Life is a continuous journey. Some journeys are short and some long. Some journeys are sweet and pleasant while some are sour. Some journeys are too memorable to be erased by the sands of time. I had one such experience. The memory of this journey continues to flicker, on and on, in my mind even after several years.
Being born and brought up in Meghalaya, a state without railways, I had no opportunity to see a train or to travel in one. Therefore, when my school organised an excursion to New Delhi, our National capital, I was one of the first to join in.
We reached Guwahati on 9th Dec., as our train reservation was for the following day by North- East Express. We reached the station early in the morning, the next day and boarded the train. The train started off at 6.00 a.m. I sat by the window and enjoyed the passing scenery. The sights of numerous rivers, bridges, countryside, evergreen paddy fields, lush green tea gardens, vast plains, etc. enchanted me a lot.
In the late afternoon we reached New Jalpaiguri station, which is the gateway to Darjeeling and Sikkim. Some of us got out of the train to have a look at the station. The hustle and bustle of people moving about, the coming and going of trains and the enticing sights of the various stalls of the station attracted our attention and we too moved about the platform enjoying these sights. We didn’t realise how quickly the time had passed.
Suddenly we saw our train moving. We were at the far end of the platform and ran with all speed and might to catch the train. I was the last to notice the movement of the train and so the last to run. I too ran after my friends to catch the train. But the train was moving fast. Within moments my friends managed to get in.
As I was about to reach the train, I slipped and fell on the platform. I saw my train speeding away before my sight. I shivered with fear. My friends were shouting at the top of their voice asking me to run faster.
Just then a coolie lifted me and ran with me to the door, where my friends pulled me in. I just looked back and waved my hands at the good Samaritan, who had helped me-1 got only a glimpse of his face. But that face continues to remain afresh in my mind.
The incident deeply scared me and I dared not to move an inch from my seat thereafter. It took some time for me to recover from the shock. The wonderful sights of New Delhi and Agra failed to bring back my lost enthusiasm and interest. I don’t even remember what I saw and how the rest of the excursion ended. The incident at the N.J. P Railway Station was too great to be forgotten by a few passing bliss.
I can never forget this memorable journey. The reminiscences of this journey often flicker in my mind every now and then. Whenever this happens, I say a short prayer for the kind and unknown Samaritan, who helped me on that fateful day to get into the train. It was, by far, the most unforgettable journey of my life- a journey that has left its deep scars on the canvas of my life.