“HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!”
Everyone in the club yelled out in joy in unison.
The next moment, the DJ who was happy that he got some 10 seconds to rest, got up and resumed his playlist.
The place smelt of rich brats who had a very good talent of burning down their parents hard earned cash.
Rohan was one among them.
His friend circle, including his girlfriend Neha was a regular at this club. And today was no exception.
“Hey Ro..take this! They givin’ free shots today! New year man!”, George handed him a peg of some colourful ‘juice’ which he was sure would taste awful.
“You know George..I don’t drink..you enjoy!”,he handed back the ‘juice’ to George who was more than happy to get it back.
“Ya man! I forgot! You don’t drink. You just smoke! With no control haha!”, saying this,George disappeared in the crowd with his juice.
Rohan smirked and tried diverting his mind from whatever George just said to him. He knew that if he kept on smoking like this, he’ll meet his end very soon. But this wasn’t the time to think about that.
His eyes scanned for Neha in the crowd. Shruti, Prince and Navdeesh were all partially drunk,still swaying to the music with their crazy steps. George meanwhile was busy with some unknown girl.
And there she was.
Neha was seated on the couch,tired. She was a good dancer when it comes to parties.
She was steadily staring at Rohan,smiling.
He went ahead and sat besides her.
“Tired?”,he put his arms around her shoulder.
“Ya..you wouldn’t be tired right…you rarely move your legs Rohan.”,she chirped.
“Haha..I’m not a great dancer like you Neha..”
“It doesn’t matter as long as you are a good human being.”
“Another preachy quote from Neha Deshmukh!”,he laughed.
“Yes..yes..I know.. You won’t ever get the meaning of quotes dumbass.”
“It doesn’t matter Neha..it doesn’t matter..as long as I have you by my side.”,he winked.
“When did you start saying such cliché dialogues Ro!”,she couldn’t stop her laughter.
“There you go. The trademark
khi-khi-khi laugh of yours!”,Rohan taunted her.
“Anyways, I’m bored here Rohan..let’s go somewhere else na”,she made a puppy face.
She knew that this was his weakness and he’ll never say a “NO”.
And this time too,he agreed to her idea.
“There’s another party at Currey Road….at Hrehaan’s place..would be fun.. Let’s ask these guys to come along..”,Rohan suggested.
“No! Just we two.. Not them again! I wanted only the two of us..no one else for company.. Please Rohan! ”
Rohan was confused. He badly wanted the others to come along,but here his girlfriend was suggesting otherwise. He looked around to spot them still dancing like maniacs, totally into the music.
“Let’s go then babe!”,he tugged her along to the nearest railway station.
On the way he texted George that they’re leaving for some other place.
The 12:35 am slow local to CST stood there. They still had 2 minutes to board it.
As rich brats, buying tickets just meant waste of time. They went directly to the first class compartment and took their seat.
The compartment was eerily empty,except them.
“Good that there’s no crowd! No nuisance!”,Rohan made a statement.
“Ya..”,Neha yawned and placed her head over his shoulders. She was already tired and sleepy.
Rohan was a good singer. Give him a guitar and he’ll charm anyone. He hummed a few lines from “Counting Stars”, gently stroking her hair.
Soon,she was asleep. Away in her dreams. Rohan couldn’t help but just stare at her beauty. He always considered himself lucky to find someone so attractive and understanding as Neha.
But what he currently needed was a smoke. Badly.
Cautiously, he adjusted her head and got up. After confirming that she is fully asleep, he went near the door.
As he neared the door, he looked at the opposite side of the compartment.
No one yet.
But his eyes fell on something beneath a seat.
He went near the seat, took the wallet and checked inside,only to find a few hundred and ten rupee notes, a black and white family picture, a photo of a God with some quote,and a piece of folded cardboard in it.
He unfolded it as he reached the door.
“THE LUCKY TICKET” said the bold centered title.
“Get a chance to fly to New York!” said the subtitle.
“Man! Is this even true? Or is this someone playing with me!”,he laughed, looking at ‘The Lucky Ticket’.
He scratched the silver area which revealed a 6 digit code: 111111
He flipped the ticket to find some instructions written on it in small font. But,he was in no mood to read them.
His urge to smoke reached its peak.
“Will check this later.. “,he folded the ticket and put it into his pocket.
He took the few cash notes that the wallet had,transferred them to his wallet and threw away the empty wallet.
“Adiós, the lucky wallet!”
The fresh air at the door made him feel better. He always carried a pack of cigarette in his jeans pocket. He took out one from the pack and lit it.
He felt guilty since he and Neha almost broke up the previous week over this issue. He had promised that he would reduce the number slowly and finally he would stop smoking.
Even at home,his Mom scolded him every now and then when she found out about this. But lately, he realised that he doesn’t even care what she says. His Dad rarely visits home due to his business trips abroad. But he has an inkling that he might be in a affair with someone else.
Thinking about how easy,yet screwed up his life was, he didn’t realise that
someone had entered the compartment the previous station.
He looked behind to find the ticket checker looking at him with his angry eyes.
He came towards Rohan and took him by his collar.
“Smoking inside the compartment ha? You brat!”,he gifted Rohan a tight slap on his right cheek.
“Stop! Stop this dude! Leave me..leave my collar you idiot!”,he pushed away the TC and threw the cigarette out. He took a look at Neha,who was still sound asleep.
“Good. Now show me your ticket.”
“Uh Oh! Wait a sec..”,he started checking his pockets, as if he had really bought the ticket and lost it somehow.
“I can’t..find it! It was in this pocket..but..now..”,he fumbled for words.
“I knew this will be the case. You didn’t even buy a ticket for yourself. Stop this act..I’m bored already.”,the TC smiled.
“I did Sir! But I’m not getting it now!”,Rohan tried to sound as genuine as possible.
“Get ready to be in police custody, both of you”,he referred to Neha,who was shifting in her seat, about to wake up from the commotion.
“No Sir..please..don’t do this..give us a chance..”,Rohan started pleading.
But that didn’t have any effect on the TC.
“Sir,she’s feeling unwell and she wanted to return home ASAP..so we..”
“ASAP? What’s that?”
“Abbreviation for As soon as possible Sir..”
“I don’t understand why this generation uses so many shortcuts.. Ya..you continue with your story young man..”
“So..we had to take the earliest train and in that process, we forgot to buy the tickets..please forgive us for our mistake and give us a second chance..”
In his mind, Rohan cringed at himself for pleading this much. He could have just thrown a wad of cash at this TC’s face and could ask him to leave,but he had already spent a lot in the club. He regretted doing that now.
The TC on the other hand, didn’t buy his story. There was only one option left on Rohan’s mind.
Before he could speak up, the TC spoke out his mind.
“How much do you have?”
He got the reference to money quite easily.
“1000 I guess..”,Rohan smiled.
“Take it out,Give it to me..and I’ll set you free.”
“Now what kind of free was that?”,he mumbled.
“You said something?”
“No..nothing.. Just reminded myself to always buy a ticket before boarding the train..SIR.”,he answered in a sarcastic voice.
Just as Rohan took out his wallet,the TC rushed towards him and pushed him down.
Before Rohan could even make out what actually happened, the fake TC snatched the gold chain from his neck,took the wallet and pushed him out of the running train.