There are so many unexplained things in the universe, so many unresolved mysteries, and a part of that vastness is the tiny you, trying to make sense of the individual that you are. A hundred and ten thoughts are sprinting through your head, all scrambled in a one big messy pile. Your mind is racing to figure out the purpose and the meaning to all the ambiguity that surrounds you. Even though you feel in a rut mentally but in the physical essence there is the showcase of absolute serenity except for the occasional outbursts. Unfortunately, there is no harmonization of mind and body. So what happens?
You run. You run from your family, your loved ones, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, basically everyone you have ever known but you run mostly from yourself.
Right now, sitting at the train station, I am trying to figure out my next step. The darkness and the hollowness of this quite night both gives me time to space my thoughts out but at the same time it also scares me.
Trying to not focus on my status of being all alone at a platform in the middle of the night, I begin my search.
In my childhood, I have read stories of scenic beauty and insane natural spread of Mussoorie and Nainital. Always figured that even though life was pretty underdeveloped there, there would be some tranquility in living at such a place. Since I had very recently been to Nainital, I decided to make my way towards Mussoorie. I went to the counter, found out about the train. The cheapest ticket for New Delhi in the Ndls Duronto cost Rs 850. From there, separate expenses would have to be incurred to reach to Mussoourie.
Note to self: I have Rs 30,000 with me only. Pretty tight budget right. I need to be very careful with the money.
It shall leave at 12:45 PM today. Travelling in sleeper class was a risk as far as safety was concerned but then I am right now also not exactly, in a protected environment. I looked at my watch. It was 4 AM. Most of the people on the platform were asleep. Thankfully except for the occasional stares I was not harassed by anyone but that did not keep me from getting worked up about those background noises.
I had think hard and fast. I had to think of a place where it would be cheap to live and travel to. I picked out my phone and started searching.
Text: Places you can reach to under Rs 1000 from West Bengal.
The first names that pop up are Darjeeling and Gangtok. Then I put in the phrase- Travel from Kolkata to Darjeeling. Out popped the ways.
It said I needed to first travel to Silliguri and then make my way to Darjeeling. Okay. So the next step was to figure out the fares. The 15643 PURI KYQ EXPRESS would depart at 7:30 AM and would cost me Rs 330 is the Sleeper Class. It was a 12 hour journey, I would reach by 7:30PM. There was no need to sleep and hence n need to worry about luggage and other stuff. I got up and bought the ticket.
As I was going back to my previous spot, I felt very uncomfortable. My instinct just told me to go and sit someplace that was a little bit crowded. The creepy feeling in my stomach just would not go away. So I kept walking until I came by a family who were waiting for their train to arrive. They seemed decent enough. I went and asked them where were they going and if it was okay if I waited with them for a while. Coincidentally, they too were going to Silliguri from the very same train. They were in the process of switching trains.
It was a nuclear family; mom, dad, brother and sister. Sister was about four years old and responded immediately to me. In between the light conversation with her mother, I played with the kid.
Mother: So, where are you from?
Mother: Why are going to Silliguri?
Me: I am on my way to visit Darjeeling
Mother: Work or Holiday?
Me: Kind of both
She gave me a look which asked for some more explanation.
Me: I am going there for a holiday but if I like the place, I might look for work there.
Mother: Where is your family?
FAMILY. They were the people I was running away from. What answer should I give a stranger or as a matter of fact anyone? I would have to answer to this question a lot. So my answer better be smart and would be better if it wasn’t a lie.
Me: They are here in Kolkata. I have just stepped out to look for the opportunities that are out there and just travel India for a bit on my own.
She seemed satisfied with that answer and with that went back to attending to her kids.
I was relieved now that the conversation had stopped. I had to focus on my next step. I can’t answer any more questions about my current situations. I needed time to think.
First things first. I need to see to my arrangements for stay and further journey on road. What to do? Should I stay in Silliguri for the night or make my way for Darjeeling that night itself? Once again I started googling.
Text: Silliguri to Darjeeling.
I found that the easiest way was to take a shared jeep from the station itself which would cost me Rs150 and would be a 3.5hr journey. Next.
Text: Should you travel from Siliguri to Darjeeling at night?
My search resulted in telling me the fact that shared jeeps were only available from 7 am to 3pm. So that meant I needed to stay the night in Silliguri. Now I would find a place to stay near the station.
This would mean more expenditure. What to do?