by Rhea Aggarwal
A long time ago, when I was in 7th grade, my aunt was engaged and looking forward to her marriage. We had decided to take a train to her in law’s place since a Hindu marriage or any marriage for that matter calls for a lot of luggage and small trinkets to be carried around and a plane ride would be quite expensive.
There were several cons to a train ride especially with the kind of luggage we were carrying. They were boxes of jewellery and expensive gift items (marriage being an extravagant affair). Train rides are infamously unsafe and are quite the epitome of opportunity for the locals thugs. Thus clutching the luggage to our chests, in the scorching heat of June, we reached the Nizamuddin station in Delhi only to find that the train was running late by 2 hours.
We sat on the platform, making a circle around the luggage and indulged in light laughter and a lot of fried snacks, typical of a train ride. Finally at 4 pm, the train entered the station and there was a wild rush to get in. After a lot of pushing around we entered the carriage and found our seats. It was, what I call a 4+2 arrangement. All the ladies were seated in the 4-bed compartment and the 2 gents in the upper and lower birth directly in front of us.
Evening tea was served around 7 (it is kind is an addiction in my family. We can’t go a day without the tea. The aroma soothes are nerves and gives us the strength to go about our day. It is more of a ritual in my family.) We had a quick dinner at 8:30 and after a rather dull game of cards we all retired to sleep at about 9. The luggage and heat had weighed us down and we were all looking forward to rejuvenate our tired spirits.
The day had gone relatively uneventful despite the threat of theft hanging in the air, yet the night was about to get exponentially exciting. At about 2 am I felt an urge to pee and just when I was about to get off the upper birth in which I was sleeping I heard a noise; a very