If it was “divine intervention” for one, it was government high-handedness for another, and an “interview that dragged too long” for yet another. All three had a ticket to ride the tragedy train, but failed to board it. And so, the day after, they were thanking their lucky stars for not being on Monday evening’s Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express.
The most “celebrated” among the lucky ones was Anand Mohan, former Bihar MP. On Monday evening, when he reached Howrah station, Mohan was told that the Rajdhani had pulled out of platform no. 8 around five minutes before. The politician was left cursing the reporter who had held him up during a lengthy interview. “I was most irritated, as the delay had been caused solely by the reporter,” he admitted. By Tuesday afternoon, Mohan was thanking the reporter — and Lady Luck. “It was the lengthy interview that saved my life,” he admitted. “Thank you all,” he told the reporters gathered at the station.
But Mohan seemed to have taken his ‘late-for-luck’ lesson too seriously. On Tuesday, too, he missed the Rajdhani — held up, yet again, by an interview. Calling his wife, Lovely, who was busy distributing sweets at their Delhi home, from his mobile, Mohan told her he would take the flight back home on Wednesday.
For R.K. Arora, a maker of ophthalmic microsurgery equipment, it was a bit of “state high-handedness” that saved his life. Arora, returning to his Delhi home after his monthly visit to his Salt Lake-based parents, had reached the station well in time on Monday, only to find that his Rajdhani berth had been grabbed by an “emergency-quota” passenger. “I can’t tell you how relieved I am,” he said, before boarding the AS-1 coach of Tuesday’s Rajdhani, thanking “nepotism” for his narrow escape.
For Salil Ghosh, 52-year-old owner of a petrol pump in Uluberia, it was sheer “divine intervention”. First, his guru (Satya Maharaj of Bharat Sevashram Sangh), citing illness, cried off the journey that was to take them to Ukhi Math, in Uttar Pradesh, and then to Kali Math for a manat he had made, seeking a “good groom” for his niece. “I suddenly felt disinclined to go,” he recounted on Tuesday, adding that he had hung on to the ticket till the last minute and, ultimately, cancelled it on Saturday. “This is the first time in 10 years my uncle has cancelled his annual pilgrimage,” said nephew Debasis Ghosh, at their Sarat Chatterjee Road residence in Howrah. “What can you call this but divine intervention'”