The Late Arrival
My phone’s alarm woke me up. I looked at the time in my phone. Fifteen minutes were left for the train to arrive at my destination as per its scheduled time. I got down from my upper berth, carried my suitcase and airbag outside the compartment and stood beside the exit door. The door was closed so I looked out through the window. I could only see dark outlines of bushes, trees and some clouds sparingly lit from behind by the moonlight. Few minutes later I saw some lights twinkling from afar, like stars sitting on earth. Then I saw an array of houses dimly lit on the inside and sparsely lit on the outside by the street lights. Then some glimpses of traffic on the road as our train moved along an overhead bridge across that traffic.
I opened the door to look outside when I saw a railway platform arriving. I held the two railings at the entrance on either side, and leaned out to look at the name of the railway station. The platform was partially lit by some white tube-lights. I secretly wished the board with the station name written on it was well-lit and clearly readable. The train slowed but not enough to stop at this station. The board with the station name passed by and I read the initial part of the name to know that I had to stand at the door for next thirty minutes for my destination to arrive. This meant that the train was running about 45 minutes late.
This was at 2:10 am on a Wednesday morning in the middle of summer. I stood outside the A.C. compartment with exit door on one side and two toilets on the other. The stench from the toilets and the late night summer heat were competing at making me uncomfortable. Every now and then someone would come out of the A.C. compartment and I’d move my suitcase to let them pass and use the toilet.
I looked again outside the window and noticed that the train was moving slower than before. Why couldn’t the train race at its maximum speed, to cover for lost time! I used all my mental energy and mind power to add to the speed of the train but it didn’t work. I was stuck in this compartment of the train that was not moving fast enough and I had no control over its speed. I should have taken a flight, would have cost three times the train fare but would not have been so inefficient.
Suddenly a person in his early 20s stepped out of the compartment and asked me about the last station that passed by. He nodded at my response and told me that our station will take another half an hour to arrive. He then showed me a website that helped him track the train’s progress. After loitering around in my vicinity for a couple of minutes, he went back inside the compartment. As I watched him go inside, I realized that I could have been inside, and enjoyed an extra hour of sleep. Instead of using the right tools and planning ahead, I was standing between the toilets and the door, trying to move the train faster with my thoughts.