Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Operation Runaway

This is the third in the series of the 'Escapades of the Jackdaws'. You can find the earlier parts here and here.

Part One of their plan was now successful. They had decided to go to take Vee to Bangalore. The girls now had to start thinking about putting the part two of their plan in action.

Uncle Chot was an influential man. The girls were sure that he would have planted people in the bus station and in the railway station to look for Vee. They had to make sure they could get her out without getting caught. From their town, they could either take the bus or train to Bangalore. Although quite a few buses went to Bangalore, the girls decided to take the one train that actually travelled from Mumbai to Bangalore but passed by their town and stopped there for exactly 3-5 minutes. Travelling by bus would mean standing at the bus station for long periods of time before the bus left, meaning there was a greater possibility that they would be discovered. Also, the bus could actually be stopped anywhere.They decided that  there were lesser chances of getting caught on the train as long as they managed to board the train on time.

The girls now had to figure out:
1) how to get enough money for their tickets and stay in Bangalore?
2) what to tell their parents and whether to tell them or not?

To arrange for the money, they began to collect all they could from the money they had saved up. When they checked, they realised that they were short. By a lot! They started to collect all their old text books to sell. They even got the reluctant Mee to sell her older text books in the little second hand book store in the market. Even after all this, they had enough money only to buy one train ticket. They decided they needed to tell their parents something and get more money and at the same time, get permission to leave town, at least till they were found out!

Shee went and told her parents that Vee's brother was getting married in Bangalore. Vee went personally to Shee's parents to invite Shee. She told the trusting Shee's parents that she would love for Shee  to come to her brother's wedding in Bangalore and they agreed. So, they now had money for Shee's ticket and a little more for her expenses. They made Soo tell her parents the same lie, and they agreed too! With that, they had money for Soo's tickets.

The problem with saying the same lie at Mee's place was that Mee's parents knew that Vee's brother was only a year older and hence could not be married so early. So, Mee told her parents that Vee's aunt was getting married. But it was a long process of crying and coaxing before Mee's dad agreed but he also agreed to send Mee off only for a couple of days. Now they had money for all their tickets and sightly a little more money to manage expenses for a couple of days or so. for more money, they badgered one of Soo's ardent admirers Shaan (a friend too!) to loan them some money. He was nice enough to loan them some money and also asked them to be careful.

Now, about buying the train tickets. If they were to reserve train tickets, they would have to give their names and this in turn meant that the names could be seen by anyone prior to them boarding the train. To solve this, they decided to get unreserved tickets i.e. tickets to the general compartment, which meant no dedicated seats. They thought this would be only a slight inconvenience. And because anyone of them would be easily spotted at the train station, they got Shaan to queue and buy the tickets for the four of them for the next day.

Now they had train tickets, money and were in high spirits. They just had to manage to get out of town unnoticed! be continued.

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