Death on Karnataka Express

Death on Karnataka Express
The sudden jerk of the train coming to a halt shook me out of slumber. I was sleeping on the middle berth of a three-tier AC coach. I moved the pungent smelling inflexible curtain and tried to peep through the window. The sun was yet to rise but the morning blue had taken over the milieus. It looked like the train was moving through the outskirts of a city. I got my wristwatch out of my backpack and checked the time. It was 6:30 am.
We were travelling in Karnataka express from Bangalore to New Delhi. My initial job training got over in Mysore and I got posting in Chandigarh. Mom was paying a visit to my sister in Bangalore and hence was accompanying me back till Chandigarh.
The last time I checked in the night, when we reached Bhopal, the train was running on its scheduled time.
I thought, ‘we must be approaching Agra by this time.’
I slid to my left and looked down at the lower berth. Mom was still sleeping peacefully. A sensation urged me to use the washroom. I slowly got down in a crouching position, making sure not to wake her up, slipped into my slippers and walked through the narrow passage towards the washroom.

Death on Karnataka Express


After using the washroom, I decided to look outside the entrance door of the coach, since the train hadn’t yet moved. There is no more serene sight than countryside right up early in the morning. I leaped outside the gate but there was no one in sight. ‘Probably most of the people are still sleeping’, I supposed. ‘It was a good four hours still left for us to reach New Delhi, if the train reached at its timetabled arrival time.’
The huge iron wheels slowly started moving making a screeching sound. I shut the door and walked back to my berth. The berth opposite to mom’s berth was empty.
‘The elderly man would have got down at a station somewhat late in the night, as I was pretty much awake past midnight’, I pondered.
Five more minutes passed by and the train gathered momentum. The rural dwellings in the landscape were being replaced by more urban infrastructure. I knew that the railway station was about to arrive and considered having a cup of tea and some biscuits. Mom usually is an early riser and it was way past her regular wake up time. ‘
‘I guess she wouldn’t have an idea what time it is’, I assumed.
She didn’t prefer tea prepared at stations but I, nevertheless, thought of asking her before the station arrives. I feebly called out, “MOM.”
“Mom…Mom…MOM”, I kept calling gradually increasing the pitch of my voice. She didn’t respond leave alone waking up.
I touched her feet to wake her up but she didn’t respond this time either. I started shaking her arm slightly and simultaneously calling out ‘mom…mom…mom.’ It felt as if she was intentionally not waking up.
I touched her forehead. It was damp and cold. Initially I thought that the air-conditioning might have done it. Her cheeks were even icier. I didn’t know what had happened to her. I kept shaking her arm and calling her for more than two minutes but she didn’t budge a single bit.
I was beginning to get worried. I didn’t know what to do. I could see the train slowly entering the station through the window and thought of trying to wake her up one more time.
She didn’t respond.
By now the glitter of sweat was shining on my forehead. I was getting more and more nervous and anxious as time passed. Somehow in these sorts of situations, negative thoughts are the first ones to swarm your mind.
They didn’t spare me either and for a second I thought, ‘Is Mom dead?’
The more I was trying to wake her up, the stronger the sinking feeling became. I knew I had to remain calm and try to think my way through, ‘what if she was actually dead.’
In my custom and tradition the first thing that happens is, as soon as you get to know that either of your parents or any blood relative has passed away, we aren’t supposed to eat anything till the final cremation rituals are performed.
I quelled my mind and focused on the difficult task at hand. I started deliberating, ‘should I get down at Agra or should I continue till New Delhi and seek some help there? Should I call someone right away?’ Should I seek some medical help in the train itself?
My heart was breaking in fact shattering.
I knew it was going to be a long…really long day ahead. The thought of not eating anything for the next two days was already eating my mind. I decided to get down to at least have a cup of tea and couple of cookies. The train was about to move and I had to act fast.
I immediately got down and went to a railway tea stall. The vendor was selling some stale tea but there wasn’t any other option in sight. I decided since I might not get anything else; let me purchase two cups of tea. I purchased a packet of biscuits and put it in my jeans’ rear pocket. I thought of having one cup right away but that same screeching sound of the iron wheels started.
I hurriedly reached the metal door and a fellow passenger helped me board the train again.
I was making my way through few people who were beginning to wake up, making sure I don’t spill any of it.
The eerie feeling of having tea right next to my dead mom also came over me for a second but the contemplation of being hungry for the next two days made a starving sensation in me and I thought, ‘what the hell! Let me have it. There wasn’t anyone who knew me or would complain that I had tea and cookies after mom passed away.’
As soon as I reached my berth, I was dumbfounded and speechless by what I saw.
Mom was wide-awake sitting upright and combing her hair. She annoyingly looked at me and began, ‘how many times have I told you not to get down on every station. What happened to you is everything all right? Why do you look so astonished?’
I handed her a cup of tea interrupting her and sheepishly said, “I got down to bring you some tea and biscuits.”
“In all these years have you ever seen me have this railway station tea?” she added.
I knew it was embarrassingly awkward what had conspired into my head and decided to tell her the ordeal of buying two cups of tea.
She broke into a loud uncontrollable laughter. I joined in. I told her that the first thought that came to my mind after seeing my mom dead, was to have tea and biscuit.
We kept on laughing till we reached New Delhi.
To this day, whenever we discuss a train journey, we roll in fits of laughter remembering this episode.
For all those who love their moms,
For all those who have lost loved ones,
For all those who are fed up of such rituals,
For all those who love trains,
And
For all those who love humour…
It’s not a GoodBye…
But It’s a GOOD BYE
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter
#MyFriendAlexa #ContemplationOfaJoker #CirqueDuJoker

