The Chaotic Voyage
That night, the train chugged away from Dadar Station filled with a horde of passengers, excited to welcome the New Year in Goa. It was past midnight. The Jan Shatabdi Express was jam- packed with passengers, gasping for breath and yearning for space as the train rattled its way in this cumbersome 11-hour journey.
The cry of babies holding tightly to their mothers’, newly married couples decked in bridal attire, gold ornaments and elder couples as well as young couples admiring the scenery as the train passed through Pune and Kohlapur. The railway attendant would pass with tray of steaming cups of tea, coffees and wada snacks as passengers to wake up passengers, serving them hot that would keep them alert during the night.
Nestled against the window seat, Ankita’s head was buried down in Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Valkyries’ The young man, sitting next to her, was getting bored sipping countless cups of tea and agitated sitting in the train that would pick up passengers at every alternate station. “Fuck,” he shouted. “When those people will ever get that there is no breathing space with the crowd eating space. It’s like a bloody pavement.”
Ankita turned around and gave him a look filled with contempt, “Dude! You are disturbing me.” He avoided her gaze and looked at his white coated HTC phone, “It’s 3 a.m.” He dozed off.
He woke up in a jiffy and almost jumped off, sensing someone pushing him. It was Ankita who shoved him away as he was leaning on her. He feared that she was going to shout. “Listen! Mister! Be careful! You are not on your sofa and watch where you are sleeping. I am not your personal property.” He was red with shame and muttered, “I am s-o s-or-r-y. Actually..” She cut him short with a tersed, “Ok.”
Minutes later, he turned to Ankita. “What,” she almost yelled.
“My cellphone,” he pointed on her lap. They didn’t realize that he dropped his cellphone on her lap. “Here, take it!” she sounded irritated.
The voyage came to an end and in the commotion, Ankita disappeared among the crowd. He checked in a hotel at Calangute and fell asleep. He woke up in the evening. It was 8 p.m. He saw 10 missed calls and a message, ‘I need my phone.’ He was surprised, thinking that his moron friends must be playing some pranks. The same number flashed on his screen and he heard an agitated female voice, , “Hi! I need my phone now.”
Taken aback, he replied, “Excuse me…Are you kidding me?”
“Hi! I am Ankita, the girl inside the train on whom you slept so shamelessly. You’ve mistakenly taken my phone..acha I gave you my phone since we have the same brand and same color. I need it now,” She ordered.
He tried to flirt, “I cannot give it now? What if I don’t give you?”
Ankita mellowed, “Okie! I am sorry, Baba, for being rude earlier. What’s your name?
“Aa gayi line pe…Karan.”
She tolerated him with a fake smile, “Line pe toh hai hum dono. See! Karan! I am a journalist and the phone has all my contacts. It’s a matter of life-and-death. Can we meet up tonight at Palolem Beach to exchange the phones and nothing else.”
“Oh!!! At least, we can have a beer together. After all, I am traveling all the way from Calangute to Palolem to give you back your phone. It’s the New Year, yaar. Tomorrow, but not today.”
“Okay! Fine,” she banged the phone. “What a pest!,” she was fuming.
Goa ushered in the New Year as hips swirled in the air and gyrating to local songs. A girl dressed in blue skirt was standing with her legs deep in the water when Karan bends towards her, locking lips as he pulls a ring in her finger. “My sweet pest,” she smiles.
“Why this naughty smile,” he softly caresses her hair.
“Because my cute pest, I am thinking how we met last year in Goa. Your shameless flirting on my phone and almost falling asleep on me during the train voyage. It’s destiny!”
“Aha! No! It’s our twin cell phones.”
“Who says love stories are made in heaven?” She reflects.
PS: It’s a work of pure fiction