Anjali,Mayuri and Aadesh were in their college library,studying “Limits” and the “L hospital’s rule” . Like all 17 year olds,their study efforts had intermittent professor-mockery-breaks.
It was a gloomy Tuesday morning,overcast conditions.Perfect for a mid-week break to have a marathon study-session at home.But pracs, as they called it,were to be attended early morning.And so they did.
Soon,it had got darker,and it had begun to rain.And then it was pouring.But such pouring was not unnatural in their part of the world.And so,everything was normal.
One of them suggested they must solve a few examples from Chitale-Joshi.Well,some liked to call that book Sheth Publications,simply. They tried,but the weather was brilliant for rest and not work. They were wondering if it would rain like that all day so that there is a holiday the following day.Something,that was so normal in their city. The weather ensured they weren’t left in any mood to attend those lectures. (which they would not attend anyway). Soon,they decided to head north.The trio wanted to spend some time together,but again,they were weary of the rains.
As they walked towards the railway station to take their respective trains back home, their Anjali and Mayuri were busy pulling Aadesh’s legs over a variety of jokes.The 3 were enjoying the moment to the fullest.What did they care about right now?! After all,they had just STUDIED.
Upon reaching the platform,they took their respective locals. Mayuri took the slow train.She was a town girl then! Anjali and Aadesh were from the northern end of the city,and had an hour long train journey.Or was it?! Naah.
Anjali got into the ladies compartment and Aadesh in the Gents one.Aadesh had got a window seat.But in the rainy season,it was of no use.However,it wasnt raining heavily by now.Just drizzling.But the sky was was as dark as Khushwant Singh’s humor. He shrugged,opened his Chitale-Joshi and began to solve Limits. Question number 1.
From one station to another,the train moved in an almost constant speed. Sorry,constant average speed. It was raining,raining very heavily as they moved north.The windows had to be shut.It was then that Aadesh first saw a small unnaturalness.It was pouring.It was actually pouring.As if someone from the train’s rooftop was constantly poring drums of water on his window.He knew he will take a leave the following day.Not just the rains,he wanted to conquer Limits as well. The train had now entered slow-motion.But it didn’t stop.Marching North he had thought. It grew darker.
Two young gentlemen sitting next to Aadesh were discussing the first branch of the Raffles International Academy ,in their city.Aadesh,tried to take interest.And then suddenly the train halted.The public addressing system inside the train squealed.The motorman made a small notification.
This train will not go ahead.Because of flooding on tracks,atleast 14 more trains are stranded on the tracks,in front of this train.
And then he repeated.They pulled the shut windows and doors.It was drizzling.They were at a railway station.People began to vacate the coach.Aadesh had long back stopped solving the problems.But the books were still open in his lap.Using the pen as bookmark,he closed the books and kept them in his bag.He walked out to see if Anjali had also got down.Yes,she did almost at the same time as him.
They met each other with a huge smile and an “What is this!” expression.Their city trains had this habit of getting stopped during rains,for a couple of hours or so.So they thought it was just that.They did not have cell phones.It was time before they could inform their parents.
They were walking around on the platform for sometime. Then they slowly began to realize the severity of the situation.They understood it wasn’t a 2 hour stop.They decided to inform their parents n set outside the platform to search for a PCO booth.When they climbed down to the west side of the platform,they were stunned.There was almost foot-deep water.And it was drizzling.Anjali quickly donned her bournvita-milk colored windcheater.Aadesh wanted to avoid wearing his not-so- awesome windcheater,but was coaxed by Anjali on doing so. “Its more important to remain dry than (not)show your windcheater around”,she had said with her gentle voice.Aadesh gave in. As they struggled to find a PCO booth through the foot-deep water,Anjali squealed several times. After some struggle,they located a PCO booth with a dozen-sized queue and a hardly functional phone. Anjali let out a sigh. Now what?!
Aadesh suggested they could cross over to the eastern side and find a working phone there. The journey of excitement had begun. Aadesh and Anjali were both reknowned for their PJs. While Anjali had a very sensible collection of PJs,Aadesh was more impromptu and on most ocassions,sad. Top of the east-west railway crossing bridge,splashing through a dirty puddle,Anjali breaks into a
Tairte Raho… Bas Tairte raho…bas tairo….tairo…tairo….
It was Anjali’s recent love for the hindi version of Finding Nemo,thought Aadesh.But no! Anjali had just seen the almost knee-deep waters on the eastern side where they were heading. “From puddle to pool”,they thought.
They found a queue and a phone in front of it.Upon their turn,she called her mom n explained the gravity of the situation.Then he did.And back to the platform. Both were hungry.A packet of Britania Bourbon was purchased from the busy stall and had. It took another couple of hours for both of them to realise that the situation was unprecedented and was largely out of control. Aadesh began to look out for a safe place and quickly recalled that his cousin had recently shifted to his bank quarters,a couple of kilometre from the station.He sprung in to action as he made last few calls from a dying PCO booth.Co-ordinating with his parents n cousin to get the exact address.The phone died before they could reach Anjali’s parents.He convinced her complete safety and that it was the correct thing to do,given the situation.The two set foot towards their refuge for the night.Scouring through the flooded streets,they reached their destination in an hours time.
It was getting dark.Very dark.