7th August 7:30 p.m. – Dhanbad Station
“Train ab Kewl hoke jayegi.”
I’ve just settled into my seat, opened a book, waiting for the train to leave the platform. I nod without really listening to what’s been said. One of my co-passsengers gets fidgety. I notice him out of the corner of my eye. He pokes me.
“Bhaiya, aap kahan jaa rahe hain.”
“Gaadi ab Kewl hokar jaa rahi hai. Direct Bhagalpur pahuncha degi. Sahebganj raaste mein nahi aata hai.”
This huge message sent to my brain kept getting sent back, hopefully, for clarification. I start making the round of calls. Father, Mother, Raju Bhaiya……
To no avail. Nobody knows what’s happened. But they all confirm, if the route’s been changed Sahebganj is cut off.
I get off and find the nearest T.T.E. He confirms the news. The route has been changed. My phone starts ringing.
“Babu! Pakul mein accident ho gaya hai. Ek maal gaadi, engine ko maar diya. Over bridge gir gaya hai. Sab train divert ho raha hain.”
I get off, and search for a taxi to get back home.
8th August 8:30 a.m. - Giridih
“Aaj Hazaribagh se Ranchi aane mein mushkil hai. Kuju se road bandh kar diya hai. Aag lag gaya hai!”
“haan! Koi baat nahi hai. Phusro- Burmo hoke aa jaana.”
“Uhhhh… Theek hai.Aag kaise lag gaya?”
“Koyla hain. Aag lag giya. Ab yeh road bandh kar dega.”
I resist the urge to curse. My father's watching.trudging up to the room,I haul my backpack into the car, and drive through the alternate route. Mine country, here I come.