It was 12 in the morning/afternoon when I stepped down from Magadh Express @ New Delhi railway station, approx 40 minutes late! Thanks to the never let go attitude of North central railway services who are always keeping up their reputation of a delayed on time service.
I called up Arpita, My Soul sis,(I know her from past 2 years but have never met) whom I was supposed to meet first at her college, DCAC(Delhi college of Arts and Commerce).
“Hi Arpi, M here at Delhi...”
“hey Bhaiya.. M so happy!”
“Haan Ab batao.. Where and how I should be able to meet you?”
“See I am looking tiny, I have squint eyes, I am wearing a long green top,Blue jeans and carrying a pink folder”
“Ok ok... that all is fine, but where exactly is your college?”
and with this the line got disconnected!
For the next 5 minutes I tried her number continuously but failed to go through. Amazingly efficient is the word I should Use for the Roaming coverage of IN DOLPHIN that comes up with Bsnl in NCR, you can do anything with your phone( Like hearing the awesome radio channels of Delhi which You obviously wont do in this time) but can't talk.
It was 12-15 in my wrist watch when I dialed priyanka's cell, who was supposed to pick me up from the station as soon as I arrive.
“Haan haan... just reaching in 10 minutes dear, have patience”
she disconnected the call. The person who dials the call is also supposed to say something, I think. Anyways ... her 10 minutes lasted for 40 more.
“jyada kiraye se bachne k liye token ki jagah card ka istamaal karein” somebody announced from somewhere and I was asking to myself “ladkiyon ka intazaar karte huye jyada deri se bachne k liye kis cheez ka instamaal karein?”
I called her up thrice in between and she was prompt to come up with a new excuse every time, I discovered how she always manages to take a leave from office whenever she feels like.
I was at metro station New Delhi to Board on a train to Ajmeri Gate. Metro stations are the kind of places where you certainly discover that cleanliness to lives up in some places in our country, they haven't changed ever since I first stepped in a metro, two years back. 20 trains passed by, each with a difference of 2 minute from another, every time one passed by, a bunch of 300 passengers would step in a compartment designed to accommodate 100! the 3:1 population problem of the country was existing in the metro too! Priyanka finally came, please emphasize on the word Finally!
She waved me from above the stairs, her metro pass was with her in one hand and a pick plastic bag in the other. She was smiling and I was wondering was she smiling on me, or on the way I was looking alien in my white shirt and simple brown jeans in a happening crowd at the platform around me, or was she smiling at keeping me wait for so long or on something other then that. Till the time I thought on this, she was down from the escalators, he met each other with warmth. We were together in school for 3 years till class 10th. Were never good friends as such. We were like... 99 out of 100 percent of girls in class thought that priyanka liked me, 99 out of the 100 percent boys thought I am dating her, 99 percent of the 100 rumors about us were wrong off course. WE HARDLY knew each other. God damn! The school time rumors are no less than nonsense paparazzi. We met on orkut 2 years back and cleared the crap and are friends now. She is working in some account firm, preparing for MBA simultaneously, and doing Bcom simultaneously, and I don't know what else simultaneously. She was wearing a white T- shirt and a blue jeans folded till knee, then why did she purchased a full length jeans anyways, I was wondering, then I saw 6 out of 8 girls around me in the platform in same state and concluded that It might be some fashion trend of some sort.
We took the metro without speaking much. We were going to Subhash Place. On Ajmeri Gate, we changed the metro and in the meanwhile she was telling me about her personal life, her previous jobs, her life from 60 something percent to a well established self dependence in Delhi and bla bla... her relationships, her friends, their relationships, their friends... and bla bla! You know how talkative girls can be, dont u? She was one such girl. She was sweet too though, cos in her plastic bag, she had brought some Kuttu k Pakodey and juice for me. Why on earth will I eat them, You must be wondering... well I am on a 9 day fast in Navratri as always. She was sweet enough to take care of this fact. We reached Subhash Place at around 1-30 and I tried calling Arpita Up to ask her, where exactly should I move from now? IN-DOLPHIN told me that NO SERVICE – ONLY EMERGENCY CALLS ALLOWED. Damn! I wanted to let the subscriber know that standing in sun on such a hot day in Delhi, this call seemed like an emergency. Priyanka was having zero balance, how on earth can she do that? Huh! Anyways... My Other cellphone with Idea, gave us support and we managed to call Arpita. I made her talk to Priyanka cos she was the one knowing the roads of Delhi. After 2 minutes – I heard Priyanka...
“Acha toh aap wahan nahi ho..., ok...”
“Ok Ok... chalo koi baat nahi...”
With this she handled the phone to me. I was like “???” CONFUSED!