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205 Responses

  1. Priyal says:

    In the middle I just felt sad but the end is happening . loved reading the post

  2. crazygreenlady says:

    A thread of satirical humour runs through this piece. I can identify with the scared about not eating part. I can’t stay hungry ever, and thought I might have frozen on the spot than run for tea, I do understand the protagonist’s dilemma.
    Namratha from #firstgreenstep

  3. Varad says:

    I loved the narration and the quandary faced by your protagonist. It could quite easily happen to just about anyone. Good writing, keep it up.

  4. Manas Mukul says:

    Thank you so much Varad. Keep visiting and appreciating 🙂

  5. Prerna Wahi says:

    Interesting account. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Good going!

  6. Simply loved the narrative…

  7. One of the most entertaining posts read in #MyFriendAlexa. You have a knack for humour which lurks on the edge of a serious scenario. Absolutely loved it!!! Please write more such super entertaining storylines. #readbypreetispanorama

  8. I’m still not that mature to take jokes on dead mom. It scares the hell out of me 🙁

    • Manas Mukul says:

      Hi Sanjota..thanks for dropping by and reading.
      I feel humour is the only thread that can bring light in the darkest of times.
      Rest I can completely understand if you dont approve of it.
      Keep visiting…Keep reading…Keep commenting.

  9. Loved reading this on a sunday morning

  10. sukrisblog says:

    Humour is something we all need in our daily life. I loved the way you narrated it and the ending too. The very fact that we are bound by rituals and the rules that we must follow at certain times while throwing practical thoughts to caution is something that needs to change. The way your protagonist finally made up his mind is fabulous. That is what we need to do.

  11. Wow, what a turn the story took.
    #sindhureads #myfriendalexa

  12. Meenakshi says:

    We are all bound by our speculations like this especially when it comes to our loved ones. I read this narration as an anecdote that you shared, but reading the comments, now, I am confused. Is this a piece of fiction???

  13. richa mina says:

    oh god, my heart was pounding at the stage where she was returning with tea, you’ve balanced the story perfectly with humor in the end. great writing skill you have.

  14. Mixed feelings while reading, nice write up.

  15. Abhijit Ray says:

    From your title, I had assumed your mother (no offence) had passed away and the passenger next to your birth was responsible. I was getting angry why you thought eating biscuit was more important that dealing with your mother’s body. Then you sprung surprise that mother was alive. Nice twist.

  16. My heart sank to read the post in the middle. Thank god it was just your imagination!!

  17. My heart sank as I progressed and then the twist… Great story!

  18. Oh God, what a story, Manas! I didn’t know whether to be sad on mother’s supposed death or to laugh at the thoughts of food racing through your mind. You turned a sad affair into a hilarious read.

  19. aditi says:

    Hahaha… enjoyed reading the story. The twists and turns kept me hooked:)

  20. Neha says:

    haha! Enjoyed reading it! I thought the dead person would be the elderly gentleman next to your berth :p Such fun anecdotes run for ages in the family

  21. Deepa says:

    I thought you must be dreaming about it but the tale took a different turn. At least it was a happy ending. Interesting read.

