Lost World7 mins 438 7 mins 438
Like every weekend from the past 2 years, we’d gather together, the five of us, complaining about our lives and jobs and the ever hectic schedule. We’d talk about fantasies, place we wanted to travel, girls, food. But being honest it felt like there was no escape. Like we were trapped in a maze or something. Each one of us hated our lives. So it was this time of the week that kept us strong and helped us to move on with our dubious lives.
We tagged around 8’o clock in the evening to Aniket’s place. We started off with the usual rumbling, cursing our company and superiors. Passing about lame jokes and pretending that we’re gonna be fine in the end. Well, I never thought so that we’d be fine someday. I always wanted an escape. I knew if I continued with my life this way, I’d die of misery. I longed to be happy. I’ve never been happy in my life. I lost my father when I was fifteen then my mother two years later. It always has been just me, struggling to survive. The one time in college I fell for a girl and thought that maybe I might find happiness but she left me . It felt like I was born to face this doom alone all by myself. I longed to be hugged, to be held and consoled. Alas! We had just started when we were brought back to reality by a knock on the door. Aniket being our host, invited the intruder inside with a non-inviting look. His very presence disturbed the aura of the room. It was like we had lost all intimacy. It started to feel like reality. But there he was, staring at our blank faces, trying to analyse us. So did we. He seemed alright, introverted, a lot into himself, kind of insecure maybe. Aniket introduced the intruder as Manager, his neighbour. “So Manav, what brought you out of your cave and wobbly life? Never seen you go out of your crummy hole. They say you even resigned from your job last week. Planning to take over the city or something?” said Aniket mocking him. It was his habit, something we’d known for years. He’d always take a dig on people he didn’t like and we always enjoyed watching him roast people. But this time I felt bad. It seemed to me that Manav was somewhat like us, trying to escape from reality. Manav said or more like whispered ’cause he wasn’t audible, “You really believe you can take a jibe on people and make them feel bad about themselves? Well, you can surely, but it doesn’t work with people who already feel bad about themselves.” That was painfully deep. We couldn’t speak after that. It was just another phase of awkward silence. Manav smirked and said, “So you guys gather every weekend, bitch about life and think that helps you to move on, Oh! Pity”. His manners had a different kind of confidence. It seemed like he had everything planned in life, everything in control but yet there was something murky about him. I said, ”So do you have any other ways that help you cope out of misery?” He sighed and said, “Let me tell you something. I don’t think you’ll believe me but then again little do I care if you do or not. I know a railway station, a deserted one, went out of service years ago due to lots of accidents previously. Trains don’t go there anymore but there are people who say they’ve seen a train come at that deserted station. Sounds rather uncanny right? The train has no name, no recognition, no boarding or destination points. But then again not everyone sees it. It’s been told that people who board that train, don’t come back. It’s not even known where they go. They are just gone, like a poof of dust. But I’d rather leave you all to your lamenting”. And he stood and walked out of the door, cool as ever.” He is creepy, don’t mind him fellas” said Aniket. That night we talked till 2. But I didn’t. I couldn’t take his words out of my mind. It was all so surreal for me. I left early morning to my flat and I couldn’t sleep. I was getting restless. So I decided to give him a visit, talk about last night and everything that he said. I washed myself and left for his building at noon. His flat was right in front of Aniket’s. The door was locked but yet I decided to wait there in case he’d show up. I was standing by his door checking my Instagram feeds when a lady passed me by and said something I couldn’t grasp. I looked at her, expecting her to repeat what she said but instead, she nodded in askance. I said, “Ma’am did you just say something to me, I didn’t catch it.” “Oh yeah, I asked you if you were waiting for Manav?” said the lady in her fifties “Yes, ma’am”, I followed. She left a sigh and said, “Oh, it’s been 3 months now and no one knows where he is. He was a decent chap though a little under stress lately due to work I guess. He’s been missing with no trace and no clues. He just left his job the day before he was lost and none know where he is.”
I could hear the lady’s footsteps recede. It was all so unreal. Nothing made sense to me. My senses were blocked. My mind was numb. For a while, I thought even my heart had stopped beating. What was happening to me. I felt like I couldn’t move, like I was stuck there. It was weird, way too weird. I don’t know what happened next but I remember my head rolling vehemently.
I woke on Aniket’s sofa at half past 2. He was sitting right beside me. When he saw me open my eyes, he got me a glass of water. “You okay dude”, his words echoed in my ears. I sat and as I sipped the water I asked him, “Who came last night when there was a knock at the door?” He looked kinda puzzled and said, “When dude? Besides you weren’t here last night! Remember you told us you had a bad headache and couldn’t make it? Are you okay dude? If there something troubling you, you can talk about it.” It was too much of fantasy for me. I couldn’t take it anymore. I walked out of his house as Aniket’s voice tried to stop me. I took a taxi and asked the driver to take me to the station Manav told us about or the one that I had hypothetically created all by myself. As the taxi whizzed past the roaring and bustling city, my mind remained at unrest. I kept on wondering the entire incident that had happened yesterday. It felt too real to be untrue. I couldn’t away my thoughts from the words Manav had said. All I could think about was who was telling the story? And whose story was it anyway? The words fluttered and flew in the wind. I had never ever met Manav before to end up imagining this. It was way to bizarre.
As the taxi stopped my feets tumbled to the station. As I stood there blankly I remembered the taxi driver saying me, ”Bhaiya yahan koi train nhi aati”. (Sir no trains departs from this junction) It was just mere words now that run across my wild mind. I could remember Manav saying, ‘Not everyone sees the train’. Maybe I was destined for this. Maybe this is my escape from reality. I can’t let go of my misery. I really can. Maybe that’s what also happened with Manav. Maybe he too took the train to Neverland or some other sweet place. It was all so dusky yet so poetic. My train of thoughts had lead me to a whole other realm. I didn’t realize how long I was there until I heard the morning azaan in a very low sound. I knew now I couldn’t go back. My destiny was to arrive anytime now. And I remember my lips spread into a smile when I saw a train come down to that platform old as old it can be. The train had no name. It was just a train. It stopped right in front of me. As in inviting me to ontake this journey. As I stepped in, I don’t know what happened, all I know was, I was happy at last.