We met in the evening at 5. Piyush asked me, “Why don’t we steal ashes that must have been kept in the Urn. Otherwise ashes will be taken to Haridwar the next day”.
I did not like the idea. I asked what would happen if we were caught stealing the urn. We would be ashamed in front of everyone- our parents, relatives, our neighbours. I just could not digest this idea.
Now Piyush started. Obviously he was angry. One of his best friends was not present among us and his friend; I was not listening to him. He threw a soft punch on my face and I became imbalanced and fell down on the floor just next to the first stair. If it had been a few inches away my face would have been bleeding. I was furious now and was about to smash him when he spoke very softly.
“My dear friend, why don’t you try to understand? We will have to do for our best friend. What is the point of this life if we cannot think about our best friend”?
I thought about it for some time and said, “Yaar you are right”.
We had to do this for our best friend. Our best friend never wanted to part with us and we could not think of his funeral without us.
The plan was decided and I had to steal the ashes.
Next morning I went to Kailash’s house when his father had gone out to buy grocery. I could not go through the main gate as I was a thief not a visitor or a member of the family. I checked the central window of the side wall and tried to open it.
Fortunately in one shot I opened the window and peeped inside the room. No one was there. Only his mom should have been at home. I did not hear any noise. I went to the entrance of the drawing room where everyone was praying. I was nervous. What would happen if anyone sees me as many people knew us?
I withdrew from there and went back to the room.
Piyush was watching me. He waived his hand to ask if I had the ashes.
I went back to the entrance of drawing room. I didn’t have any choice now. I had to do this.
I searched for the urn. Fortunately it was kept on the table attached on the right wall of the drawing room.
I was standing at the right place now. The table was about only an inch away. I waited for the right moment.
Suddenly there was some noise of tyres screeching outside the house. Within minutes there was some commotion in the drawing room.
In about two minutes I was out of the room from where I peeped inside.
I and piyush ran from there within seconds and didn’t see anywhere. We didn’t want to take any chance. We had the ashes.
We had to run for the railway station. We had to take Shatabdi express for Gaurmukh. We had very limited time as we had to come back the next day otherwise we would have come in the limelight.
We reached railway station and checked timings. Shatabdi was scheduled for 12.35 in the noon. We checked our watch. It was 1.10 and the train had already left. We checked at the counter if there was any seat available in case the train was late. The counter guy didn’t look at us and simply said, “No seat is available”.
Late arrival and departure of trains somewhere from an hour and 10 hours is very common in Indian Railways.
Our chance of getting the train was very bright even if we were late. We again inquired but this time we were in style, “Bhaiya theek se check karo, seat available hogi”.
The counter guy became irritated. There were many people behind us in the queue. The middle aged man said, “Theek se check kiya tha, tabi bataya tha”. People behind us started talking among themselves and we felt embarrassed.
We sat there for some time and decided to ask if there was any other train to Gaurmukh. The next scheduled train was at 3 o’clock. The train was Gaurmukh Kanti.
We went outside and had our lunch.
We waited for the train. As usual the train was late this time also.
Surprisingly it was late by 20 minutes only.
We boarded the train. The train was crowded and had halted here for only 15 minutes. We got our seats.
Gaurmukh was about 5 hour’s journey.
Luckily Piyush had map in his rucksack. We checked the map to check the stations that would come before Gaurmukh so that we do not miss it in case we fall sleep.
After some time we went to the toilet. The train was very crowded and people were sitting on the floor making it difficult to reach the toilet.
We managed to reach and felt relieved. We struggled again while coming back to our seat.
It was 5 in the evening. We were feeling hungry a bit. We had Namkeen mixture and few assorted biscuits. We were having it when suddenly ticket checker (TC) came. Badge on his pocket had Bhan Singh as his name engraved on the batch. He came to our seat and asked for the ticket.
Piyush was now feeling a bit happy as few biscuits had entered in his stomach. He very easily put his hand in his shirt pocket to take out the tickets. He felt uneasy and looked at me. I was not bothered as earlier he had shown humour many times. He shook my shoulder and started searching all pockets and his rucksack.
Now I had a hint that Piyush was serious this time. I asked him to check each and every pocket again. He asked me to check my pockets also. I was sure I didn’t have the ticket as Piyush had kept the ticket in his pocket after getting it from the counter.
Bhan singh was looking at us with his right hand in his trouser pocket.
We stared at one another for some time. Now we felt embarrassed and thought of next action. He looked at Bhan Singh with low eyes and became nervous. The TC said, “why both of you are travelling without a ticket. People like you make us feel ashamed and people loose trust if we do not come for checking”.
Piyush was nervous. I told the TC that it must have been lost while going to the toilet. But TC was not ready to listen. We were told to pay the fine of Rs 600 each.
Piyush put his hands in his trouser pocket and took out the amount.
The purse was not there. I felt irritated and started shouting at Piyush, “what is happening? Can’t you take care of your belongings?”
Piyush had no answer. I calmed down myself otherwise things would have gone weird.
I took out my wallet and found only 2 notes of Rs 500. Nothing was surprise. I had asked Piyush to keep money and then we had to share at the end of the journey.
Our rucksacks had some money but that was for emergency and for getting back to home. We didn’t want to use that money.
We pleaded with TC. He simply said, “It happens almost every day with one or another passenger and especially with people of your age”.
We had to get down at the next station. Everyone was looking at us and our faces were red. We got down at the next station.
The next station was Garhpeera. We had not heard about it. We opened our rucksack to check if the map was still there.
Yes, it was there.
We were about half way from Gaurmukh. It was evening and rather dark. It was a small town. We enquired mode of transport for Gaurmukh.
There was none.
To be continued…