We were about half way from Gaurmukh. It was evening and rather dark. It was a small town. We enquired mode of transport for Gaurmukh.
There was none.
We went to the ticket counter. This time we asked very politely if there was any train scheduled now for Gaurmukh.
Yes, the train was scheduled in next half an hour.
But the seat was not available.
We had to go for Tatkal booking. The ticket was for Rs 800 each.
We could not afford it since the wallet was stolen that had about Rupees 3000 thousand in it.
We decided not to argue with the ticket guy.
We had to board the train now at any cost and get down before any TC comes to check the ticket.
It was adventurous.
We checked the ashes of our best friend kept inside the rucksack. We were worried. We didn’t get time earlier to check the status of our best friend.
We had been occupied first with the train rush then with TC and now with boarding another train from unexpectedly a new station.
We felt sorry for Kailash. It was him who was taking us to Kailash for funeral.
Thanks God, the urn containing ashes was in the rucksack only.
It was another two to three hours journey.
Two girls were sitting on the seat facing us.
One was a tall girl with wheatish complexion and another was of short height with fair complexion. Both must be of our age.
We had to pass our time. I was shy and Piyush was introvert and had improved a bit after our friendship.
He asked the girls where they were going.
The short girl with curly hairs told us they were going to Uttam Garh.
We told them that we were going to Gaurmukh too.
The tall girl looked suspicious and asked why we were going to Gaurmukh. She had to be suspicious because we were boys and must be womanizers.
Piyush started clarifying things. We were going to meet one of our best friends.
I stared at Piyush and asked him to keep his mouth shut as we had ashes and we could be in trouble.
The tall girl was now calm. She introduced herself as Shayra and her friend as Nandini. They both were in school and were going for picnic. Their friends would be meeting at Uttam Garh. We introduced ourselves also and started talking.
I could make out that Nandini was talkative and friendly. Shayra was also friendly but seemed to be more matured between the two girls.
We exchanged mobile numbers.
We did not save numbers in our mobile but noted down on a piece of paper. We had to tell the girls that mobiles were not charged.
The mobiles had to be kept switched off otherwise we would keep on getting calls and messages as we had run away from home.
Nandini asked the address where our friend lived. We informed that we had the locality but not the exact house and street number. Shayra told us that we should have the exact address as we were visiting our best friend and best friends know everything about one another.
Internet connectivity was good and both were engaged on social media and whatsapp where ever they got time.
We were not talking much because we were new to this place.
Suddenly girls stared at us and asked, “What exactly is going on?”
We were alert now and said, “What happened suddenly?”
They had news of our running from our home and had been updated on whatsapp with our photo. We had ashes of our best friend Kailash.
We were shocked and kept quiet for some time. We had to say something before our quietness stretches long.
I looked into the eyes of Shayra to tell some story with confidence so that we could reach our destiny.
She had a good complexion with sharp features. Her face was long and oval and had shiny eyes.
I told her we were going to Kailash which is near Gaurmukh and had to meet our friend there and not in Gaurmukh.
Shayra was relaxed now. Nandini was from Gaurmukh and knew each and every corner of the town. Her father got transferred to Delhi and hence not living in Gaurmukh now.
Time passed by and the train arrived at Uttam Garh. We were not feeling good as we would part with the girls. We looked at them.
They were also not feeling good.
I hugged Shayra and Piyush hugged Nandini.
We felt lonely after both of them left us. But we had to keep going.
Finally our station came and we got down. It was dark. The sign board at the platform read, “Gaurmukh”.
We took a rickshaw from there and reached Kailash.
We were happy that Kailash had reached Kailash for funeral from his best friends.
Kailash was a remote place and it was cold here.
It was a hilly area from the point rickshaw dropped us. It was about 500 meters where Kailash was surrounded by rivers on three sides and the chill factor due to rivers was making it colder.
This was the place where we had to blow ashes in the river in the direction the wind was blowing.
We felt sad that Kailash would part with us in Kailash. But we were also feeling high that we had done what we wanted to do.
It was 10 o’clock in the night and it was not the right time to blow ashes. It is not auspicious to blow it in the night.
We were lost in Kailash with Kailash. It was difficult to trace anything in this unknown plae. No transport was available and it was a remote area.
We had to look for accommodation here only.
We walked few meters and found light coming from a distance. We were happy that finally motel was available. But we were equally worried what if it didn’t turn out to be a motel. Where we will go in the night?
God was with us. The light was coming from motel only.
There was no sign board. We went to reception and asked if room was available. The old lady was sitting with white hair and wrinkles on her face who slowly looked at us and then at the register without saying a word.
We checked in the motel and found room reasonably good. We changed clothes and slept in next 5 minutes.
The sun rays awoke us next morning. We were not feeling like getting up. It was already 8.00 and we were worried if we would get breakfast.
We were ready by 9.00 and were feeling energetic after a good sleep and a healthy breakfast.
We reached the river and looked at one another. We both nodded and took out urn containing ashes.
I kept the ashes near my heart and felt like living with it.
But the time had come after lots of challenges and it was now wise to perform the rites without wasting time.
Finally ritual was performed.
Our happiness knew no limits. We had finally done what we were thinking of for our best friend and for whom we had challenged the whole world.
It was time to go back as there was nothing to see here.
What would happen once we reach our home? How would we face our family members and friends and more importantly our neighbors who are always there in our locality?
But we had no choice. We prayed God and started return journey.