In my college days, especially during the first year, my best friend and I took up a challenge; Who reaches the train station first. The Rule was, well, you have to be sitting at this particular bench near the stairs before the other person comes. Whoever comes late thrice in a row, buys a doughnut for the other one. Simple.
We started this challenge so that we could spend some time walking and talking together before college, classes and friends took over for the rest of the day. It’d take us 10 minutes to walk from the station to our classroom, giving us plenty of time to laugh at each other and plan the day.
Now, trains here can be unreliable at times, Fast trains run at a slow speed, slow trains catch up between stations, etc. My point is, once you leave the house, there’s no guarantee that you’ll reach the bench precisely by 7:45 am.
My friend here, is a devout punctual, he’d always strive to reach anywhere, at least 15 mins before the time allotted, (a rather nice quality, but still a painful one when you know you’ll get scolded if you come late and he’s already there).
This challenge breathed new energy in me.. I’d wake up on time, get ready for college on time, rush to reach the station and take the specific 6:58 Slow which would drop me off at 7:33 am if it was dot on time.
I would love to say I always reached by 7:33.
The train, if on time, would slow down to a crawl halfway. It’d be 7:33 and I would still be 3 stations away. That’s why I avoided taking the 6:58.
My next option, was the 7:02 Fast. It skipped a few stations in between, which meant I’d be covering 3/4th of the distance in 25 mins as compared to the total time of Slow, ie. 35 mins!
BUT NO! Sometimes, the Fast would slow down and crawl along the tracks. Also, since the train skipped stations, it skipped my destination too, so I had to switch trains just 2 stations away from my destination. I’d then have to take the Slow, which would sometimes be the 6:58 catching up, or a much later train.
Let’s just say, the most tensed moments of my day would be those 15 minutes from 7:30 to 7:45. Hey, I wanted free doughnuts!
I did reach before the punctuality god on some days, but I did face those dark days when I’d rush to the bench and find a smug face greeting me.
Who won the challenge? I’ll tell you in another post.
PS. Day 4 of The Daily Post’s Writing 101.