  22. Thank God, we all know that everyone has to die one day, but I was not ready to accept it the way it was appearing to move! Anyway lovely narrative.

  23. I was scared till I reached end about what would happen next, but you were perfect in narrating humor. I had faced this situation in real life for my distant uncle so was more scary to read.

  24. This gave me goosebumps manas.. glad that it ended well. And I’m highly impressed with your writing. Will check up other posts too.
    http://Www.notjustmommying.com

  25. Superb! Enjoyed reading the twisty tale. It’s actually humorous to think that the boy was so hungry that he actually wanted to eat besides his dead mom. Love the dark humour here. Good one! #surreads #myfriendalexa #blogchatter

  26. Priya says:

    haha.. well done. dark humor is a difficult genre. But you have done an outstanding job, Manas!

  27. jayanthi6 says:

    Lovely writeup 🙂 true or not…

  28. Lavanya says:

    Bwahahhaa. When I first saw the title, I thought this was going to be a murder mystery. Thank god all ended well. Your mom must be a super sport!

  29. Anchal says:

    My heart was beating super fast reading this. Thank God everything was fine.

  30. aparna_097 says:

    This was a bit scary. I loved how you have vividly described your surroundings.

  31. There was a lump in my throat when I read that the mom had passed away and then the human trait of hunger pangs humored me. An interesting twist Manas! Thank God Mom was alive. Enjoyed the post.

  32. jaya1966 says:

    In the middle the thoughts sounded harsh you know. But I loved the end. And then again our stomachs start growling whenever it needs replenishment. Does not make a difference what other circumstances may be prevailing.

  33. Jheelam says:

    From the title of your post, I deducted it must be our own ‘desi’ “Murder On The Orient Express”. But the twist-at-end turned out to be more surprising and wittier. Keep dishing out such humorous stuff. Did it really happen btw? 😀

  34. shail says:

    Haha.. very nice…your first thought was to have have something to eat..

  35. Rashi Roy says:

    Hats off to you because I can’t imagine this even in the wildest of my dreams. Its not easy to joke about such a serious issue but you have pulled it fantastically. Loved the narration and the backdrop. Do you have a similar sense of humour in real life too? If yes, then you are one lucky man! Interesting read. Will read more from your blog.

    • Manas Mukul says:

      Thank you Rashi for your kind words. I guess its really difficult to create such kind of humor if you arent like that in your real life. I am like this and hence the name ‘JOKER’ 😀 😀
      Please do check out more and would love your feedback and others as well.
      Alert: Apart from humor there are a lot of heartbreaks as well on the blog 🙂

  36. Mayuri6 says:

    You got me there, Manas! I was literally like, ‘The protagonist’s Mother is dead, and all he can think of is Tea and Biscuits!’ and there was the Mother, fit and fine! Phew, Thank God!

  37. Avantika says:

    Is this something that really happened with you or is this a piece of fiction?

  38. I was really worried reading this! You definitely had a good twist to end with! Good one! Yes, even I had the doubt just like Avantika! 🙂

  39. Varsha Gode says:

    This post gave me goosebumps 🙂 Your post is super-narrative, please keep writing.
    I got scared for a moment too but was relieved reading the end.
    #vigorousreads #MyFriendAlexa

  40. MeenalSonal says:

    I was literally shaking with suspense while reading your story, thank God it ended on a happy note.
    Cheers
    MeenalSonal from AuraOfThoughts
    #MyFriendAlexa #MeenalSonalReads

    • Manas Mukul says:

      Thank you so much for liking and appreciating it. Just wanted to know whether you are one person or two or your name is simply like mine – one with two first names 😀

  41. alpanadeo says:

    Initially when I read the title, the first picture that came in my mind was Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express..:-) you did a the magic with your words. Truly humorly suspense cleverly weaved in words.
    #Myfriendalexa #MothersGurukulreads

  42. vidhya29 says:

    I loved how it is narrated! Amazing #Viddhreads #MyfriendAlexa

  43. sujatatawde says:

    Whether it’s a fiction or real incidence , you have succeeded in depicting raw , honest & that’s why believable emotions till the very end. Death on Karnatak express packs the punch in bluntness . #MyFriendAlexa #SujatawdeReads

  44. Shree Janani says:

    Ha ha! I sincerely hope this is just a piece of fiction!

