ONE NIGHT @ THE CALL CENTER
[Typeset by: Arun K Gupta]
This is someway my story. A great fun, inspirational One!
Before you begin this book, I have a small request. Right here, note down three things. Write down something that
makes you angry and
you don’t like about yourself.
Be honest, and write something that is meaningful to you.
Do not think too much about why I am asking you to do this. Just do it. One thing I fear:
One thing that makes me angry:
One thing I do not like about myself:
Okay, now forget about this exercise and enjoy the story.
Have you done it?
If not, please do. It will enrich your experience of reading this book. If yes, thanks Sorry for doubting you. Please forget about the exercise, my doubting you and enjoy the story.
The night train ride from Kanpur to Delhi was the most memorable journey of my life. For one, it gave me my second book. And two, it is not every day you sit in an empty compartment and a young, pretty girl walks in. Yes, you see it in the movies, you hear about it from friend’s friend but it never happens to you. When I was younger, I used to look at the reservation chart stuck outside my train bogie to check out all the female passengers near my seat (F-17 to F-25)is what I’d look for most). Yet, it never happened. In most cases I shard my compartment with talkative aunties, snoring men and wailing infants.
But this night was different. First, my compartment was empty. The Railways bad just started this new summer train and nobody knew about it. Second, I was unable to sleep.
I had been to IIT Kanpur for a talk. Before leaving, I drank four cups of coffee in the canteen while chatting with students. Bad idea, given that it was going to be boring to spend eight insomniac hours in an empty compartment. I had no magazines or books to read. I could hardly see anything out of the window in the darkness. I prepared myself for a silent and dull night. It was anything but that.
She walked in five minutes after the train bad left the station. She opened the curtain of my enclosure and looked puzzled.
‘Is coach A4, seat 63 here?’ she said.
The yellow light bulb in my compartment was a moody one. It flickered as I looked up at her.
‘Hub…’ I said when I saw her face. It was difficult to withdraw from the gaze of her eyes.
‘Actually it is. My seat is right in front of you,’ she answered her own question and heaved her heavy suitcase onto the upper berth. She sat down on the berth opposite me, and gave out a sigh of relief.
‘I climbed onto the wrong coach. Luckily the bogies are connected,’ she said, adjusting her long hair that ended n countless ringlets. From the corner of my eye I tried to look at her. She was young, perhaps early to midtwenties. Her waist-length hair had a life of its own: a strand fell on her forehead repeatedly. I could no see her face clearly, but I could tell one thing —she was pretty. And her eyes—once you looked into them, you could not turn away. I kept my gaze down.
She re-arranged stuff in her handbag. I tried to look out of the window. It was completely dark.
‘So, pretty empty train,’ she said after ten minutes.
‘Yes,’ I said. ‘It’s the new holiday special. They just started it, without telling people about it.’
‘No wonder. Otherwise, trains are always full at this time.’
‘It will get full. Don’t worry. Just give it a few days,’ I said ad leaned forward, ‘Hi. I am Chetan by the way, Chetan Bhagat.’
“Hi,’ she said and looked at me for a few seconds. ‘Chetan…I don’t know, your name sounds familiar.’
Now this was cool. It meant she had heard of my first book. I am recognized rarely. And of course, it had never happened with a girl on a night train.
‘You might have heard of my book, Five Point Someone. I’m the author,’ I said.
‘Oh yes,’ she said and paused....
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