I was about thirteen years old and was a student of Class IX. It was my last year at the School hostel this year. I was about to stay with my parents next year as the Class Xth is, as they all say, a very crucial year. And it still gives me chills whenever I think about how the next year is going to be, with my parents hovering on my head all the time! I have decided that this year , I will enjoy to the maximum no matter what with my hostel mates! I am going to play , dance, sing , scream and may be break some rules with my friends for sure this year.
I was sitting at platform No.13 of the station to get back to my school -hostel as my summer vacation was now over. I am used to traveling alone since class seven. Dad mostly has a transferable job and my mother is also employed. The train travel is just about four odd hours from my house and I have to get down at the station where the vehicle from the school picks us up and takes us straight to our school campus where the hostel is located. My mom usually drops me off every year at the school but she had to attend to an ailing relative this time and I assured her that now that I am a grown boy, I can surely manage on my own! After all, I will be a man soon! With a lot of hesitation, she had agreed to let me travel alone. The train was scheduled to arrive at 9 pm. I had arrived early and sat on my suitcase lost in my own thoughts while waiting for the train to arrive at the junction.
My thoughts were mostly about how to get through the next year as it will be a major change for me. When Mom and Dad were all fine all these years, I do not understand what happens when one is in class Class Xth! The world seems extra worried about you, the relatives become relatively closer, the juniors become extra friendly and not to mention, the world seems as if it will end the same year. And every ‘gyan’ session, whether you need it or not is about how to ace your Tenth Boards. I really want to know what happens on the other side of this most important phase. Does life take a better turn from here if one performs well? Does having a good grade guarantee that life will be easier afterwards? If anyone can assure this, I promise I am going to give my two hundred percent effort towards it.
Just then, the Railway Ticket Collector waved his hand and I could not help but notice that he had caught hold of a defaulter who was travelling without a ticket. The man pleaded with folded hands but the officer was already busy filling the challan form. Now the poor man had to give money! There was a train that suddenly halted. I stood up and bent forward to look closely at the name of the destinations mentioned and heard the announcements only to realize that it was not my train. A swarm of people disembarked from the train through the door of different compartments and it felt like a sea of people flood the entire platform. They took me along with them and I held tightly onto my suitcase to avoid losing my belonging as well as myself in the crowd.
After a few moments, the train left the platform and again the entire scene was back to what it was earlier. Some hawkers sold books in their tiny carts and there were long iron benches where people either slept or sat gossiping with each other. The little children kept playing in their mom’s lap. Some people had spread their bedsheets out on the floor and were asleep with their elbows covering their face, probably to obstruct the platform light that fell on them. Some people were reading while others were busy browsing their mobile phones. The coolies , in their brick-red attire and their shiny copper colored arm plates were busy trying to find customers who would agree to pay them carry their luggage.
It seemed my train was late tonight, and the announcement just confirmed my doubt in time. I had to wait for some more time. Just then there was a sweet aroma that filled my nose and I felt very hungry at that very instant. Somebody called out my name and I looked back. I saw a boy of my age signaling me to follow him. I could only see his back. Surprisingly, his voice felt similar. Was he Sudhanshu, the boy who had suddenly stopped coming to school last year? He had been my classmate for just one year and somehow there were many rumors about why he stopped coming to school. A lot of speculations were made but we could never know what had really happened to him. It had bothered me a lot too. I somehow had already started walking behind him while thinking all this in my mind. He led me to the Railway cafeteria. I saw him order samosas . Again I could only see his back. I too rushed to the counter and ordered . I took my samosas, sat on the chair of the cafeteria and relished my hot , crispy and delicious Samosa . I dipped it in the imly chutney and took the first bite. It was very yummy and I was totally engrossed devouring it. Just then I realized that Sudhanshu had not joined me and I could not find him anywhere! And, then I remembered about my train. I ran towards the platform in a hurry so as not to miss it. When I reached the platform, I saw myself ! Yes, I saw myself climb down the platform to board the train that had halted at the other side of the platform . In was crossing the rail lines instead of the foot over bridge quickly, and just then, there was a screeching noise of another train coming towards me in full speed….. Ahhhhhhh… I heard someone cry out loud.
Ahhhhhhh….. I screamed & woke up from my sleep . My throat felt dry and as if my tongue was being dragged inwards. I felt very unsettled while my heart had started beating faster. I saw Maa sleeping near me. She slept peacefully and she looked beautiful as always. I tried to hug her tightly, but I just could not. I tried again but failed. Why was I not able to hold Maa? I was feeling light and as if I was being pulled away by some unseen force that was very strong. I did not want to let go of Maa, but I just could not hold her. I called out Maaaaa…. Maaaa…. But Maa did not listen to it. She continued sleeping as before.
Just then, I felt the presence of Sudhanshu , again near me and he for the first time turned his face towards me. I looked at it and …. and …. what I saw made me feel a spasm of extreme nervousness coupled with fear pass across my face ….. It was …well… absolutely hollow!
Have you ever experienced this kind of nervousness? Do share your experiences if any.
I have decided to take up an emotional joy ride with this year’s A2Z challenge where my focus is to showcase different aspects of human behavior . I will be penning down pieces of fiction centered around emotions in alphabetical manner. I have a title for my theme and it is : A little bit of you; A little bit of me .
I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z -2021
You can click on the alphabets below to read the stories that have been published so far.