We never asked for
With just a handful of days of preparation and teeming with sheer excitement for the conference, the Bangalore delegation boarded the train from Kempegowda Railway station to Goa on Thursday, 7th November at 1:30 pm. The train was scheduled to reach Hubli at 9:30 pm followed by a connecting train from Hubli to Goa at 11 pm. We were expected to reach Goa at 5:30 am. This was our first long journey as the youth group. Besides the energetic company of our formators, this schedule kept us very excited.
Well, let’s now dive into the unexpected adventures which came our way on our journey. Trust me; none of us were ready for any of those. When we planned out our travel to the conference, undoubtedly Satan too had made a master plan against us. Whose plan was better you may ask? Maybe the results will prove it. Read on to know more.
The one and only goal for all of us was to make it to the station on time. Gathering us all together was definitely a tough task for Tito and Tita (our formators). By dragging our suitcases and mounting the rest of the bags on our shoulders, we made it to our respective compartments. We joyfully invaded a part of the compartment, placed our luggage, and tried to squeeze ourselves together. 3 youth almost missed the train but thankfully made it in the nick of time.
With growling stomachs, we devoured the biryani we had carried. Satisfied and heavy with sleep, we attempted to redo the “Pundignified’s” script. The laughter during improvising the dialogues echoed in the entire compartment. I believe people in the compartment surely wanted to get rid of us because of the noise we made. After considerable practice, we dug into our snacks and began playfully fighting for the extra Nutella spread on the bread. We suddenly realised that the train had stopped for a pretty long time. We were worried about making it on time to Hubli to board the next train. We stormed heaven hoping to get things back on track. (Pun intended)
This delay affected our plans of practising for the Praise Parade at the Hubli station. So, we made the best use of the time we had and hopped off the train and onto the platform with our instruments. All eyes on the platform were glued on us. Don’t be surprised if you come across our video on social media, judging by the number of cameras that were recording us. I bet we were good entertainment for all. Almost 3 hours had past and there seemed to be no sign of progress. We had lost all hopes of catching the connecting train to Goa.
Amidst the mounting tension, our formators succeeded in arranging a minibus for the further journey. Shortly, the track cleared and the train restarted. The minibus awaited us at the next station. We were welcomed by a heavy downpour that further added to our problems. By this time, we were exhausted, starving and drained.
Satan obviously wasn’t satisfied with all the chaos that he had already caused. We dreamt of “waking up on the beaches of Goa” but in reality, we “woke up on a highway” and found that our bus too had broken down in the wee hours of the morning. We got off and sipped piping hot tea on the highway, silently praying that a truck doesn’t become our next mode of transport. Finally, after an hour, we set off to Goa. AGAIN. YES, ALL OVER AGAIN.
We woke up to beautiful scenery. We had finally made it to Goa. Trust me; the joy of reaching the destination was never so significant until this journey. YES, WE FINALLY MADE IT TO SULCORNA.
We brushed off this journey and immersed ourselves into the conference. The conference was packed with insightful talks, an amazing music ministry who played beautiful worship songs, sacraments, competitions, yummy food, meeting many new people and a lot more. The 3 days just disappeared in a snap. By the lessons learnt on our journey to Goa, we left early to the railway station so that we didn’t miss our train, which was scheduled at 3:50 pm.
Just when we thought the adventure was over, it had begun again. On our way to Margao railway station, we were informed that our expected train was “cancelled”. Supposing it to be a prank, we proceeded to the railway station only to find out that the train was indeed cancelled. We were at our wits ends. The Mangalore delegation seemed to have no problem at all and hopped onto their train which was perfect as per schedule.
We managed to book tickets for the late-night train and since we had ample free time, we started our unplanned Madgaon sightseeing. We stashed our luggage in the cloakroom and set off to explore Madgaon. Walking through the beautiful lanes, we reached a hotel for some food. Throughout the journey, at least the food didn’t give up on us. As we returned to the station, few Mumbaikars bumped into us. In no time their train arrived and we bid them goodbye from the same platform. Wow! We felt everybody’s plans were intact except ours.
Just a few minutes before our train arrived, we realized that we were on the wrong platform all this while. We dragged our luggage along with our tired bodies to the correct platform. The train arrived ON TIME. Our happiness knew no bounds. Our dinner was sorted by cherries and pao (Goan Bread) sent by the adorable Goans. After savouring the meal, we crashed onto our berths and retired for the day.
As we were nearing our destination, all the adventurous memories made us nostalgic. The Lord had started to prune all of us, right after the conference got over.
“The process of pruning is painful, but it’s benefits are great,”
said the speaker during the talk and after all that we experienced throughout our journey, we couldn’t agree more. Although we grumbled initially; perhaps only when we accepted this pruning as God’s will for us, we endured it joyfully.