Prospects of missing the train

Everytime I plan to visit a new place, the excitement gets over me. Then there comes a feeling what if everything does not go well? There are hits and misses in everyone’s life. But some incidents trouble us more than the others. We learn from our mistakes, and our next planning improve from the past failures. Fear of missing trains must have troubled everyone who travels regularly.

The first time I missed a train was when I was travelling from Howrah to New Delhi by Poorva Express. It was 1st July 2006. The train was scheduled to leave at 9:25 am and I thought I had reached well in time when I checked my watch to see it was only 8:20 am. I enquired about the train to a TTE, who was standing in the platform. It is a common practice in Kolkata and Howrah to ask Samaritan Railway Staff about trains who willingly tells us every detail of the train, time of departure, platform number, etc. To my utter surprise the person replied oh no, you have missed the train. I showed him the ticket, it is supposed to leave at 9:25 am, I said. Don’t you watch TV, today is 1st July, time table has changed, the train left at 8:05 am.

A flashbulb memory is a highly detailed, exceptionally vivid ‘snapshot’ of the moment and circumstances in which a piece of surprising and consequential (or emotionally arousing) news was heard. That’s how Wikipedia defines it. But the sinking feeling in your stomach, the sudden rush of adrenalin, or amygdala response can never be described. After the initial shock, I felt happy. It meant in spite of the financial  loss, I can spend an extra few hours with my wife. So missing trains can make you happy!

Well, the last time I faced it, it did not felt so good. We planned a short trip to Darjelling. We planned to start on Wednesday night, reach Darjelling on Thursday afternoon, spent two days and return from Darjelling on Saturday afternoon, and reach home on Sunday. My junior colleague Sampurna made a detailed plan of the tour and my wife booked the hotels, and we were ready for the short tour. The weather forecast also seemed to improve. We had our early dinner and left for the station on OLA cab.

We had one hour time in hand. I went to railway enquiry to ask about the departure of the train. I was shocked to learn that the train was delayed by more than eight hours. Now we had to return home even if we plan to take the morning train the following day. So again a cab to take us back from Howrah station to Baguiati. My son started crying, and it was my shortsighted plan that has cancelled the tour. Even if we did take the morning train, we would reach Siliguri in the evening. That meant another night stay at Siliguri. So we would be left with two days and a night in Darjelling. That would be a very short tour, we thought and consequently we cancelled the tour.

We learn from mistakes and I promised that henceforth, I will not buy tickets for special trains  or trains which runs weekly, because you can never predict, how late they can be, especially while planning short tours. Ultimately we planned a tour to Mandarmani, on the same weekend which I will post in my next post.