Ved came hurriedly to the train station. He was pretty sure he will not get a berth in the train. It is a twenty four hour trip. He was hoping to speak to the conductor and get a berth for this day.
Shalini reached the train station. Confidently, she took out her ticket to realize that her friend had booked the ticket for the wrong train. She had to take this train at any cost. She knew it would be difficult to find a ticket.
Ved and Shalini came to the conductor from different directions. Ved asked if any berths are available. Shalini also asked the conductor. The conductor looked at Ved and shouted, “There are no berths. It is peak season. All kids are on holidays and their parents are taking them everywhere. I cannot help you.” Within a minute, when Shalini asked him if any berths are available, the conductor said, “Sorry madam. There are no berths available. I will try to check and let you know. Please give me some time.”
Ved was infuriated by the difference in the behavior of the conductor.
Meanwhile, a man holding his baby came towards Ved and said, “Hi. I’m Harish. I have two tickets for me and my wife. But, we cannot take this trip. If you want, I can give you the tickets. I will tell the conductor that you are from my family. That should help both of us. But, I want to sell both the tickets and not just one ticket. I’ll ask my wife to talk to her. I’m not sure. But, you both might have to act as husband and wife till you get down the train tomorrow.”
Though Ved initially did not like the idea, he had to accept it as he had to travel that evening or his father would be very upset. Shalini also had to agree as she had to travel to help her friend.”
The train got delayed and it did not start for some time. Ved and Shalini said hi to each other and placed their luggage near the berths where they had to sit. Harish introduced Ved as his brother to the conductor. The conductor said, “I have no issues as long as he has an identity card. But, you people have to be careful if the cops doubts you. They often come to check the travelers on this route.”
Ved hoped that should not happen for this trip.
Before the train started, Ved thought it would be appropriate to talk to his friend who is going through a lean phase. Having known that it will take some time for the train to start, Ved got down the coach and called up Karthik and said, “You don’t know what happened today. I could get a berth in this train. There is so much drama that happened. It all happened so fast.”
Karthik was not listening to him. Karthik said, “Ved, listen. I need to talk to you. I was waiting for your call. Can you give me the contact number of your uncle who is a lawyer? I’m tired of Smitha. I have to meet him tomorrow to discuss about separation.”
Ved was listening. He realized that the situation was grim for Karthik. Ved asked, “What happened? Is everything alright?”
Karthik said, “Nothing is alright. I feel like a trapped bird after marriage. I’m not supposed to smoke. I’m not supposed to drink. I cannot go out to party with my old pals. I have to be with her and go shopping with her everyday. She thinks I have no life before our marriage. She doubts if I get any calls or messages from girls. She keeps blaming me for not having any responsibility. She always has headache. I cannot deal with her anymore. She is trying her best to dominate. You know how free-spirited I am. Nobody can dominate me. I’m vexed. I need to get out of this relationship sooner or I’ll get mad.”
Ved listened and said, “If you are having so much problem, it is better for you to get out of that relationship. I’ll forward you his contact details shortly. Go watch some fun movies or drink some beer. Don’t get stressed out. I’ll call you back later.”
Inside the train, Shalini got a call on her mobile phone. Shalini answered the call and said, “Hi Smitha. How are you? I’ll reach tomorrow morning. I’ll come to your place before I go to my home.”
Smitha said, “He was shouting at me this afternoon. He thinks that I am his slave. He is trying his best to dominate me. He ignores me even when I tell him that I’m not well. I had to go to the doctor all alone the other day. He doubts if I get a call from my friends who are boys. He does not come with me for shopping. He does not buy anything for me. He always lives his old life of friends, smoking, and partying. He does not include me at all in his life. I’m tired of all this. I want to get separated from him. I’m waiting for you to come so that we can go and meet your father’s friend who is an advocate.”
Shalini said, “I know. I can understand what you are going through. My cousin also faced this same problem. Please be strong till tomorrow morning.”
The train started in some time. A few minutes later, the conductor quickly came to their berths and told them that the cops are coming to check this train. They have to act as husband and wife and the cops should not get any doubt. Actually, one of the cops is traveling and was allotted a berth next to their berths.
Ved and Shalini had to come up with a plan to act as if they were husband and wife in front of the cop. Ved came up with this idea. He said, “Look. We do not have time to know more about each other. If they ask us questions or try something, we might end up getting caught. The best option is to fight like a real husband and wife. I know a friend of mine who is fighting with his wife daily. I remember all those dialogues. Be impromptu. Add your own dialogues. Just sulk, importantly.”
Shalini said, “That’s a good idea. My best friend is also ready to break up with her husband and I know what she is going through.”
Ved and Shalini exchanged their phone numbers immediately.
An old cop came and introduced himself as Diwakaran. Ved and Shalini smiled at him and they had some informal talk for a while. Suddenly, when they realized that the cop might ask more questions, Shalini sent a message to Ved.
While Ved was checking the message, Shalini shouted at him, “Is it the same girl? Why does she send you an update every other minute? I’m tired of both of you.”
Ved decided to catch up and said, “What about your friend, Robin? Why does he have to talk to you so often. What’s wrong with him? Ask him to be a man and stop talking to girls like a girl.”
Ved and Shalini argued for a few minutes.
When it was dinner time, Ved bought something for both of them. Shalini looked into the food packet and did not like what Ved bought. She said, “You are so irresponsible. You could have asked me before buying it. I don’t like this food. I hate it when you do not listen to me. You are not a bachelor. You need to consult your wife before taking any decision.”
Ved shouted back at her, “What wrong did I now? I should not have bought anything for you? Trust me. My bachelor days were so much fun. I used to spend a lot of time near the door and enjoy the train journey. Now, after marriage it is only your sulking and your headache. I’m tired of it all.”
The next one hour, they both repeated their friends’ words and argued continuously.
After listening to them for some time, Diwakaran gave up the idea and plugged in his ear phones while trying to go to sleep.
The next morning, Shalini woke up earlier. Diwakaran had a word with her when she stepped out to wash her face near the door. Diwakaran said, “Guys need some time. You need to adjust until then. They will never understand what you are going through until you tell them. If you don’t like him smoking, tell him that it is causing some problem to you. He will quit. I quit for my wife…”
After some time, Diwakaran had the same discussion with Ved when Shalini went back to her berth to listen to some music. Diwakaran said, “Party. But, think about her. She came for you. Responsibility was never your problem all your life. But, it is necessary to be a man and accept responsibility. Trust me. You will enjoy it like nothing else.”
Diwakaran told both of them another story, “Twenty years ago, when I got married, I had a big problem with my wife. There was this stranger who used to come to my house when I was not at home. I knew about it. But, my wife never told about him. I got so furious I decided to kill her by shooting her. One day, we fought badly and I almost shot her with my official gun. That’s when this stranger walked in and asked me to kill him. He was staying away from me because he had some criminal case against him. He did not want his sister’s marriage to be ruined because of his reputation. I felt so bad when I came to know later that he was her step brother and he was just frightened of me because I was a cop. Later, we talked it out and our problems got resolved. Communication will solve every problem in any marriage.”
This story had a great impact on both of them. When the train reached the destination, they both rushed to the same house to stop their friends from fighting any more.
Ved and Shalini were surprised to see each other there. Finally, they could reunite their friends and save their marriage in time. Love started blossoming between Ved and Shalini too.