This story is from my travel to Benares in 2011. It is a simple real-life story of an unexpected kindness showered from a stranger. And the kindness became worth mentioning because he shared whatever he had without looking for his comfort. The story taught me to ask for help and believe that somebody will surely care for your request. The world indeed has exceptions! So, let’s begin with the story. Hope you like it 🙂
The story taught me to ask for help and believe that somebody will definitely attend your request. The world indeed has exceptions! So, let’s begin with the story. Hope you like it 🙂
My college days were back in BHU hostel
I was in the city of Benares lately renamed as Varanasi. The holiest city of all. People from all over the world flock here in search of mind and peace of mind. I was here for my Airforce SSB. I could not clear it though. So took refuge in my friend’s room in BHU (IIT Benaras Hindu University) campus hostel. Last 2 days in the campus were awesome. I was staying in Rajputana hostel. I was loving every bit of student life there. It didn’t seem that I was not one of them. The rooms, the students, the wardens, the cricket games during class hours. To me, it was like my college days were back.
I almost forgot that I was in Benares overnight and I had to return to Mumbai. To spice up the state, I was not having tickets for returning. You can’t imagine what happens to an ordinary soul in the peak season. Even the ants had to hold and put their legs inside the Indian railway sleeper class. Don’t talk of the general coach.
This is why I chose Sleeper Coach S7
Okay, so the fun was over. My returning was planned. Came to Varanasi station and took a waiting unreserved Sleeper class ticket for Mumbai. I was aware that things would not be simple for me. Alone and without a berth. Not a good combination.
Who cares, I was lost somewhere. No thoughts, absolutely blank. Questions were running all around my skull. Would I be able to get inside the coach? If yes? Would somebody allow to keep my luggage under their seat? Where would I sit? The journey is of more than 18 hours.
Wait wait. Stop wandering. Here comes the train. I stood back and let the people get in, then boarded the sleeper class coach. You must be wondering, how did I figure which coach to get in. Well, I went with the lucky number 7. No, I don’t believe in lucky numbers. Numbers are just numbers and luck is just an abstract word with no existence of its own. But just for the sake that everybody has their lucky number, I too joined the sheepwalk.
Rukna mat idhar 🙂
So, I was inside the S7 coach. Right at the entrance, I paused to look for some space. Why that aunty is looking hard at me directly. Her lifted chins, narrowed eyes and shrunk eyebrows probably spoke aagaya bada bojha lekar, aage chal, rukna mat idhar !
I apologised to her for thinking to sit there and walked ahead 🙂 Forget seats, floors were packed up. Too many families all over. I was losing hope. Saw an old uncle sitting his legs folded on the left side of the coach next to the window. It was a RAC berth. A RAC berth is supposed to be shared by two people.
That kind stranger
Two people were already there, but there was a gap of two feet, enough for me to place my butt. I don’t know why did I ask him? I am kind of a person who would preferably try to solve the problems without asking for help. I requested that old man if I can sit for some time.
He smiled and said ‘baitho baitho‘. Asked me to slide my big rucksack under the seat. Somehow I pushed my bulky yellow black backpack under the seat. He then asked me where I am up to. I said Mumbai. Ohh he said. Mumbai me kidhar? And then I came to know he stayed close to my house.
If you have ever been to a sabji market, we have people selling mirchi, adrak, dhaniya, nimboo on a stall. He had one near my house. I didn’t knew him but remember the location he spoke.
He asked if I have a reservation. I said No. He said don’t worry I have RAC, that means half of the lower seat. He further shrank his folded legs and asked to sit comfortably. I smiled and said I am more than comfortable.
The space-time crawled and the night arrived. I took out my shawl and spread it on the floor. Uncle was already asleep and snoring. After a while, he woke up and noticed me on the floor. Woke me up instantly and said come up we will try to adjust and made a place for me.
I was heart filled. Later the upper birth on the right side became vacant and I moved there. On the opposite birth were runaway lovebirds in action. Will narrate that story in another post 🙂 The night passed unexpectedly easy. I knew there was someone thinking for me. I didn’t had the slightest belief before that I would get a place to sleep.
He thought I missed the train
Following morning, I came down on a station for my breakfast. To get some fresh air, I walked in the next coach and sat on the door. I didn’t return to my seat. I was sitting on the door for almost an hour.
When I came back to the coach where the uncle was sitting, everybody turned their eyes on me. I said ‘What?’ in my mind 🙂 An Uncle sitting on the right said this man was worried about you. He asked almost everybody here, whether they saw you? I thanked that old uncle for worrying about me and informed him that I was sitting in the next coach. He said he thought, I could not catch the train from the last station and that is the reason he was looking for me. He shared almost everything he had brought. Farsan, toast, pickle.
When I returned home, I narrated this to my mother. She took me along to him. That man was so much filled with joy that I remembered him. He ran into the provision store and brought two cold drinks for us. Awesome he was 🙂
People say life is cruel and people are ruthless. But there is always someone to prove them wrong. And in my case, it was this kind stranger. I have had many wonderful experiences from Sleeper class and this is the reason why I love to travel in Sleeper class coach.
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