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The Train Journey

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

By Sahana Sundar

Founder - Spark Igniting Minds

It was the Grand Trunk Express that chugged on its rails with all its force sometimes and sometimes it was a slow haul. We were returning from Delhi after the prestigious National Integration Cultural Camp A lot had happened in the camp and it was fun to chit-chat and reminisce about the good ten days that we spent in the camp. Since these were cadets chosen for a cultural camp, they were professional singers and musicians and I was enjoying the travel as the cadets were in full vigour and enthusiastic singing and playing instruments. I, being a girl cadet instructor of Bangalore had trained these ten cadets whom I accompanied to Delhi and now we were returning back to Bangalore. It was the second day on the train and we were about to approach our destination in a few hours. The cultural show not only entertained me on the train but also the co-passengers who crowded us. People from the adjacent compartments joined us and their encouragement was an inspiration to the cadets. Among my cadets, there was an Air Force trainee around nineteen to twenty years of age who was an ace at playing the flute. He could play any raaga and any number effortlessly. He became a part of our orchestra team. He developed a great affinity towards our cadets and within no time they became thick friends. They shared a lot of things between themselves. I could see that he was drawn to me and narrated a few stories of his. His name was Alok Singh, belonged to UP and was returning to Jalahalli after a brief vacation to resume his training at Air Force Station, Bangalore.

He and my cadets wrote autographs for each other and exchanged addresses and phone numbers. It was about two hours left to reach Bangalore, and the whole team of my cadets along with Alok were enjoying the breeze near the door of the train. I was worried about my cadets' safety. Though I had strictly instructed about the do’s and don'ts to be followed during the journey, the cadets out of sheer excitement, zeal and a spirit of adventure, forgot all about my briefing and stood at the door. I with a fit of anger shouted at them and brought all my cadets back to their seats. In spite of telling Alok firmly to get around, Alok was a bit arrogant. He took my words lightly and did not care to listen to me. He got a kind of thrill holding the two bars on either side of the door and hanging his body in the air. The train that was moving slowly picked up speed and this boy was probably on cloud nine enjoying the intense thrill of hanging in there.

Immediately there was a thud sound. I felt as if the heart coming to my mouth. The gushing of the train was loud and reverberating and I yelled louder than that, "Hey, Go Ram, something must have happened to Alok. Just go see” We all rushed to the door and were shocked, he was not hanging at the door anymore. A light pole had hit his head and he collapsed somewhere in between. We were speechless, panic-stricken but somehow managed to pull the chain of the train. The train came to a grinding halt. we were fortunate to locate a railway station just next to our train. I related the whole incident immediately to the station master. He detailed an empty train from the station to where Alok fell. I allowed two of my cadets Ram and Pratap to go on the train and check the severity of the accident.

The rest of us reached Bangalore station and decided to hand over Alok's luggage to the station master we gave all known details of Alok to the station master and my cadets proceeded to their homes. at Bangalore. I alone waited for about two to three hours for our cadets to return. Ram said, “Madam, there are no hopes of his survival he has a severe brain haemorrhage and is in a state of complete coma.” The message shocked all of us. He too in shock, uttered, “We have admitted him to Nimhans Hospital, Bangalore”. Not knowing what to do, we all departed to our houses. The next day one of my cadets called me on my phone and shared his agony, "Mam Alok is no more!" Pratap met me in the unit the next day and showed me his autograph –“Death is the wish of some, the relief of many and the end of all.” Alok had written these words for Pratap in his autograph book. Probably he knew that death was very close to him.

About the Author

Captain Sahana is the founder of Spark Publication and Spark Igniting Minds.

Her remarkable literary skills combined with an illumined vision has made Spark the most cherished and charismatic community among the authors of various genres.

Publishing a book with spark will turn your goals into the vision and your zeal into a mission.
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