Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Runaway Train

This is one of my most favourite songs but no, this post is not about that. This is the part 4 of the escapade series. You can find the earlier posts here.

With help from some others, the girls had found that Uncle Chot had actually put people all around town to keep an eye for Vee or any suspicious activities from her friends. They had to now tread with extreme caution. On the day before, they all prepped for D day carefully, packed their clothes and went to bed. The next day, the train was to reach their town at 7:55 PM and would leave from the station in 5 minutes at 8 PM.

Their plan was simple. Soo and Mee would get to the railway station first, look around for any dangers and then call the other two. When the coast was clear, Shee and Vee would come to the station and board the train, just in time before the train left. Also, Vee would cover her face with a scarf and make sure she would not be spotted before or after she boarded the train.

When D day dawned, their stomachs were in knots. They were nervous but extremely excited too.
They were determined to pull this through. In their young heads, they had to do this to make sure their friend was safe and happy. The previous night, Vee and Shee had made sure they had disconnected the phone at Shee's house so that Uncle Chot could not contact Shee's parents, at least immediately after they left. Mee and Soo had given specific instructions (with substantial bribery, of course) to their friends in their neighbours' houses not to call their parents if someone called asking for them. They had tried as much as possible to avoid getting into any trouble with their parents but they were sure they eventually would, and were ready to face the consequences. But for now, they had to be focussed on the task at hand.

At around 6 PM, they all bid farewell to their families and met up at Shee's place. They reviewed their plan one last time and then Soo and Mee set off. They were travelling with as little luggage as they could manage but girls being girls, they still had a lot. Soo and Mee went to the railway station at 7PM and true to suspicion, they found some of Vee's relatives at the platform where the train was supposed to come. They stayed out of sight and hoped Shee and Vee would be careful too.

At 7:45 PM, the train was announced. Mee and Soo went to the platform and still tried to stay out of sight. At one point, Vee's relatives actually saw Mee and recognised her. Now that there was no escape, Mee casually went up to them and said hello. She told them that her relatives were arriving from Mumbai and she was here to receive them. And then she asked them what they were doing here. They just mumbled something and then quickly left. And then the train arrived at the station. It was always a rush to board that train because the train stopped at this station only for a few minutes and a lot of people were waiting to board. Amidst that crowd, Soo and Mee were trying to get into the train as discretely as they could. They pushed their way in within a few moments. They found that the general compartment of the train was super crowded but they found a couple of seats and plonked themselves there. But now they were terribly anxious that Shee and Vee had not reached yet. In a few minutes, the train would leave and if they didn't turn up, Soo and Mee would be in Bangalore without anything to do. The four of them had not even discussed such a possibility.

These were the days before they had cell phones, so there was no way in which they could contact them. Soo and Mee panicked and found themselves looking out frantically for their friends. Then the train hooted, which was a sign that it would leave in the next minute or so. Their hearts were beating so hard, they thought they would explode. It looked like their friends wouldn't make it on time. But just when the train was about to move, they saw Vee and Shee running towards the train. Vee looked hilarious with a pair of dark sunglasses and a scarf around her face.They quickly boarded the train and all of them collectively burst out laughing. The train now started moving and slowly picked up speed. Soon, it was out of  the station and chugging away. The girls heaved a sigh of relief. They had made it to the train and they were actually on their way to Bangalore.

On the train, they realised the general compartment was crazily crowded. Thankfully, Shaan had booked them on the ladies compartment. They couldn't have imagined travelling otherwise. But still, some rogue ladies had put all their luggage on the seats and hence there wasn't enough room for everyone. Now that the girls were out of their town, they did not have to hide or shy away. They were ready to take on anything and anybody. High on adrenaline, they started to pick a fight with anyone who'd mess with them. So also, the rogue ladies, who quickly put their stuff down and allowed the girls to sit down.

Now they were thinking about where they'd go once they reached Bangalore. Mee had a close friend there, who she was in touch with. She thought her friend would definitely help them out. She had assumed that they could go to her house and probably stay there. Mee had tried calling her place a few times but had not been able  to reach her in the last couple of days. Mee thought that once they reached Bangalore, they could probably just show up at her friend's place. But they did not want to alarm Mee's friend or her parents, turning up with luggage and all. They finally decided that they would drop of their luggage at the cloak room and then go to Mee's friend's place after they reached Bangalore.

The train ride was fun and almost uneventful if you discount the little spats they had with the ladies around and the squabbles they had amongst themselves. But they had made a lot of noise, playing anthakshari, singing songs, giggling away and generally being themselves. They even could sleep a little that night in all kinds of wierd positions (there was no place to lie down!) and on each other's shoulders. When they woke up in the morning, the train was slowly edging towards Bangalore and they would be there soon. But little did they know of the surprise that waited for them. Nobody was prepared for what would meet them when they reached Bangalore!

....to be continued.

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