“Meeting an old friend for the first time”- that’s a very popular saying in the Round Table organization. And I recently experienced the true meaning of this saying.
After shooting the two projects in Surat, I was dropped to the railway station at one in the afternoon. My train, Rajkot-Secundrabad Express was scheduled to arrive at two fifteen, so I had ample time to have lunch. But it was a lunch that I wasnt enjoying too much. My ticket was still wait listed one and since the chart was already prepared, the chances were slim that I would be able to board the train. Anyways, I tried and waited at the platform.
The train finally came forty-five minutes late. And with every minute passing by, I was already planning a back up plan. I tried to explain to the ticket inspector the importance of me catching the train… after all, I had endless connections all the way to Kerela, but he wouldn’t listen. Then came pleading, begging and trying all tactics, but he still wouldn’t agree. Soon, I saw the train disappear from my sight.
I had only one option left and that was to call Tr.Dhanesh Rathod, Chairman of Surat Round Table 135. He asked me to come over to his office but then also asked me to check the reservation counter first for other trains. He even knew the exact counter number that I should visit. While I did that, I was surrounded by touts and suspicious people, all trying to sell me a ticket to Bombay, Delhi, Jaipur…but no one even mentioned my destination Pune. After checking the counters and getting the answer in the negative, I called Dhanesh and said ” Buddy, there is no room!”
His answer, which I will never forget was “Don’t worry, there is room in my house!”
Soon after, he was at the station and being a local spoke to everyone possible. He also called up his travel agents, who put their heart and soul into getting me a ticket on Ahimsa Express at eight in the evening. After patiently waiting for more than two hours and paying a premium, I was finally holding a confirmed train ticket. Yay!
With still more than two hours to departure, he took me to his office and organized dinner. Though I wasnt ready to eat at seven (it’s just too early for me), I couldn’t resist the temptation when the dinner arrived. Simple home cooked dinner, which we gulped down in less than five minutes. Afterall, we had a train to catch.
Admist all this, Dhanesh received a call from a tabler in Ahmedabad requesting him to organize dinner for another tabler traveling from Bombay. His train was scheduled to arrive half hour before mine departed. Soon, Dhanesh and I were running to the Food Express to pack two thalis, which we promptly delivered. Tr.Sumeet was surprised to see both of us, while the food was delivered!
As soon as his train left, I was at my platform waiting for mine. I requested Dhanesh to leave and go home but he insisted that made sure that he saw me off. And he did.
As I sat in the train, on my to Pune, I thought about the events of the day and thought about the wonderful organization called Round Table. If I didnt have this support system, I would have gone crazy. Dhanesh, even though I met you for the first time, it was like old times!