away by the downpour. At the same time, I happened to think of those people who did not have the shade to protect themselves from the rain all this while. “I get to deal with this heavy rain so rarely but there are people who have to deal with it quite often all through their lifetime,” I thought. My thought was interrupted as my phone rang. It was a call from one of my friend. I cut the call after a brief conversation. In a few minutes that followed, I was at the station, paid the fare and I got off the taxi while it was still raining and not less heavily than what it had been when I started from campus. I hurried up to the inquiry counter to confirm about the local train that I had earlier seen on the internet. A person there confirmed that the train will leave Kharagpur at 3:15 p.m. I hurried up to the platform no 6. As I was walking as fast as I could on the bridge connecting the platforms, my left hand, which was free of any luggage, went over to my left pocket and it felt something different, something absent. I through my hand into my pocket and got out all that was inside – my JioFi. I searched the right pocket and then the back pockets and I was disappointed. “Where’s my phone?” I shouted inside me. I stopped suddenly almost applying a speed breaker to my really fast walking. I searched my pockets again but received nothing but disappointment. I sometimes keep my mobile phone in my laptop bag and so out of lost hope, I searched the front space in my bag. I saw some light inside the space and was relieved that I had found my phone. “I had forgetfully kept it inside my bag after disconnecting the call from my friend,” I got happy as I thought so. As I looked more closely, I felt frustrated. It was not my phone but my power bank the torch of which had lit due to the accidental press of the button. My frustration was at the highest level. I did not give a second thought, I walked as fast as I could towards the entrance of the station where the driver had dropped me. There was no reason the driver could have stayed there. I recalled that as I got off the taxi, another passenger approached him and asked, “IIT Chaloge”. This was a ray of hope for me to find him given that I reach the campus as soon as I could. I tried to look for people from whom, I could ask for a phone call on my number.
“IIT jaana hai kya?” a student asked me as I was depressed and sad looking for people. He also must have understood from my expressions that everything was not okay for me.
“Jaana to padega… Can you give me your phone to make a call? Actually, I left my phone in the taxi from which I had arrived here some time ago,” I asked for a call from his phone.
“Actually, mera phone bilkul discharge ho gaya hai.” He showed his phone completely dead by the battery.
“To phir chalo IIT, waha jaakar hi kucch kara jayega,” I replied in despair.
I, along with him dived into a taxi to campus. While in the way, I asked the driver for his phone after explaining to him the situation. I dialed my number from his phone and in a couple of attempts, I could listen to someone speaking on my phone. “Aapka phone Security Gate par jama hai, aakar le jao,” that statement from the policeman from the security room was a stress buster for me. That was the sentence I deared to listen at that moment of time. It worked as an anti-depressant and I was greatly relieved and relaxed and not to say, happy. Upon being at the entrance of the campus, I went to the security room and asked for the phone. He directed me to the security gate of the Main Building. I was soon into the security gate of the main building. The policeman pulled the drawer of his desk and picked up a phone which was, without doubt, mine. I unlocked my phone in front of the policeman just to reinforce the fact that the phone belonged to me. I later also shown him my photos in the phone just to have the final confirmation. He was finally convinced. He asked me to write an application addressing to the head of the security room detailing all the information and finally end up with my signature and my statement that I have received the phone. He let me go as soon as the formalities were over but after giving me the phone number of the taxi driver who had submitted my phone to the security. He asked me to thank him. I said, “sure, I will.” I was soon inside the same taxi from which I had just come to the campus. It was a great relief as I had got my phone back and that the journey could be possible now but the problem was yet not over. I had missed my train in the first attempt due to all these unfortunate happenings and now I will have to get a train as soon as possible so that I can reach the Howrah station on time. It was already 4’o clock by then. I reached the Kharagpur station at 10 minutes past 4. I got to know to my relief that there is a local train at 4:30 pm. I felt fortunate and prayed and hoped that I would reach on time. I reached the Howrah station at 10 minutes past 8.
I checked the status of the Ispat Express the same night curious to know when did it actually reach Howrah just to imagine my fate if I had over-trusted the Indian Railway and had not revised my itinerary. It had reached Howrah at 8:40, I got to know.