BEEP BEEP BEEP! I scowled, rolled over and turned off my alarm. The day my family and I had to travel to Delhi had finally dawned. At 6:00 AM. On a Sunday morning. Why? Well, royalty was getting married and we were among the lucky few to be invited. Alright, I am kidding. In reality, we had to attend my cousin sister Nina’s wedding. But if you ever met her, you would think that she has royal blood. And by royal blood, I mean she was a stuck up girl.
As usual, I was the last to wake up, so I quickly downed a cup of coffee and got dressed on autopilot. Within minutes, we found ourselves being driven to the Pune Railway Station by an irate cab driver. As soon as we got off, I was rather surprised to see that the station was a hub of activity even at such an ungodly hour.
Since we had arrived early, we had about 15 minutes until the train arrived at the platform. As much as I longed to sleep right there, I knew I couldn’t, so I forced myself to keep my eyes open. At exactly 6:45 AM, our train slowly pulled in at the platform. Even in my groggy state, I couldn’t help but notice how much trains had improved in the past couple of years. Red, gold and black, it looked very much like the Hogwarts Express. I stared at it, mesmerized, feeling every bit like a witch standing on platform 9 ¾. The announcer broke the spell by declaring that the train from Pune to Delhi had arrived.
As soon as the train came to a halt, two porters carried our luggage right into the bogey. In a couple of hours, I would be face to face with the girl who was once my best friend. A sweet girl who had slowly but surely been turned by that fickle fiend called popularity.
I was pretty much awake at this point and looked around to people watch interesting co-passengers. After all, I had six hours to kill. Right in front of me, there was an elderly couple who looked like they would rather do anything but be here. Since their expressions reflected exactly what I was feeling, I looked away. To my right, there were two girls who looked to be about my age. Although they were traveling together, trouble seemed to be brewing between them. Well, if not the destination, at least the journey would turn out to be interesting. And did I deserve it – 6 hours of uninterrupted travel to a place I didn’t want to be is no laughing matter.
After all the passengers were seated, the train started moving – slowly at first, then quickening and finally settling down into a steady rhythm. At exactly 7:00 AM, we were served breakfast by a pleasant lady dressed in a blue uniform much like that of an air hostess. Since we had pre-ordered a vegetarian meal, each one of us was served two slices of bread and butter, a glass of sweetened milk and a cup of coffee.
It was around lunchtime that my premonition about the girls turned out to be right. Carly and Jessica were sisters aged 18 and 19 respectively. Although they looked similar, they had extremely contrasting natures. Jessica was cheerful and sunny, while Carly had an unmistakable darkness in her; she snapped at Jessica at every chance she got and Jessica bore it silently. But the real trouble started when the lunch trolleys rolled in. Jessica had ordered a non-vegetarian meal, while Carly had ordered a vegetarian meal. When Jessica’s tray was served to her, Carly looked visibly disgusted. Just as Jessica was about to get her first bite of chicken, Carly cattily remarked that now she knew why Jessica couldn’t lose those extra pounds.
That’s when Jessica lost her cool. She turned to Carly with blazing eyes and firmly told her that she had enough of her nonsense. If she didn’t mind what she said, she would dump her at the Delhi station and go her own way. Carly looked like she had a lot to say but shut up right away.
For the next few minutes, the girls ate in peace, and it seemed that Jessica finally had the upper hand she rightly deserved. Just when everything seemed to be in its right place, we stopped abruptly. Caught off guard, I lurched forward and fell face forward on the ground.
I looked around only to see that I was on my bedroom floor. It was all just a dream! I slowly got to my feet and realized that it was time for me to face my fears. How long can I live like this? I had nothing to fear; Nina had changed for the worse, not me. I should sit down and have a conversation with her, tell her all that I had to say. And then it would be up to her: she could either try to salvage our friendship or end it for good. At least I would have the satisfaction of knowing that I tried to reach out to her. I walked across the room, pulled out my suitcase and started packing. To Delhi!