"Don't take your bike, Saji. What will you be using it for over there? Its dange........"
"Daddy, atleast there, I get to use it. I don't want it rusting away here. I'll take it on the same train anyway. There won't be any issues transporting it there."
It's always hard convincing daddy. This time around, I sounded more responsible I guess. I had just won the debate on taking my bike all the way to Jamshedpur.
I took the bike to the station, made sure it was set to leave on the same train as me, the Dhanbhad express to Jamshedpur. I paid the guy who "embalmed" it 20 bucks just to make sure, it reached Jampot in one piece.
July 13th 2.30pm
Hopped of the Dhanbad express, went straight to the cargo compartment...... Searched frantically for anything resembling my bike.
"Guess the bums delayed it. Hopefully they'll send it across the train scheduled to arrive the next day. "
I went on to the freight department and told them about my predicament. My Hindi was broken. I wouldn't have gone very far without CM helping me with all the Hindi he knew.
"Bhaiiyaa. Isko bahut takleef hai"
I was told to come again the next day to check up on the bike. I went the next day again with CM, hoping to see some sign of the bike. Nope...none.
Days slipped into weeks. Three weeks on, I spot this kind gentleman at the freight department who resolved to trace the bike down for me. I don't know what he did. but 3 days hence, i spotted the bike in the bike stand with all the embalming intact.
Did a quick check up and found the clutch hanging loose broken at the edges.
"Bhaiyya, Clutch ko kya hua?" , He glanced back. More of a grimace.
I could hear his expressions shout...."Come on sonny, I thought you wanted the bike !!! Do you think I rode it all the way here ??"
"Theek hai..Koi bath nahi...Leke ja raha hoon bhaiyya Thanks."....innocence splashed all across my nonchalant face.
As I took my bike, the supervisor narrated the story of how my bike went all the way to Dhanbad, found no takers there and returned to Chennai. It was in Chennai when yours truly traced it. He managed to get it across to Jampot in one piece. As I rolled my bike out, he sported a grin. (lets say signing off in style) I handed him a hundred rupee note. (It was the least I could give!) "Kaafi hai bhaiya" "Thank you Sir" I thanked CM for all the help, took it to the nearest bunk, filled some petrol and was away to college, quite relieved that the Indian Railways was atleast this good. (Dante was also part of the several rescue attempts. Bro...If you read this, Thank you)
I looked out my window towards the bike stands. Hmmm... my bike stood right there. Unfortunately no keys. It sported a second skin of dust, though.
Sometimes, friends can turn out to be worse than the railways. But must confess, it has not been a totally bad experience. I have ...gotten to use my bike. While the railways emptied the tank, friends always kept it full. I've never had to fill petrol (Probably thrice at XLRI... I m not joking!!!)
Right now, as I wait for some kind soul who took my bike to return the keys, (All I'm asking for is a bit of responsibility) I can't help feel some kind pf remorse in not listening to my dad. Perhaps, the bike would have been better off at home.
I guess, the railways is a little better, it did bother to return my bike.
Friends, in the above rumination, for all purposes, is to be taken in context. I shall not be held responsible for any misinterpretation of the same.