A cloud of uncertainty covered us on the terrace of the building which housed the ticket counter. The uncertainty fuelled by the need to do something triggered us to take the decision of going to the destination station of the train. Though one part of me was debating about the futility of such an exercise (it is not a bus that you can put your luggage beforehand and claim your seat) the other was gripped in excitement and responsibility to think of the wiser. Thus Anand’s auto zoomed to the nondescript station called Yeshwantpur in that now increasingly growing cold November evening.
On reaching the entrance of the station did we realize a few things. We realized that it was almost deserted, we realized that it was pretty far from the city and we realized that we did not have warm clothes to protect us from the cold. Bijay, Amlan and me rushed into the station to catch a glimmer of hope if any of securing a seat in the train for Siddharth which was due seven thirty the next morning, less than twelve hours from the then time. But there was none to be. Shutters in ticket counter was down. Any inquiry was met with nonchalance. The committee of three members then took a decision which was to make the rest of the night quite memorable and worth writing about.
The decision was to stay put, wait for morning to break and people to come, catch hold of some middleman or someone who could ensure a ticket and see to the sure and safe departure of our friend. The following steps were then taken. Anand was first and foremost sent back, paying him was a non issue, because it would be done later. Also he would get the package, the person for whom the whole exercise was running, early next morning. And for the staying part of the decision, there were plenty of hotels in the area where we could put up. But, that was not to be. The reason? Simple. We did not have enough money! So that leaves us with a choice that millions of unfortunate face each day, to spend the night at the railway station.
Now railway stations are usually away from the city built in vast expanse of land. That makes it susceptible to gush of wind which on that night was chilly. We were hungry and had food in a nearby restaurant by nine thirty. A nice hot dinner was really helpful and three of us were discussing about all sorts of permutation and combination possible about the equation we were facing. As a hotel stay was ruled out we got back to our home for the night, the station. As we got back we saw a motley crowd of people occupying various places which they had earmarked to spend the night at. As we did not have a ticket on any of us, the logical possibility of getting into the waiting room was out of question. So we scanned the whole station, walked several rounds to all nook and corner of it, to finally converge upon this place which would be our bedroom for the night...
(to be continued...)