I was gleaming that I had strategically chosen the right train, than choosing the direct fast and slow locals to Byculla, which had idiots standing in the trains, hanging on for dear life. Once I got into the train, I called my fiance and was on the phone with her for a while. Thane had arrived, and the buzz and energy of people barging in was missing. I guessed that the energy was less, as the peak hour crowd had already gone in the locals between 8 and 10 am, and which sane corporate guy would take a post 10 am local to South Bombay? Anyway, I stopped thinking about all that, and proceeded to get more involved in the conversation on my mobile, and in a few minutes i noticed new virgin, bucolic landscape, next to a stream. In my 14 months at Mumbai, I had noticed such a landscape en-route work, so when I stared out of the window, I realised something was badly wrong. I kept the phone down and stood at the footboard examining where the train was going.
Thane seemed to be way behind, and the train was gaining speed. Did i misread the fact that it might have been a Kalyan/Ambernath Local? If that was true, I was damned big-time. Thankfully it wasnt. I spotted a couple of kids in the next compartment and found out that these kids were travelling to Kalwa, where the train car-shed was.
Now, the train's door was quite high for me to jump on the adjacent tracks, and jumping on the tracks wasnt an option when you never know, which train is buzzing round the curves on the central railway. Thirdly, I was scared. This daredevilry of jumping even on the grass between the tracks had no adventure written over it, as there was no life to claim, or princess to rescue or even show any bravado, so I decided to wait till the train reaches the card shed. That way I could also see how a car-shed looks. No use worrying about reaching office late. The rains are always there to blame!
As I jumped off the train, when the rickety train stopped in the shed, I met a young policeman, who was noting something down in a sheet. What could he be noting so carefully. There wasnt any consignment load coming in this train, just me and a bunch of kids who were there. Nor was he trying to figure out any complex equation that determined when the train would stop after applying the brakes.
The policeman asked me where I came from, what was I doing here and what I do for a living? I thought the guy was trying to socially network with a very grim face. I answer his questions quickly in 30 seconds, and thought I can find more about him sometime later. Now all that concerns me is the way to the next closest railway station.
Kartik- Station Kahan Hain Bhai, Mujhe wahan Jaldi Jana Hain
Policeman-1 - Station chalo mere saat
Kartik- Haan Haan chalo. Kitna Dur Hain?
Policeman-1 - Stares at me, and points his face towards a small shackish room.
After walking for 15-20 seconds, I realise that this was a police station and I look at him lividly and shout.
Kartik- Arre Bhai, Yahan Thodi Jaana Tha. Mujhe Railway station Jaana Tha...
The next part follows.....................