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True Story - A Picnic On The Army Train

After settling down at in our train bogies by 10 am, my father was getting four tumblers ready to collect tea for all of us from the Langar or the pantry wagon. The army bosses and the railway bosses were involved in the heated discussions over the missing engines for a second time for over an hour now. The life was like a picnic on the army train.

By then the clock was showing 10:10 am and tea time was just 20 minute away. So my father went to collect tea along with all the army people who had started coming out of their train bogies and making queue at the pantry bogie, to collect tea by 10:15 am. This true story was shaping up a little better that morning despite the two diesel engines of the army train having gone missing a second time.

Somehow by then the army bosses and the railway station staff had stuck another deal. The train would be reconnected with the two engines which were disconnected but not sent away till from the railway station provided the army lets the train start immediately. This was going to be a different true story.

The army never deviates from its routines like morning exercises, tea time, breakfast, lunch and dinner times etc. Everything always happens exactly at the correct time on the clock exactly as one would have planned a picnic. And this picnic was on an army train. That was the only difference.

But today it was a different story. The Commanding Officer of the Army Unit orders that everything be cancelled to ensure that they start moving the army train. So announcement came that the tea at 10:30 am as well as the arms drill practice at 110:00 am, both had been cancelled for that day, to ensure that the railway could start the army train moving on time at least  that day. The picnic on the army train was getting even more exciting.

Cancelling tea was a big demoralising fact for the army people, but the cancellation of the one hour weapon drills was more than enough to compensate for the cancelled tea for the day and make the army men happy. The picnic mood was back on the army train.

At least that day everyone could relax during the tea time onwards till lunch time and be with their own families and friends on board the army train. This confirmed to me that I was on this army train to enjoy a few days of picnic travelling the country side and that too in a jungle.

This feeling of a picnic had started right from home and had been on for four days. By the time the train started moving for the first time that day after having lived four days and three nights on that small railway station called Raiwala Junction, with a pair of new engines, the army started moving on the tracks for the six hour journey, to a place called Bhatinda which was a city in the state of Punjab in India, it was already 10:30 am.

The train barely was running for about 45 minutes, when a medium sized railway platform came to view and the train stopped. Has the picnic on the army train come to an end in just 45 minutes?

This true life story was changing its course once again. Ths six hour journey had started four days back and was going to take more days. Everyone was excited to know why the army train had stopped and who had the guts to stop this powerful army train on its track and spoil their picnic. Everyone got out of their bogies to investigate what had happened.

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