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Shweta Kukreja
Mar 13, 2021
In Stories
The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow stronger. And these senses grow stronger when we are in dire need of the magic to occur. I have had similar experiences in the foreign land which gives me creeps every time I recall it. I was just 24 and in my second job. My then manager called and informed me that I was called to attend a training in Dartford, UK. Me?? I never had gone to the south of the country let alone the UK. Yet, me and my other fellow colleague let our anxiety take a backseat and flew to the UK. Weekdays passed normal and exciting. Well, the weekend was almost there and we wanted to see London which was just 45 mins drive from Dartford. We reached the nearest metro station to look for travel options. There came Saturday, we woke up early at 6 in the morning and reached the station, took a one day travel pass and sat there to experience our very first gateway. Just like how a baby takes his first steps and feels excited and accomplished, two girls of 24, first time in foreign trip and planning their weekend getaways all by themselves was a moment of pride for us. But this story looks very normal right now because 'a story without magic is no story', at least not the one I’d like to tell you all after 15 years. So the story goes ahead with the lots of sightseeing, travel in buses, tubes and subways without a single halt as if we had been conserving all our energy the past week to channelise in spending it for what we call our perfect day out. Everything was indeed planned and going perfect until 7:50 pm just when we realised we were late. We were advised by the train station personnel the other day that the last train for the source station was at 10:30 so we had to manage our times accordingly. Now the calculations started backwards and all algorithms were applied just to conclude we did not have much time left for any further exploration. But our bucket list was still left with one last point, ‘St. Paul’s Cathedral’. A synagogue, was it a place worth skipping? A fight started between our practical and emotional corner. “Bhai, we are in a stranger country all by ourselves with no place to take shelter. Better hurry up and head back to the train station”, our practical corner voiced. The emotional stance felt if we could still make it to our last point even if we just have to touch its sacred steps and run back. We knew it was across the street and we kept track of time, "we’ll be able to manage the show". We did so, went to the church, took the blessings and rushed to the nearby station. A big sigh of relief, we were well in time. We checked with the people for the right train and boarded it. It was a busy one with chuckles and chatters around. We, of course, got busy with our own discussions about the day spent and looking at the photos. As the time passed by, the noises became weaker and the people less. It was almost 30 mins but the stations remained unfamiliar. We panicked, asked people around and checked the map stuck inside the train, Dartford was not a station on the map. We had boarded the WRONG train. It made our blood run cold. “Goodness, ab kya karein”. “Shall we get down at one of these stations and take a train to Dartford?” It was 9:15 now and we desperately needed help. . Just then, a couple of guys overheard our conversation and advised that it would be our silliest of the mistake to get down at any station as these were inferior ones and we may not find a train to dartford from these stations. Instead we were suggested to go till the last station and come back to the source station in the same train. We never found ourselves so restless. Panicking wasn't a solution so we went by the suggestion. Little that we knew that going to the last station means travelling in an almost empty train. I personally haven't encountered any scariest situation than this one. It looked like we two had booked the entire cinema hall to watch a show. One by one everyone unboarded the train to leave not a single person inside. Just when the whistle blew for the train to head back to the source station, four brawny dark skinned boys stepped in making way to sit around in our chamber. We could literally hear our heart beating faster than ever. We looked at each other, turned around to see them and looked back to each other again. "Oh God, be with us" were the only few words we could murmur. Despite being so tired and exhausted we couldn't blink our eyes even once. Our eyes were searching for God and heart, the Magic. And then I guess, the UNIVERSE made it happen. Two minutes to 10:30 pm, we arrived back at London station (Magic 1). Two minutes later, the last train to dartford arrived on the platform across ours (Magic 2). We boarded the train and made it to our destination at 11:15 pm. The place where all the stores close by 6 in the evening, one of the stores 'ASDA' was still lit, tearing the darkness around (Magic 3). We rushed to the store where the shutter was almost getting closed. We requested the store personnel to call the cab driver as our phones died on us and they did (Magic 4). The cab arrived in 10 mins. We thanked the store authorities who waited till we boarded the cab to our hotel. That night, we couldn't sleep. Not because we went through such a spine-chilling experience but wondering and believing that the MAGIC is for REAL. It just waits for the right moment so that it is remembered for life. Thanks to Charul for giving me an apt platform to share my story and to everyone reading this - "If you haven't till now, start believing and looking out for the MAGIC around you!!!"
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Shweta Kukreja

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