Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Unforeseen Destination - a short story

What made me to write this story?
In early 2011, when I was travelling in Kacheguda express from Chennai to Hyderabad, I came across a strange incident (I don't want to reveal the incident now as it will spoil the story). Based on that incident I decided to pen a story and hence 'Unforeseen Destination' came into existence. The idea of writing it as a story struck me when I was travelling in the same Kacheguda express from Chennai to Cuddapah a few months later. 

Genre of the story
Comedy / Drama

Note: Do not forget to post your valuable comment in the comment box after reading the story.

UNFORESEEN DESTINATION

Chennai Egmore Railway Station - July 8, 2011, 04.50 PM
Ten minutes left for the departure and I was there standing in front of the bookshop bargaining with the bookseller. I tried to convince him to my price, but he was adamant. The time was running out hence I offered him his price and grabbed my book. The time was already 4.58 PM and I swiftly reached Platform number 5. There, I saw a bunch of people standing right before the A/C compartment blocking the way. I peeped into the crowd to find out who it was. It was the railway minister who boarded the compartment adjacent to mine. The time was 5.30 PM and the train departed from the station. My excitement doubled as I was going to meet my brother after two long years.

I settled down in my seat and started reading the book. The book was interesting such that it had my utmost attention and I didn't even notice my ringing mobile until the person who sat next to me brought it to my notice. The person was a young lady. She took the mobile in her hand and gave it to me. I nodded and looked at the screen. The phone call was from my brother.
‘Arey duffer! What were you doing? I have been trying to reach you for the past ten minutes.’
On hearing this, I then checked out the call logs. He was right, 6 missed calls in ten minutes. I might have really pissed him off.
‘Arey yaar! I got totally involved in this book and my mobile was kept in silent mode.’
‘Ok. Did the train start at right time?’
‘No. It started half an hour late. I guess it was due to the minister’s arrival.’
‘Which minister?’
‘Arey, leave it yaar. I guess this train will arrive on time at Kadapa. Just track the train status in the railway website and let me know. I am inside A/c coach and I would not be able to see the stations. So I leave it to you. Just inform me when the train crosses Renigunta and there on update me the status.’
‘Ok. I will do it. Bye.’
‘Bye.’

After I hung up the phone, my concentration towards the book started to decrease. I felt like I needed some sleep since I haven't slept properly for the past one week. At that time, the girl who sat opposite to me started a conversation.
‘Hi. I am Archana,’ The girl introduced herself. She shook my hand and greeted with a smile. 
‘Hello Ms. Archana. I am Arjun. Glad to meet you.’ 
‘Glad to meet you Arjun. So, what do you do?’
‘I’m a software engineer. What about you Archana?’
‘I am doing my final year medicine in Chennai. ‘
My mobile phone vibrated. It was a text message from my brother stating that the train left Arakkonam and was heading towards Renigunta.
What is that book in your hand? I've been watching you read that with much interest,’ She asked.
‘Ah! Yes. It is Sidney Sheldon. You might have known him. I love his books and whenever I start reading them, I get over-involved.’
‘Aha!’ 
‘Excuse me. I will be back.’ I got up and walked to the door.

[Back from the restroom]

I came back to my place and settled down with my book. She kept staring at the book.
‘How many pages did you complete?’ Archana asked.
‘80. Hey, do you like reading books?’
‘I don't read novels.’
‘Well, that's okay. So, how is your life at medical college?’
‘Ah! It's just awesome. I'm leaving soon to United States to pursue my Masters in medicine. I've got the admission too.’
‘That’s fantastic. All the best.’
‘Thank you.’ 

Later, I climbed on to the upper berth and took a short nap. After some time the train started to slow down. The clock showed 8.00 PM. I guessed that I would have reached Renigunta. I opened my food packets and completed my dinner as the train halted at the station. My cell phone vibrated again. It was the message from my brother stating that the train was running right on time. I was excited again. ‘Just two more hours to go’, I thought. I kept those food wrappers in a plastic cover such that I can throw them out while getting down. I was back with my book.

Time flew just like that. After completing 102 pages, the clock showed 10.05 PM. It was almost the time to reach Kadapa. I dialed to my brother.
‘Brother, where are you?’
‘I am on my way to railway station. I will call you once I reach there.’
I hung up the phone. The clock showed 10.15 PM. I took my bag and reached the door. The doors at  both the sides were closed and I had a confusion regarding which side I've to alight. Then I got a call.
‘Bhaiyya, there is a large queue at the counter. It’s impossible to get the platform ticket before the train arrives. Can you get down and come to the entrance. I will be waiting for you there.’
‘Ok brother. No issues. I think this train may take a little more time. I cannot find any lights visible at this moment.’
‘They have made the announcement. The train might arrive in five minutes.’
I hung up the phone to save the balance amount for future calls. I looked outside the door to see if any lights were visible. To my relief, the lights were visible at a distance. I dialed his number.
‘Hey I think I'm nearing Kadapa. I can see the lights at the station.’
‘I somehow managed to get the platform ticket and get into the station. Even I can see the train. I'm very much excited brother.’
‘Oh! Yeah! I am excited too. See you in a couple of minutes.’

The lights started to become bright as the train got close to the station. Excitement increased in me as I was going to see my brother after a long time. My cell phone rang as the train neared the station.
‘Hey! Where are you?’
‘The train just entered the station. The station looks empty. Where are you?’
‘What? The train stopped two minutes ago and I was trying to find you in this crowd. Are you kidding me?’
My heart beat stopped for a second. I was not able to figure out what was happening. The train did not stop at the station. It moved faster and faster.
‘Hey, are you there? Where are you?’
‘Brother, the train is moving faster.’
‘What the hell are you talking? The train is still here. It did not start.’
‘I am confused. Wait a moment.’
I turned back and saw a vendor sitting next to the door. I asked him, 'Isn't the station which we passed just now is Kadapa?'
He gave a monstrous look at me and replied, 'Stupid. Are you drunk? This is Circar express. We will be reaching Vijayawada in few minutes'.

'Oh my god' was the phrase that ran through my mind at that instance. I put my head out and saw the board written Kacheguda-Chennai Egmore-Kakinada. Both the trains had a similar name board. It was my mistake. I got into the wrong train. At Chennai, Kacheguda express departed at 5 PM and Circar express departed at 5.30 PM. The doubt did not rise in me when the train started at 5.30 PM from Chennai. 
My brother was still on line.
‘Hello...Hello...Hey... Are you there?’
‘I got into the wrong train brother. I am sorry.’
As I was talking, a voice from my behind was constantly annoying me - 'Have this tea. Have this tea. Arjun, Have this tea.’ I got irritated and turned back to see who it was. I was shocked to see my mom on the train who was holding the tea cup in her hand. My mobile slipped down from my hand. I bent down to pick it up but lost my grip and fell off from the train. I got a heavy jolt on my head that shook me up from my sleep. I opened my eyes and rubbed it slowly. I was in my bedroom and my mom was standing before me, holding a cup of tea in her hand.
'Phew!' I sighed. It was all a dream. It was all a stupid weird dream. 

Written by Ashwin Kumar

4 comments:

  1. Very nice story Ashwin. I enjoyed it. Didnt realize the twist you will give to it at the end.

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    Replies
    1. @Brajadulal Patnaik... thanks for reading. I'm glad you liked it ;)

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  2. haha.. i thought he got this dream in his short nap in the train. lol. too good. :p

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