Berth Number 5
Berth Number 53 mins 877 3 mins 877
I suddenly realized that I have to go to the railway station to receive my wife, I had set the alarm myself the previous evening. I grabbed my cell phone and opened the Spot your Train App. The train was running late, I could sleep a few minutes more. Resetting the alarm, I went to sleep. After a few minutes, it buzzed again. “I have to get going now” I thought.
I was still feeling drowsy when I got into my car.
February had just started and the early morning fog was blocking the view, due to which the visibility was very poor. I turned on the blower to warm up the inside and started the wiper to clear off the dew from the windows. Once the vision was somewhat clear, I started driving towards the station.
I reached the railway station in time. The peculiar smell of railway station greeted me. People sleeping on the platform, a few policemen strolling, and a lone Guard at the entrance is what you get to see at 3.30 in the morning.
As usual, the split-flap display was not working at the station. Thanks to the Spot your Train App, I had an idea that train will reach the station at 3:35 a.m. and then I heard it, the familiar hooter of the Indian rail, as it entered the railway station and came to a halt. I rushed towards the coach B2, from which my wife was supposed to disembark. I kept an eye on both the doors, a few passengers alight, “she is not among them, is she still asleep?” my heart skipped a beat. “The train will stop here for just five minutes, I have to act fast before it starts moving”.
Pushing few passengers aside I rushed inside the coach and in the darkness tried to find berth number 5, the berth on which my wife was supposed to be travelling. “Oh my god! If I don't find the berth in the next few minutes the train will start moving” I thought, standing bemused in the coach. I saw a railway attendant coming towards me, “bhai berth 5 kahan hai?” the words rushed out of my mouth. I heard the attendant asking me "kya karna hai?" “Arey bhai berth 5 wale ne utarna hai, jaldi batao” I said agitatedly. He pointed the berth to me.
Just then hearing the commotion the passenger on berth 5 awakens and the words come blurting out of his mouth " nahi nahi maine nahi utarna hai". I was taken aback, he was a male passenger, my mind tried to come to grips with the situation and I heard the voice of the attendant again, “kaun si train se aana tha?” By this time, I was perplexed and shouted at the attendant "issi train se aana tha bhai, issee se". The attendant asked me casually "train ka naam bataye". I was seething with anger now at the attendant for wasting my time by asking frivolous questions, and I blurted out "Kalka Katra".
The attendant calmly replied, "yeh Shree Shakti hai".
As soon as he said this, the horrified passenger on berth no. 5, had a sigh of relief. I got off the train, feeling embarrassed, cursing myself for making a fool of myself. I closed the App, and patiently waited for the announcement for the arrival of “Kalka Katra”.
Sometimes, it’s wiser to rely on humans than technology!