After first week of April, I was relieved. I was back to my normal schedule of leaving the office at 5:30 p.m. I used to get Saurashtra Express at 5:45. There was Express in the name of the train but it’s characteristics were of a local train. Despite being a express train, it stopped on every second station between Anand and Ahmedabad. Apart from that, it used to take one hour and fifty minutes from Anand to reach Ahmedabad. Because of such characteristics, commuters renamed it as a Bapu train. It was favourite train of Dwarkesh Kaka because it was the only train in which Dwarkesh Kaka used to get ample time to buy something from station and enjoy it during the journey.

There are eleven stations between Ahmedabad and Anand. In other words, a local train stops at eleven stations between Ahmedabad and Anand. Among those eleven stations, three are part of Ahmedabad city only, one is tier two city like Anand, two are tier three cities and remaining five stations are villages. And the schedule of Bapu train is such it allows every other express or superfast train to pass by and reach Ahmedabad before itself. To allow these trains pass by, Saurashtra Express goes on a side track. And mostly it changes the track at Mahemdabad or Barejadi, two of the tier three cities.

Dwarkesh Kaka was expert in prediciting the siding of Saurashtra Express. He used to do it on the basis of the number of trains on a particular day and how late they are. After prediciting the siding of Bapu train, he used to decide what he wants to eat that day. In the second week of April, Dwarkesh Kaka predicted that train will change the tracks at Mahemdabad.

“Okay. We will eat aloo sev today,” Dwarkesh Kaka announced as the train changed the tracks while entering in the Mahemdabad station. To give way to Garib Rath superfast express, Saurashtra Express stopped at platform no. 3 of Mahemdabad station. Dwarkesh Kaka got off the train to buy aloo sev and found that all the shops at platform no. 3 and 2 are closed. He called me out from the window.

“Rishi, all shops on this platform are closed and the only shop which is open is at platform no. 1,” Dwarkesh Kaka shown me all the shops on platforms.

“So till the train pass by, you go and buy two – three packets of aloo sev from platform no. 1.” while giving me the money from his wallet.

It was a small station with three platforms. There was no bridge above the platforms to go from one platform to another. Thus to change the platform, one needed to get down on the tracks. To buy the packets of aloo sev, I jumped on the track from platform no. 2 and from the tracks I climbed up on platform no. 1. Garib Rath was to about to pass from platform no. 2. After climbing up on platform no. 1, I checked if Garib Rath is arriving, but there was no sign of it. As I went to the shop to buy the packets of aloo sev, a train came from Ahmedabad. It was going towards Anand and Vadodara. It was passing through platform no. 1. While it was passing through platform no. 1, I heard the siren of another train as well. I thought it would be Garib Rath. I bought the three packets of aloo sev and waited until the trains crossed the station.

As the train coming from Ahmedabad crossed the shop on platform no. 1, I saw Saurashtra Express was leaving the Mahemdabad station without allowing Garib Rath to pass by. The siren which I heard when train from Ahmedabad was passing by was not of Garib Rath. It was of Saurashtra Express. I put the packets of aloo sev in the pocket and jumped on the tracks. As it was the express train, it started slowly in gear one. By the time I climbed up on the platform no. 2, it had shifted it’s gears. After climbing up on platform no. 2, I started running to catch the train. It was running in the third gear and with that speed only last two coaches were in my reach.

“Let it go. Catch the next train,” people started shouting.

I was firm to catch the train. I was running along with it. A guy standing at the door of the last coach was ready to grab my hand and pull me in. Without thinking much, I jumped and grabbed the handle of the last coach with one hand. And that guy grabbed my second hand and pulled me in the coach. I thanked that guy. He gave me the packet of aloo sev which dropped out of my pocket while getting in the train.  I opened that packet and started eating the aloo sev.

“Everything happened because of this,” I said while offering the aloo sev to the guy who pulled me in. He ate some of it. I got off from the train at the next station after giving that packet to that guy. I went to the coach in which I was sitting with Dwarkesh Kaka and Dharmendra Sir. After seeing me, Dwarkesh Kaka took a sigh of relief. After that instance, he stopped buying the things from stations. He started bringing dry snacks from home to eat in the train.

That day, I created DDLJ scene at Mahemdabad station. There were two differences though. First, I was not the Simran and second, no one told me that “go, live life on your own terms,” when I started running. Rather, people were shouting, “let it go. Catch the next train.” The highlight of that incident was my jump to get in the train. It was risk of my life which I took at that time. Anything could have happened if I haven’t had timed that jump perfectly.

#AtoZChallenge: Life in Local Train – Kleptomaniac

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