Arpita on the line told me that me and Priyanka have reached Subhash Place when We were supposed to come to Subhash Nagar, which Is somewhere on the other side of Delhi. Completely opposite. I felt like a dog canned for no reason. I kicked my foot in regret. I disconnected the call and asked Priyanka if we can still meet Arpita in any case. I had to take a train back Home in Aligarh @ 8. I had to spend time with My other two friends, coming from Saharanpur, Abhishek and Krishan too and thus its kind of impossible. I called Arpita and told her, I won't be able to meet her, she was a sweet heart as she always is, she was calm and caring, told me not to worry and not to get disappointed. Gosh! Sisters are magic.
@ 1-50 pm
I purchased Metro ticket for Rohini. We were heading to meet Antara Dutta, a gal whom I met as an AIR listener on net and now shares great friendship with, she is like a sis too. We both haven't met too.
we waited for Antara, we sat on bench. I told priyanka about life at Kanpur, Life in my college, Life with my friends, about my blog, My aspirations, My dreams. This all might have sound really boring to her but we cant sit like idiots, so we had to talk something. In the next bench, a 13-14 year old girl was solving maths sums and I wondered how mechanical life at Delhi had been for these kids, they can't go to home, to save time, running for tuitions from pillar to post in a Living mess of crowd like Delhi is. Antara came. We hugged and slicked a few pictures with each other, it was a 5 minute meeting but was very pleasant. She promised me that she will come to Kanpur soon. She looked very pretty.
“Kahan ka?” asked the metro attendant across the counter window.
“Rajouri”, I said and passed on a 100 rupee note to her,
she took 16 rupees and returned me the change. We boarded the train to Rajiv Chowk from where we were supposed to change track to South Delhi, Rajouri. Along the way she told me about her life in Patel nagar, her first year in Delhi, how she changed, what change she observed in me, other memories of school etc etc...
at rajouri, I tried to insert my token in the belle but it said “ 2 rs less”.
I went to the Staff member and asked him, why is my token not working, he asked me for 52 rupees!
I said “WHAT!”
he told me that My token is Under balance, I asked him that how on earth am I responsible for this? I was right on my part, it was your Metro official who gave me a 16 rupee value token when she should have given me a 18 rupee token, I shouted, I grumbled, I persuaded, I argued but nothing worked. I had to pay a fine! F**k Delhi Metro! I was furious, I still am about it. People laughed around me and I heard hissing of Yo-Yo Delhites that I am creating a scene for just 50 rupees, How cheap bla bla... Priyanka was carrying a pass with her and the official told me that she knows the rules and I should ask her. I was quiet. I came out, I kicked again. I felt like a dog canned for fun.
I was at West Side TDI mall. It was posh. I don't like mall culture though but that was the place where Krishan was waiting for us. Me and priyanka even fought with each other on the metro station scene. Krishan hugged me, we were meeting after 4 years, we were very close friends in high school. Abhishek was gone to meet her special friend and soon came to the mall and we all finally got together.
All 4 of us were in High school together in 2005 and here we were again under same roof, a much taller one.
We did some masti in the mall, played video games, cracked jokes, relived memories and had fun. We did things for which we would have been thrown out of the mall if we would have stayed longer. I interacted with each of them and discovered – THEY HAVE CHANGED!!
a 20 year old, Yo-Yo, stylo, beautiful looking, typical delhi, Hi-bye english type, career dreamer, aspiring gal
ABHISHEK – a 16 year old, naughty, fun loving, sporty school kid was
a 20 year old, serious, less talking, to the point, over mature business man.
KRISHAN – a 16 year old joke cracker, always smiling, fun loving, female hating, live every moment dude was
a 20 year old, smarty, more joke cracking, more fun loving, more gal staring, live every moment more Dude.
ME – a 16 year old, 6 year maturity based, 12 year emotional aspect, more friendly, more understanding was
a 20 year old, over observing, over analyzing, over tough to deal with something!
@ 5-30 we were in car. Abhishek's Getz! Cool interiors and awesome music system, krishan was driving, priya sat next to him, me and abhi sat on back seat, discussing love angles in each other's life, family matters, future and all those big big talks! I ate the things which priya brought for me in morning and had been carrying it with her all this while. It tasted good, anything would have.. I was hungry big time. Meanwhile krishan played the popular IIT zeast song “Doston mein baitha main sutta pee raha tha..” and purchased a rose from a vendor boy on a traffic light and gave it to priya saying “ ye Pulkit ki taraf se..”. he was, is and will always be a dog. Cracking jokes on everyone else sitting in car. Most of them were on me and abhishek. We reached Priyanka's flat. Once in a blue moon, it happens in Delhi that there is a power cut of electricity, it was one such day in her locality. I noticed that rarest of misfortunes happen when I am around. Damn! We were sweating. It was a 2 room flat with no window. I was feeling like I am in some jail, I laid down on the mattress on floor. We took some snaps after that.
