For a previous post, please see the train part 1.
8:35pm. Monday November 14. Old train station in Jaipur.
It took Angie 10 minutes to realize that her train was gone and that the train she thought was coming wasn’t actually coming. She panicked. She looked at her ticket again. She looked at the boards. She tried to find the numbers. A man was sitting on a bench not very far away from where she stood. She approached him, asked for guidance, he looked at her printed train ticket and with a loud laugh smirked: “The train is gone. You’ve been looking at your train and now it’s gone. It’s gone.” Other people looked at the train ticket and confirmed that the train was gone. Angie panicked. She got scared. She needed to use the toilet. Her telephone battery was almost empty. She hardly had 3000 Indian rupees in her purse with a few hundred dollars. She had money but not the right currency used in this country. She needed to exchange money but she couldn’t exchange money at this hour. She found herself crying loudly. She couldn’t retain herself. She couldn’t control herself. She sobbed. She cried while she pulled her heavy luggage up the stairs and down the stairs again. She cried while she carried her heavy backpack and her heavy camera. She cried while she tried to leave the train station. She cried while she tried vainly to find a solution to her ordeal.
And luckily her angels were all around. As soon as she arrived to the entrance of the train station, many tuk-tuk drivers approached her. She was still crying. They must have imagined some huge problems. One of them started talking to her, he wanted to know why she was crying. And between her tears, she managed to explain painfully that she missed her train. He looked at her train ticket and assured her that her train was still there. He took the ticket, run up the stairs, and down the stairs again, he returned shortly to confirm that it was gone.
For the record, and I know that it wouldn’t change anything, the lady who repeated the instruction never mentioned Angie’s destination. The train was going to a certain city and Angie was going to Vodadra to meet her friends who would be coming from Baruch. It seems that Vodadra was a station on the way to the city where the train was heading. Angie didn’t know that. It wasn’t written on her train ticket, although the train that she looked at for 45 minutes had the same number.
She called her friend in Delhi to ask for assistance. She was still sobbing. She couldn’t control herself. Her telephone battery was almost empty and she needed to use the toilet. God! Have you ever had to take a decision while feeling the urgent need to use the toilet? Have you ever felt that you were alone in the middle of nowhere with only a few thousand rupees in your purse? By the way, those few thousand rupees were enough to buy her dinner, pay a taxi, book a room in a hotel, but they wouldn’t have been enough to buy another first class train ticket or to afford an expensive 4 or 5 stars hotel (that wouldn’t have accepted payment by credit card).
That friend was of immense help when a few weeks ago she was planning her trip. He helped her with everything. He answered all her questions. He assisted her in choosing a train, in buying a train ticket, in booking accommodation in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. He met her at the airport when she first arrived to Delhi. He took her to beautiful places and he gave her ample details about the history of several places. It was such an immense joy listening to him talking and explaining.
She sobbed when she told him that she missed the train. She managed between her tears to get the message through and to ask for his advice. She remembers his long silence before he advised her to go to the information desk and to ask about the next train to Vodadra. She was still lost in her tears and confusion, when her friend from Baruch called. He was looking forward to seeing her after more than 15 years of virtual acquaintance on social media. She didn’t want to answer his call because she didn’t want to fail in making her first impression. They hardly spoke over the phone during all the years they knew each other on social media, and between her sobs, and his insistence, she managed to explain that she missed her train and that she will most probably be late. She tried to keep the call brief. She felt his disappointment and his concern when she told him about the train she missed. He said he will think about a solution and that he will call her again.
She called her friend in Beirut and sobbed some more. She told him that she missed her train. She told him that she needed to use the toiled urgently. With him, she didn’t need to hide anything, or wear masks, or lie, or invent stories, she simply told him the truth, and nothing but the truth. And she got him worried to death about her…
Sorry my dear readers, this passage contains a lot of tears, worry, and concern. Are you already crying? Or are you laughing? Remembering the whole episode, I can’t help but smile…Are you at least enjoying this story? Shall I called if for today and continue the story tomorrow? Thank you for reading.
For a subsequent post, please see the train part 3.