  45. roysashwata says:

    Couldn’t fathom how a son could think of having food even as he thought his mother to be dead! But I believe that was the best part in the whole story. I had a hearty laugh after reading the end. Loved it!

  46. poseinstyle says:

    Nicely narrated. I liked the way you expressed so deeply
    #MyFriendAlexa #Poseinstylereads

  47. Neha Sharma says:

    Hahaha, Oh my God, who thinks about food in such situations. I totally loved the twists in the tale. Superb narrative!

  48. mylittleduniya says:

    Ohh… what a narration. simply wow!!! loved it thoroughly

  49. pratikshya2 says:

    It’s humour that saves the day!! Liked reading this.

  50. Anks says:

    I liked this story. what your protagonist went thru was a very normal, logical chain of thought. Makes me question age old beliefs and the wisdom behind them

  51. Thank god for the happy ending! Though you kept the humor going on with the “eat or not” dilemma, it surely felt bad losing a mother like that. Great read. Kept me hooked till the end.

  52. tinacharya says:

    Beautiful!!! Loved The twist & turns. Loved the satiric element!!! Loved It Reading!!!

  53. Huma Masood says:

    An interesting twist in the narrative, Manav. Enjoyed reading it.

  54. Manpreet says:

    quite a story!

  55. While I was reading, I was feeling wtf, what is he going to do when he will find that his mom is really no more after having the tea but you twisted it really well and keep me glued to it till the end.

  56. What an interesting post. I enjoyed this thoroughly, though a chill did run down my spine for a while there.
    [@samantha_rjsdr] from
    Whimsical Compass

  57. I like your writing style. Can very much relate to the words written. Looking forward to enjoy some new piece of writing.

  58. Deepti Menon says:

    You have such a wonderful and breezy style of writing, manas. I was on tenterhooks while reading your story. Thank God it ended on a positive note. Kudos!
    #DeepTiesReads #MyFriendAlexa

  59. Haimanti says:

    ‘For those who are fed up of such rituals’ – the phrase I liked the most! A went through a lot of emotions reading your post… To simply put it I simply loved it 😊

  60. writenlive says:

    This is a fantastic story, Manas!
    The twist is great but more than that is the narration and the ability to pull off a joke in such a serious situation. And frankly, it does not feel awkward or wierd even one bit.
    Oh, the accompanying photo is lovely too!

  61. Adi Sathe says:

    That hits all marks of perfect story Manas, keep it up bro.. fantassstic one. Have fun and best wishes for remaining Alexa time…

    • Manas Mukul says:

      Thank you so much Adi for liking the story. A bigger thanks for the heartfelt wishes..really need them… You too have a great time at Alexa. Every dog has its day…I can say mine was today 🙂

  62. Varsh says:

    Honestly, I thought you were being paranoid and did expect your Mom to be hale and hearty. The real funny part was getting down stale tea too just to avoid going hungry for two days. Are you a foodie?

  63. TheMomSagas says:

    Loved reading it! The title intrigued me and I was hooked to read till the end.

  64. Omg that feeling itself is scary.. I too get some day dreamd like this..

  65. Neha Gupta says:

    Awwww!! For a moment I was scared, nervous and sad. I was really happy with the ending !! Loads of love to your mom !!

  66. Manas, your writing is class apart. Please write more often. I love reading the alternate perspective that you provide in every single write up.

  67. Geethica says:

    I like this transition of thoughts from a sad ending story to suddenly a hilarious one. I lost my grandmom this way at home when she didn’t get up one morning for her morning cup of coffee.

  68. Ranjini says:

    Ahh this was shocking and it took me back to a dream I had. A similar one without these happy turn of events. But hey! You turned it around and that dream is for another day 🙂

  69. What a twist! My heart was sinking reading the lines but as soon as I read the hair combing lines, I laughed out loud. Loved it

  70. Oh so many twists and turns!. I was sad and then happy about your mother and of course you. Even in this difficult time you could think of tea and biscuits!

