This is one of my first experiences in Brussels and I had written about it long ago. I was just going through my diary and found this one hilarious. So thought of sharing with you.
Date : 12th October 2007.
Place : Brussels.
It was a typical Friday morning on a gloomy winter day in Brussels, the streets buzzing with people on a run to work with umbrellas in their hands. The traffic was jammed with cars making roaring noises at almost every intersection. I could see elderly people standing at the bus stops with mugs in their hands, sipping a drink as they caught up on the early morning news. While others wore high heels, fashionable dresses, hair neatly done, and chatting on the street with a friend or colleague.
Not being left behind, I was on a run to catch my train to work as well with a half eaten apple in my hand, and a heavy laptop backpack. Just in time has always been the way I work, right from catching a train to applying for a university, where luck does plays a vital role. Well, today was just not my day though.
Huffing and puffing after the long run to the railway station, I missed the train on the platform by just a few seconds. As always, I made yet another resolution that I would wake up early from the next day and get organized in life. In the meantime, I settled on a bench in the platform and pulled out a John Grisham novel from my bag. Occupied with the suspense, I could wile away time till the next train appeared. Noticing, the train goes to the required destination “Ottignies” I got on to the train, still occupied in my novel. Subconsiously, I kept a note of the number of stations after which I had to get down. I also noticed that the train was unusually fast today. I was happy that I could make up for the lost time at the station, waiting for the train. But again, unusually, I could see the train pass by the station I had to get down at, but the train never stopped. Little did I know that it was an Express train to Ottiginies instead of ‘Ottiginies Louvain’! Realisation now dawned upon me that I was the only person in the cabin!! I could see myself get out of the city into the everlasting green fields of Europe. I must say, it was a breathtaking sight with little houses located in the midst of vast green fields. But wasnt really in the mood to appreciate nature at this point. I pressed the panic button and made a call to a friend at work, who takes the same route to work.
I reached Ottignies, which is a university town after an impatient wait of 20 minutes in the train. Filled with anxiety and shame, I got down at the station to see a deserted place with a few old men on the platform, converse to what I had expected, for it having been a university town. It was biting cold at the railway station.
Luckily, the train schedule was put up in English. I observed that next train back home was in about half an hour. I settled again on the platform engrossed in my novel, but being conscious to board the right train this time! I received a call from the office from the admin lady asking if I was doing fine. My colleague had informed her that I had lost my way to work.. I thought to myself that I would get ragged as soon as I reached office. Nevertheless, the novel kept me occupied for a good amount of time till I saw a train approach the station. Hoping its the correct train this time around, I got into the train and watched pass by the same set of green farmlands again and back into the city. It was like rewinding a tape in my head. Just that the time had passed by. There was a sigh of relief as I saw the train stop at my station. I thanked my stars that the ticket collector did not come by as I later learnt that I had to buy a separate ticket from Ottigines to Brussels.
For the first time ever, I was glad to enter the building of my office, settle in my cozy little corner and to have a look at the familiar faces.