“She is also in army” he told us.
“Love or Arranged?” This was the second time I asked this question to a stranger in train. Last time, it was when I was going to Jaipur on Rakshabandhan last year. The girl was also getting married in the end of the year 2016.
“Love” he said.
The girl’s answer was also the same. So, I met a girl last year getting married to her lover and a guy this year doing the same.
He was a good conversation handler. Whenever silence took over, he asked something else like “Does ragging happen at IITs?” “How is the studies there?” “And Placement?” etc.
“No ragging is done in our college, however if somebody wishes they can go to senior’s hostel by choice”
“Good, now it has changed”
“I have heard there is ragging in NDA” Riko said.
“Yes, it’s fucking evil. The training is a part of it. But I think it is good, what I am today is of them only. The physical training makes you mentally strong.”
We were just nodding to the facts.
He told us about his life in brief. Last year he was in Jabalpur, September to March for training. How they ran with 14 Kg loads tied to them, rock climbing, cliff climbing and swimming. He said he was at the peak of physical fitness while in training. How they bunked the training, asking friends to lock their room from outside and sleeping all day. They were sleep deprived, they managed to get just 2-3 hour sleep a day. 10 Km extra run was the punishment for absence on the training field.
We also discussed how he missed the college life. After 12th, he joined NDA so no experience of college. He asked about us routine. He missed all those hostel parties, LAN Gaming, GPLs etc. It was 1 A.M when we left off to sleep.
“I will take movies from you in the morning” he said when going to bed. I nodded.
I like to feel the mornings in trains. So, I wake up early while traveling on rails. I woke up at 7 and get rid of all my daily chores. Stood at the door and felt the wind. I came back and sat on my upper berth. Around 10 o’clock, Kurt woke up. He came to my berth with his hard disk. He chose some movies and I transferred them to his disk from my laptop.
“Let me show you something interesting” he said and connected his hard drive to my laptop. There were folders like STUDY MTL, OPS, FIELD etc. He opened one of them named ‘Operations’ and their were files named in a order like Ops black_11, Ops Black_12 etc. It reminded me of the video game Call of Duty-Black ops. Anyway, he opened a PowerPoint presentation. It was about the 26/11 Mumbai attack. He was a part of the team, his team was assigned to rescue the foreigners from Taj Hotel.
51 SAG team’s member Kurt got into the hotel from the roof. The PPT described all the things happened during the mission in detail. Who threw a grenade and where were the terrorists hiding. Explained to me every slide. It was great to get an insight about the working of the counter-terrorists and the terrorists. It was when Riko woke up. We got down and sat there. He was good at narrating. Then, he told us his days in Arunachal Pradesh. It was winter then and how he and his team lived in the snow covered terrain for months without mobile signals, electricity and just gathered stock of food. How it took four hours to walk to the Headquarters from his post. He showed us pictures in his mobile of the place. His post was a little hut in between two cliffs. No life in 80 KM radius, just snow. The life is an adventure in the defense, I was told this in childhood by somebody and his stories concreted the belief. It was amazing, he had lived in snow, heavy rain and now in Rajasthan. Respect for the soldiers.
Apart from his narration, we talked about college life, how youth is addicted to smoking, drinking and american TV shows. He was watching GoT and was on season 3. We talked about Varanasi and the only nightlife in Varanasi is strolling on the ghats. He asked us about our ‘status’. Some of the things he said “This country owes us something, so remember to pay back” he said this in lieu of the cases where IITians go abroad to earn money. And “Enjoy, do anything you want because time will run fast.” “Try everything but never get addicted” Each is a simple advice but if you follow, they got meaning.
We sent friend requests on facebook before we boarded off the train.
“My cousin sister studies in MNIT, I have to reach MNIT, in the evening I will leave for Kota”
“Join us, MNIT is on the way we will drop you” I asked him.
“Okay, if you are comfortable.” he said.
We three were sitting in the Uber cab when he said “Let’s exchange contacts.”
“I will call you when I will be in Varanasi” he said after we exchanged numbers.
“Sure” I said.
We dropped him off at Gargi girls’ hostel, MNIT. For the first time, I made a friend and gave my number to someone I met during a train journey.
Now, I am home, typing this from my parents’ bedroom sitting in front of the cooler. 🙂
In the other world, I got the job of a content writer at collegedunia.com. I got the offer letter on May 8. I am looking forward to work with them. 🙂