“May I have your attention please! Train no. 69108 Anand memu is arriving shortly on platform no. 2,” It was an alarm for me. I was taking a nap on one of the seats at platform no. 2. I woke up and looked at the right hand side first and then on the left hand side. There was no signs of the train. I thought of taking a nap till the arrival of the train but I saw Rakish Sir was approaching me. Thus, I dropped the idea.
“Hey, Rishi! Good to see you at station well before time.” Rakish Sir said while walking towards me. I made space for him on the seat and asked him to have a seat.
“No, no its OK. Train will be arriving shortly.” He refused. Seeing him, I got up as well. I checked the time in my phone. 8:15 a.m. As soon as I put my phone back in the pocket, train arrived.
All the people gathered at the position where their seating coach was going to arrive. All of the sudden calm and composed platform no. 2 became crowded. Train stopped and everyone including Rakish Sir rushed towards the gates of seating coaches. I was quietly watching them. I climbed into the train when the rush was eased. Rakish Sir has reserved a seat for me with his handkerchief. I went and sat there.
“You look sleepy. Since when are you at the station?” Rakish Sir inquired while setting his bag at the rack above the seats.
“I arrived at station at 7:45. And I am not used to this early morning up down na, that’s why I look sleepy.” I replied while opening the window.
At 8:35, I heard the siren and the train left the Ahmedabad station. It was the second day of my new job. On the first day, I went to the office in full swag. I drove my car from Ahmedabad to Anand (The place of my posting). Distance from Ahmedabad to Anand is 70 Kms and It costed me around 700 bucks. It was unaffordable. Thus, I decided to commute via train. Railways is the cheapest mode of commuting in Gujarat. On the second day of my job, I travelled to Anand and came back to Ahmedabad in just Rs. 30. And it further went down to even half of that, when I bought monthly season ticket next day.
On day 3, I reached station at 8:05 as I knew the timings of the train. There was no signs of train and there were no announcements either. Thus like day two, I was waiting for the train at platform no. 2. After ten minutes, at 8:15 announcement was done that Anand memu has arrived on platform no. 6. Departure time of the train was of 8:35. So I had 20 minutes to get into the train. I rushed and reached to platform no. 6. I was searching for the right seating coach to sit. And at that time only, Rakish Sir called me and instructed me to reach into the coach in which he was sitting. I reached there and that day again, my seat was reserved by him with his handkerchief. He showed me the signs to reach to that coach everyday.
Next day, I was reminding myself the signs to reach to that seating coach and that day instead of platform no. 6, train arrived at platform no. 4. Ahmedabad railway station has 12 platforms. So it is not easy to hop from one platform to another. And above that, I had to follow the signs to sit in a particular seating coach. On day 4, I sat in the correct seating coach. And that day, I reserved the seat for Rakish Sir with my handkerchief. Sitting in the instructed seating coach was not the big deal for me but tracking the arrival of the train was. On day 5, it arrived on platform no. 2. So I didn’t face any difficulties to get into the train.
On day 6, I decided to track the arrival of the train by standing on the bridge above platforms. From day 6, I started to wait on that bridge till the arrival of the train. From day 6, I started getting the perfect number of the platform of Anand memu. LCD screens on the bridge helped me in tracking the arrival or confirming the platform of the train. “Yes, I cracked the code behind the arrival of the train,” was my feeling on day 10.