  71. You left us hanging there! What had happened to the mom?!!???!!!

  72. I like your writing style, simple yet stylish

  73. OMG my heart almost sank in between, but loved the ending. Happy to know your mom is fine. Great writing.
    #MyFriendAlexa #momlearningwithbaby #Blogchatter

  74. Aww this is an amazing story! Was feeling very sad as to what will he do next! All well if it ends well! Happy ending! Keep writing.

  75. Ramya says:

    The narration is gripping until the end and interesting. Good!

  76. Dipika Singh says:

    Honestly, you have shaken and woke me up from my monotonous reading spree. It was a roller coaster of emotions, I felt sad reading the ‘what if dead mom’ angle, got angry on the chai and biscuits urge (which is very much humane) and laughed out with WTH thought in the end.
    It’s a nice read and your narration style Top it up so well.

  77. Preethi Venugopala says:

    Well written. To write humour is tough. Keeping the reader hooked is difficult. You managed to do both entertainingly. Keep writing.

  78. Its funny how in extreme grief your mind wants to do some very normal things – lik ehaving tea and biscuits. Whew! I am glad mom was well in the end…

  79. Leha says:

    That was one unique piece. Left a comical expression on my face 😀
    #MyFriendAlexa #literarylehareads

  80. Anmol Rawat says:

    A unique post and to know that happened for real 😀

  81. Oh God!! You really scared me, and at the end i actually m laughing out loud and actually rolling on floor 🙂 you truly are a narrator 🙂 🙂

  82. Pheww The post made me relxed in beginning then scared and at last smile

  83. Sudip Saha says:

    Shocked and Suprised … after, the element of surprise. Nice narrative. All’s well that ends well

  84. Bushra says:

    That’s very interesting read. How Beautifully you plotted the tradition, emotions and delimma. Love the happy ending. #myfriendalexa #dewreads

  85. poojakawatra says:

    What an emotional read and halfway thru my heart was sinking and thought to move towards an end to read if everything was okay or not.. Bless you!

  86. Ah! This is the first thing that I am reading on a Sunday morning and you had me in splits with this funny little anecdote. Loved your narration, Manas.
    https://www.rohankachalia.com/2018/09/payback-part-4/

  87. BabarMir says:

    This was hilarious. It is well written and at the same time it is the correct amont of humour. I loved the way you described the part where you felt hungry and I could totally imagine myself doing something similar in such a sitaution. Looking forward to more of your stories 🙂

    • Manas Mukul says:

      Thank you so much Babar for your kind words. Please do read more and share your feedback. Keep visiting and motivating.

      • BabarMir says:

        I will for sure. Do let me know when you publish your next one. If you could even visit my blog and share some of your valuable feedback on how I can make it better, it would be wonderful 🙂 Thanks again 🙂

  88. You scared me to the core. But thank god your mother was alright. I feared what is so difficult for a child. The only feeling of loosing the most precious person of one’s life is enough to go mad. Wish your mom a longer life 🙂

  89. It had a mix of everything to keep your reader hooked. I takes a lot to come up with such tight knit story narration. Enjoyed reading it.

  90. Tina Basu says:

    What a fantastic narration Manas! When the story telling is so good you like to read! Very nice job.

  91. Brilliant narrative! Just when my mind went towards how he would arrange for the funeral and the myriad memories he would narrate about his mom, you gave the story a FAB twist! hahaha…loved it totally!! Keep writing! Reading your work is a pleasure! #MayuraReads #MyFriendAlexa

  92. Ruchie says:

    My Nani expired in train after she was returning back home distributing my Masi’s wedding cards to other city…Not all are lucky be like you..Stay blessed

  93. The “staying hungry till rituals” was good if it was anyone else other than the mom. It would have been a real riot then. But then you wrote it well and it is your story so good going Manav. #wordsmithkaurreads

  94. Anagha Yatin says:

    Mind is capable of creating the make believe situations! This one was a scary though. Survival instincts always has upper hand over any ritual or logic.

  95. It felt to me a piece of fiction …but if it’s for real…I am sorry ..can’t take a joke of being hungry for anyone but not ‘parents’ for sure…

    • Manas Mukul says:

      I can totally understand Anubhuti. But I believe basic instincts of being a creature would definitely take over a ritual. Plus it’s not completely true. Thanks for visiting.

  1. October 12, 2018

    […] weird might not be your crazy, though if you have read my ‘Death on Karnataka express’ you should know that’s as weird as a person can get. Since we are talking about food here I once […]

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