@ 6-30 we were back in car. Abhishek Driving, with Krishan at back seat with me. We talked of Priyanka, the Girls of our class, The girls of his college, the girls of my college, the girls sitting in cars walking next to us, and some other girls. My friends were urging me to stay for a night and go back tomorrow. They were literary fighting with me. In fact made a call to my home and told my parents that I wont be returning today and I am safe with them but I had my return ticket with me from the same train and was sure to leave. We headed on to New Delhi Railway station. Our car Bumped up with some amazing Punjabi Music, None of which I knew. Krishan and Priyanka dancing in their seats, all 3 of them are punjabi and Krishan kept on shouting loud “Punjabiyaan di shaan wakhri”, I am not sure if I have written the last word correct. I think it meant, Punjabis rule!
come to Sahranpur and from there I will go to mussourie with him.
we were running towards metro station nearby our traffic jam! DAMN! Inside the station, it was a jam again! A 100 plus member queue on the token purchase counter! Thankfully Priyanka was able to beg the attendant to give him 2 tickets to New Delhi! We ran on the moving escalators, with us there was a lump of people also running, I was wondering why they were running, are all of them getting late for a train or are they running in everyday life, the way I am running for the first time. GOSH! I cannot stop my mind from Thinking. We reached Rajiv Chowk where we ran again. Faster. This time we were running to catch a metro already standing and about to go. We ran. One at a time me and krishan were holding Priyanka's hand so that she doesn't gets left behind. It was 7-36. In the heap of people we hustled and I found myself standing inside the metro. I looked around, none of faces I could recognize. 2 stations passed, It reached New Delhi. The automatic door opened. Krishan came out from some other door of the same train but Priyanka was nowhere. She missed the train at Rajiv Chowk. She called us up and told us to wait for her. I told krishan how awkward I am feeling to have troubled her whole day and he was still cracking jokes on me and her and You know what. The dog can never be serious. It was 7-46, The next train arrived after 4 minutes, she was thankfully in it. We ran again, towards the New Delhi railway station. In the charts we noticed Magadh Express leaving at 8 from platform 16, we ran to catch it, It was 7-58! The train have started to move slowly, I was to board the AC 3 Tier compartment which was quite at the end. I ran, they ran! We made it! We were in train, I shook hand with priyanka and hugged krishan! Thanked them and waved them off!
On entering the compartment, I noticed myself drenched in sweat, My breath was short and fast. I felt like a dog canned whole day. was tired as hell. I sat and sipped a juice bottle that I purchased from the pantry boy. I was calm. The Air conditioning system of the train was effective. I closed my eyes. I slept. I dreamt of the day gone by. I smiled.
@ 9-30 I woke up. The train was running 1 hour late. Railways kept their reputation. I noticed that lot of passengers were same who came along with me in the morning from the same train. In fact same aged couple, possibly in their late fifties was sitting right next to me just as it was in morning. They recognized me and asked about my friends who came to see me off. They were Muslim, Saudi Based, Aligarh going friendly people. We talked of Politics, the rebellious nature of young gen, Life at Delhi, Public service, Private service, IAS aspirations of their daughter in Mumbai, My family members, their family members, Nithari and Nitisha katara murder case, Swine Flu, relevance of Navratri, Jainism and Hinduism, My friend Uzma, My Muslim friends, My view of reservation, My food habits, My living habits, do I drink alcohol and smoke etc etc.
It was 11. we reached Aligarh station. The old lady wished to meet my mother and congratulated me for a perfect upbringing. I was happy by their remarks. I smiled. I was flattered by all that they said. They took my email Id and told me that they would tell their children to be friends with me too. :)
I smiled more.
home at 11-35, Mom cooked hot kuttu singhade ki puriyan for me and after having supper, I told them all that I have just told you. When I finished my narration, They were sleeping just like I am assuming you to be too!
LIFE CAN BE DEFINED IN MANY WAYS – ONE SUCH WORD THAT CONTAINS THE PLEASURE OF LIVING IS – FRIENDSHIP !! it makes every thing other then it, worth it!
PS – I miss my friends, I have cried numerous number of times missing my high school, THOSE WERE THE DAYS, when THERE WAS LIFE!
PPS – have you heard this song from the movie? “Tu Hi Haqeeqat, khwaab tu” Please do listen to it! I hummed it whole day missing. This is an amazing song in the most amazing vocals of Javed Ali. I love it to the core of my heart. Music is eternal and this song is divine!