It was close to midnight. Unsure of the exact time, Vichu was sleeping in his seat in the upper berth of the train. He tossed and turned, and suddenly, his mobile phone in his pant pocket fell down. Creaakjkjkjk.. The sound of shattered glass resonated above the train’s  tchjdak thadajk noise. It jolted him awake, dispelling the remnants of sleep lingering in his mind. With a quick glance downward, he realized with a sinking feeling that the source of the sound was none other than his own mobile phone. He jumped down immediately, retrieved his phone, and checked it.

The display was ruined! Luckily, the phone was still on, but the touchpad didn’t work. He tried again and again, hoping some miracle might make the phone work. Looking around, he saw everyone was asleep. He took his phone and moved closer to the door, sitting in the coach attender seat, attempting to fix his phone.

Outside, the night enveloped the world in its comforting embrace, but inside the train carriage, a sense of isolation crept over him. The rhythmic sounds of the train’s movement provided a backdrop to his solitary struggle with the unyielding device. Sadly, nothing worked. He didn’t know how long he sat there and what to do next.

Vichu, an IT employee working in Bangalore, was returning to the city after visiting his hometown. He had to work the next day on-site and had a growth summit meeting as well. He had planned to have a good sleep on the train to be able to work well the next day. What a way to start the day, he thought to himself!

He wondered where he had reached.

“Where is my Google map..! Oh my maps, I really miss you da!!!

What is the time now? Are we going on time?

Man, how much I miss the Clock. Why didn’t I make a habit of wearing a watch?

He needed his phone to check the time and location. Gosh! How this phone has been ruling us without our realization?

Am I the master of the phone, or is the phone the master of me? Without mobile, it feels like I have lost a piece of myself!

But this is not a big issue compared to the upcoming tasks. Once he reaches Bangalore, that’s when the main picture will begin. How is he going to go home? In Bangalore, where he relied heavily on digital payments through GPay, he needed his phone for that, which is of no use now. His card expired last week, and it will take three more days for the new card arrival.

The only viable option left is… cash. The ancient way of transaction!

But Vichu never carries cash much.

“Always keep some cash in your purse, Vichu,” his mom’s voice echoed in his mind.

How much do I have now? He went back to his berth, searched his bag, and got his purse out. How much is it in here? The light wasn’t enough to see. Let me get the phone torch. Gosh no! The phone… The Torch…

My dear torch, ye tu brute?

In the dim blue light, he started counting the money in his hands. Three twenties, one ten, one five-rupee coin, and a two-rupee coin. In total, 77 rupees.

From the station to his home, Doddakamanahalli, the auto charge will be no lesser than 350 rupees. Even with Rapido, it will be a minimum of 200 rupees. What can be done?

The next option is the metro. The closest metro station from his home is nearly ten to twelve kilometers away. There’s another metro line work going on close to his home which will not be opened until August of this year. He can’t wait at the station until August! So, this option is invalid too!!

An idea! In one and a half kilometers from Hosur station, he has his friend’s house. He could go there, get cash, and go home. Even if his friend isn’t available, he knows his two other roommates. They would help too. Good. Now, this sounds like a viable plan.

For this plan to work, he should get down at Hosur. But who will wake him up when Hosur arrives? He can’t even set an alarm. So, it’s time to say goodbye to sleep.

The train stopped at a station. He checked the station name. Neikarappatti. Some intermediate station. Where have I heard this name? Haan… It comes in a movie, Ayutha Ezhuthu. Hmm… Nice way to go brain flexing these redundant memories!

A person came to use the lavatory.

“Sir, what is the time now?”

He glared at Vichu, wondering why he couldn’t check his phone.

“Sorry… My phone needs repair”

“Oh…”, he checked his phone, and said, “01:10”.

The train will arrive at Hosur at around 5:00 AM. So, there are four more hours to go. But he cannot sleep. Like Tom from Tom and Jerry, he could plaster his eyelids to his forehead but cannot close his eyes, not even for a short nap! Or else, I need Netflix on my phone for a sleepless night! Mmhh.

Climbed up his berth. Checked the station names whenever the train stopped. Asked the time if anyone crossed. Repeat..!

