The light dimmed slowly with the Sun passing on its duties to the Moon. The evening was descending and there we were, taking a taxi to the Howrah Station with ourselves, lots of luggage and a heart full of anxiety and hope. Well, the reason behind the anxiety was uncertainty. Yes, you guessed it right. We had our necessities packed, hotels booked, dinner done but train tickets not confirmed.
As soon as we reached the station, I saw my friend standing there, Soham. He ran towards us with his parents approaching at a comparatively slow pace. 'Shantanu uncle and Purba Aunty' as per my assigned names. With a little disturbance not letting us enjoy the warmth of a vacation, we moved forward. Keeping our luggage at the corner of a seat, we settled down, and about an hour later the train came. However, the sight of the TC heated us. Baba and uncle ran towards him and so did a few more people. I hope you know why. Minutes passed and we saw both of them coming out of the crowd with a not so delighted face. Uncle released a sigh of grief and said, "Since the tickets are on the waiting list, we won't be allowed to board. Also, there isn't any empty berth because a travel company has booked two bogies for them." Honestly, we shattered, and after some time the most pathetic thing happened. The train started and we could do nothing but watch it go. I still remember what Maa said that day and her voice, "We aren't going home!"
After the entire melodrama, uncle enquired at the counter just to know that there is a local train that leaves at 5:30 am sharp and is the only direct train to New Jalpaiguri Station the next day. Forgetting all odds we decided that it is our solution. It was 1:30 midnight and the two men showed our aadhars, paid Rs 650 each and requested wholeheartedly to a lodge owner for two "liveable" rooms. I'll never forget that night. Soham, aunty, maa and I slept on a single bed with the fear that we have to wake up at 4 anyhow
The next morning we stepped into the station again. People had already lined for the train and we joined the queue. The train came at around 5:45 and we boarded it. Four people adjusting in a single-seat, no AC, loud music, unwanted people pushing each other, and no more elaboration indeed. But, the story doesn't die here. At the next station, a group of three boys boarded the train and asked us to shift, claiming that five people sit together "usually" and we, unknowingly, rejected the proposal. After all, there isn't God to come down and tell us when we go wrong. The Farakka Station arrived and there they were, a group of whole nine men. The first line they uttered was shivering, "নামুন। আমরাও দেখি কে কাকে বসতে দেয়।" You know, in some situations, it is important. It is very very important to sallow your ego and be apologetic. That day proved the statement. Had we not been sorry, I really don't know what turn that day could have taken.
Hours and hours passed with increasing impatience. When will NJP come? Some said 2 hours more, some said 1. Whom to believe? Thus we waited and waited when finally the speed stopped and eventually the train came to a halt. " NEW JALPAIGURI STATION". With sleepy eyes, we saw our car waiting. And who was there to pick us up? The West Bengal Forest Deputy Engineer. He hugged my uncle and my father and with that, we boarded the car. Way to Jhalong, our first destination. It was about 8:30 when we reached there. But, heaven has got a different view at night and so did the mountains, the fall streaming down its chest, the pebbles, the trees, and our luxury tents. As I said earlier, the story doesn't die here but about the rest? I'll tell you...
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