Om woke up with a jolt. And out of habit, his hands straight up went to his pockets. "Yes, everything's safe". He checked his breathing, "Yes, I'm alive". He was 20 and it was the first time he was travelling alone. And even the thought of a 3 day train journey, alone, made him very nervous right from the words "Don't be a wuss you'll be fine"His usual excuse for his nerves was, "I'll be bored! Majority of the people will be with their family, and I'll be stupidly staring out of the window, looking at random traffic jams on the road and green grasses in the village side". He had a knack of screwing things up, by just overthinking normal stuff, when people expected him to act like a 20 year old. He was sitting in the train, alone, waiting for some magic to happen. But the nauseating smell from the bathroom which was right next to him was enough to distract him. He remembered the time when he traveled with his high school friends on a trip, and locked up a friend in the very same bathroom. But damn! He was alone now, and he had to deal with it. And now, he had to pee.
"Don't go, coz if you do, you know you're luggage is gone as good"
"But it's chained?"
"I'm telling you, it will be gone"
"Fine i will wait till everyone is asleep, who cares how long it takes"
He had random plastic food packets around him. Normally with someone for company, this would mean "packets filled with hour of fun and some air". He was in no mood to eat then anyway and declined all the attempts by neighbors to start a conversation. He kept his bag near him, which had his biggest asset. Home food! Which he would eat, not when he was hungry, but when he felt less awkward.
"What if they feel uncomfortable when you eat?"
"They are eating too"
He was going through his usual teenage mid-life crisis. So a train journey was a good change to think things through. He wanted to do something to raise his own bar of awkwardness and defy the competitions he was facing. But right now, everything was a chaos. His school crush was out there, dancing with the guy he hated. "You know what is the best thing to do? Play some sad songs and feel depressed"
He had a good distraction in form of a vendor, selling playing cards, paper soap, chains and every useless thing which you'd generally ignore, but very useful in a train ride. Seeing the vendor he thought, "Great, An 18 year old has a job too." So far, he wasn't doing well, he clearly seemed unhappy.
"We should sell stuffs on train too"
"Or!! we should suit up and get ready for a corporate life"
He laughed at himself for even coming up with a nonsensical dilemma. Yes. This was his new hobby now. Talking to himself. Listening to himself. Giving life advice to himself and then laughing at himself. He realized, he wasn't such a boring person after all. Maybe the failure he was facing was just because his lack on confidence in himself. He made best friends with himself. But it had a side effect too. People. He'd just stare in the void out of the window and laugh all of a sudden. "Honey, let's go, there's a psycho over here" they would think. But like a toddler, he was unaware of every other thing and was enjoying his own company. Earning money? He'll think about it later, after he's a graduate maybe? He was only 20! He has to enjoy now! And not to assume himself sitting in a grand office in the CEO chair and ordering people around. But this was a train ride, and he had vague thoughts in his head.
"What would be the best career option bro!"
"Serial killer! We'll kill for rich people"
"Bus drivers? You love driving!"
"You know what, you should sleep, give it a rest for today, we'll think more stupid stuff tomorrow"
It was 3 days train ride, which meant 3 days without bathing, in the same clothes and he can even warm the same seat for 3 days.
"Wait? Its day 2 right?"
"Bro, you just boarded 1 hour ago, remember checking out that girl at the station"
"That was yesterday!"
He slept again, only to wake up with the very familiar, "kaapi.. tea..kaapi..kaapi".
Life gave a kick-start. He was glad. He was home!.
Read Chapter 2 HERE