Alas! Around 4 AM, he slowly drifted into sleep! When he woke up, the train had stopped at a station and just started to move again.

He jumped down from the berth and asked, “Is it Hosur?”

“No brother. The train has crossed Hosur, and this is Carmelaram”


He got down from the running train. What a shame? How could I miss Hosur, he blamed himself.

Bangalore. In the last two years, this is the first time this city looked strange and alien.

While borrowing a phone to make calls seemed like a logical solution, his lack of memorized phone numbers beyond his parents was a significant obstacle. And they don’t know anyone except him in Bangalore.

Like in older times, now he has to ask people the route to go home. He has never done that before in his life.

He went to a tea stall, ordered a coffee. It cost him twelve rupees. He asked the tea master for the nearest bus stop. It was a one-kilometer walk.

Just for the sake, he asked an auto for the price.

“Four hundred”

Nah, this won’t work. He started walking towards the bus station. A Rapido biker came for a drop. Vichu asked him as well.

“Two hundred and fifty”

“Mmm. Okay. But my phone is broken. Once you drop me at home, could you give me ten minutes, so I could charge my other phone and GPay to you?”

Rapido must have thought that Vichu could be broke with no money. He escaped.

“Sorry bro, I got another offer” and rode off.

As Vichu started to walk, the Rapido biker came back and called, “Come on, let me drop you at the bus stop”.

Vichu hesitated thinking how much money it could cost. But the biker as if he heard his thoughts responded, “It’s okay. I won’t charge you. The bus stop is on my way”.

Vichu thanked him as he dropped him off at the bus stop. In these two years, he has used the town bus very few times. But that was to go to the Airport only. Here, the taxi charge to the Airport will cost you a fortune.

He asked a conductor from a bus for his route. The conductor, a friendly and approachable man, smiled warmly at Vichu’s request. “Of course,” he replied, his tone cheerful and helpful.

“Board this bus. Get down at Hebbagodi. Cross the road to reach another bus stop. From there, board 398C. It will go to Doddakamanahalli.”

Normally, he would take down all these instructions on his phone notepad. Hmph!


“30 Rs”

The bus journey started. He calculated in his mind, coffee 12, bus ticket 30, he had 77. How much balance he has now? If only he could use his phone calculator. Gosh! How much he misses without his phone. It’s enough, as long as he has money for his next bus.

He crossed the road at Hebbagodi. Another ten minutes wait, 398 A arrived. But the conductor said C didn’t he? Lemme ask.

He enquired, and the conductor on that bus responded, “It will go up to Bannerghatta”.

Nice. It’s only two kilometers from my house. Maybe I could walk that distance. He boarded the bus. This bus fare too is 30.

He got down at Bannerghatta.

Now, where am I? Which way should I walk to my home? Left, or right?

Again, he needed his phone. Jeez! How addicted are we to technology? I should learn to be less dependent on my phone!!

He asked a person for a way. He responded in Kannada.

If only he had a Google translator, this communication would have been easier. Now, that tech wasn’t available to him either.

He managed to understand the gist to some extent based on his hand gestures and started walking in the pointed direction. After five minutes, he came to a familiar signal junction, and he felt relieved. Now, he knows the route to his home. Thank God. The relief gave him new energy.

A bicycle came close to him.

A juvenile on that cycle said, “Brother, are you going home? Let me take you on.”

He knows this boy. He works in the small provision store near his house. He also brings a water can to his room. He studies during the day and works part-time in the evening.

“Let me drive; you sit in the pillion,” and Vichu started to ride the bicycle.

This is the first time he is riding a bicycle in Bangalore. Bangalore looks stunning from this elevated perspective!

As soon as he reached home, he took his old phone, changed his SIM card, and as it charged, he installed all the necessary apps. All the apps he lost that would have helped, like the clock, alarm, calculator, payment app, travel app, food app, surfing map, and everything else, got back to him.

Finally, yes!!! Blissful!! How useful these technologies are for mankind. It strengthens us.

His phone started to ring. A nostalgic comical ringtone in R. S. Shivaji’s voice from the Magalir Mattum movie sounded.

“Technology is improving very much, huh?”

Vichu grinned!


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