I grabbed my suitcase and rushed to the train door. I nearly tripped and fell as a loud 'oye' came from behind. It was Jagruti, my friend. "Your bag!" she shouted, waving a large floral print hand bag. I mentally cursed myself. As I started turn to fetch it back, the train lurched and started moving. Panicking, I started running in the direction I was initially going, shouted "Throw it from the window, I will catch it!" in a general direction hoping Jagruti would hear it and just as the train was picking up speed, cast my eyes to the heavens above, muttered a quick prayer and jumped, case and all.
I fell out of the train in a most un-filmy way as possible, landing rather hardly on my behind. But instead of checking for broken bones, I urged my hands to go way up and check my hair. Now that should remain perfect. I patted it anxiously and finding no lasting harm was just congratulating myself on such a splendid last-moment train jumping when a large spongy thing came out of nowhere and hit me on my head. Hard.
I was about to show the power of my vocal cords to whoever was responsible for ruining my hairdo when Jagruti peeped out of the moving train and grinning cheekily, waved. I grumbled to myself as I picked my bag that I had left behind and which my friend had so gently returned back to me.
Just when I was about to do another check on my hair, my eyes fell on the huge digital clock with the annoying red digits that seemed to infest every railway station. My jaw dropped on seeing the time.
It was 9:58 PM.
I mentally cursed myself once again and also the person behind the railway ticket booking counter who had convinced me on taking a break journey to Vishakapatnam.
"The trains are pretty regular ma'am. Plus you have one and half hour waiting time in Khurda road till your connecting train comes. Absolutely nothing to worry." had been his exact words.
"But I am going for a marriage see? The train will take me to VSKP at exactly 5 in the morning (if by any good luck it is not late). And apart from being a NON morning person, I have to go and receive the groom's side so it is a pretty tight schedule this way and I am not sure if this would be a good option..." I had trailed off anxiously. But the man, with his unwavering belief in the Indian Railway System convinced me nevertheless to take the chance.
I did and there I was- stranded in the middle of Khurda Road station from a train that was TWO hours late with absolutely no idea about the connecting train whose arrival time was 9:38. For all I knew, it had already come and left. I was ready to slump in some bench and weep about missing my sister's wedding when the loud-speaker blared and announced the arrival of the very train I was so sure I had missed. The woman's voice announcing regretted for the inconvenience caused by the twenty minute delay of the train but I had never rejoiced more on a train being late!
I jumped up, recharged over the news and rushed to the said platform. Only to realize that the train was already speeding in on the tracks that were two over bridges and 4 platforms away. I stared in horror as it came to a stop. I would never make it if I went for the over bridge route. The stairs itself seemed a mile away.
Then, I did something that my 21 year old self would never have dreamt of in normal situations. But then, it wasn't exactly a normal situation was it?
I jumped off the platform and onto the tracks.
Surprised by my own action, I proceeded to carefully but speedily make way to my train that was standing a few tracks away. Praying to the almighty and trying not think about painful deaths and statistics of people who died in India while crossing tracks and forcing my literary side shut from writing a eulogy that I would like to be written for my death, I was just a couple of tracks from my destination when an engine started coming in my direction.
I heard loud yells from people on both sides and it would have been very romantic if I just closed my eyes till a Knight in his shining armor came and protected me in his arms but since that was not the case and I was very much single, thank you, I hopped away just in time, allowing the engine to honk past me and billow an absolute avalanche of dust and soot over me.
Dust and soot. Oh no.
My horror over the ruins my hair was probably going to make me miss my train when I reminded myself of the more pressing matter on hand and proceeded towards my destination.
"Yes, yes I am coming" I said to no one in particular as the train honked. I flung my bag inside a random AC compartment which was empty at the door except for a young man standing, was just about to heave my suitcase up when the clutcher that was holding the last remains of my hair together fell. I watched it fall in slow motion like they show on the television and an audible gasp escaped my lips as it disappeared into oblivion of the dirty railway tracks.
"Nahiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!" I shouted dramatically and forgetting my suitcase that was hanging precariously from the doorway and started to hunt for my clutcher.
It was the clip to go with the suit I have to wear tomorrow, It was the clip to go with my suit... I chanted, looking up for a moment to the see guy shout something at me. See, because I only saw his lip movement that was obviously directed at me.
"Huh" I said, looking obviously very stupid when he suddenly bent, took my hand and yanked me up.
"Have you gone mad?" He shouted at me, pulling me inside the train as it started to move gently.
"It was the clip... IT WAS THE CLIP THAT GOES WITH THE SUIT I WEAR TOMORROW DAMN IT!" I shouted back at him, feeling and acting (I am sure) quite crazy.
The guy stared at me for a while in disbelief, then shaking his head, left. Instead of feeling happy that I managed to catch my train, I was feeling quite sad over the loss of my clutcher. What will I wear with my dress tomorrow? Thinking of hair and clips, I rushed to the small mirror Indian Railway provided over the basins and looked at my reflection. My jaw dropped again for the second time in running that day.
Forget about my face, that was manageable with a few minutes of scrubbing with soap but my hair. My HAIR.
I groaned as I looked at it. It looked like a bird's nest. Coming away in tangles, filled with dust and what not, it looked an absolute mess. All the hours spent at the parlor to fix it, all the trouble to make it perfect for my sister's wedding down the drain.
I guess that was that then. I had already admitted defeat. There was absolutely no time for me to attend to my hair the next day. Reason why Jagruti had dragged me with her to the parlor to set it up so that just brushing it and touching up on the style would be enough.
My sister had entrusted me with the ONE task of receiving her in-laws and I had failed her utterly. The sister of the bride-to-be couldn't just walk in looking like an alien in frizzy hair to get her Jija-ji! I was blanching mentally thinking about the class I had coming from her. I had already been a trial to her by deciding to come on the VERY day of her marriage instead of a week earlier.
Sighing and lamenting on my situation, I had already given up on my story if it hadn't been for the one person who was going to be my co-traveller that night.
As I lifted the curtains of the berth I was assigned, I was surprised to see one person occupying the seat opposite to mine. It was the very guy who had (possibly) saved me from getting becoming a mince meat...
(To be continued...)
What happens next? Will our heroine be able to fix her hair in time? Read on the second part here
This post is written for the Sunsilk Recharge your hair, Recharge your life contest on Indiblogger.
Visit their official website here.