After the transfer of Rakish Sir, I started making new friends in the train. First one among them was Nikesh. He was working with Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB). Dharmendra Sir introduced me to Nikesh. Dharmendra Sir and Nikesh used to board the train together from Maninagar. Nikesh already had his own friends in the train. So he used to sit with them in different compartment but our seating coach was the same that’s why we became friends. Apart from Nikesh, there were two friends of Rakish Sir. Mahesh Kaka and Dwarkesh Kaka. In Gujarat, we add Kaka behind the name of elders to call them with respect. Rakish Sir introduced them to me when I began commuting but I hardly talked to them till his transfer.
After interacting with them a bit, I came to know that Dwarkesh Kaka works in labor court under Gujarat government while Mahesh Kaka was a retired accountant of the state government. Mahesh Kaka was working with Anand Municipality even after his retirement. He was helping them to fetch the unused funds. Not only that, he was helping them to use those funds for the good effect. After Rakish Sir’s transfer, Mahesh Kaka and Dwarkesh Kaka took his place in the train. They brought the flavor of state government in the train. Their role was to keep us updated about every change, important news and the announcement related to state government.
2015 began with a bang. In the first week of 2015, recruitment of police services in Gujarat began. Mahesh Kaka and Dwarkesh Kaka informed us about it with a warning because this time the recruitment was held in Vadodara. The warning was about the rush in the train. They warned us that there is going to be mad rush for the next week or so. I didn’t took that warning seriously. I was like, “I will see it.” The reason behind this attitude was the time of travel. I was travelling four hours a day already. Thus my body was getting tired anyways. Whether there is recruitment of police men or not, I have to travel fours a day and my body is going to get tired in that travelling.
On day 1 of recruitment, there was no rush in the morning. So I erased that warning from my mind.
“See, there is no rush at all. We are sitting comfortably and you guys were saying that there will be mad rush during the recruitment of police men,” in this manner I started the conversation that morning.
“Not at this time, you will find it while coming back. Beware!” Dwarkesh Kaka warned me again.
I ignored that warning and continued with my day. In the evening while coming back, I was waiting for the train at the station. Distance between Ahmedabad and Vadodara is 100 kms. Anand is in the middle of two cities. Thus, I was waiting for the train coming from Vadodara. It was late by half an hour that day. That warning was not even in my mind till Mahesh Kaka arrived at the station.
“Are you ready?” Mahesh Kaka asked me with a big smile on his face.
“We will see,” there was a smile on my face as well but a wicked one.
Train arrived in a while and I was shocked seeing the crowd in that. I had traveled in the local trains of Mumbai as well but I haven’t had seen such a crowded train till that day. There was no space to get in it. I was finding the space to get in it till I heard the siren. As the train started moving, I simply jumped in the seating coach in front of me to board the train. As I got in the seating coach, I saw a sea of people. And the condition was such that they were falling on each other. Once I got in it, I had no other option than standing still like a statue for two hours. Since I started commuting, it was first day when I have had to travel standing throughout the journey. I was laughing on myself for not considering the warning of two experienced commuters.
When I reached home that day, I was not feeling my legs for first half an hour or so. I rested them on sofa. Sofa gave me the feel of heaven after the hell of a journey. I was fatigued by that journey. And it went on like that for eight days. In those eight days, I injured my leg (not seriously though) as well. During those eight days, I made sofa my best friend because it gave me the feeling of heaven. Sofa worked as a healer to my fatigue. Recruitment of police men made my life in local train really difficult. By the end of it, I accepted that kind of fatigue as a part and parcel of commuting.