Growing up in 2006, my friend Vinesh (or Vinna, as we liked to call him) and I were two young and carefree teenagers who just wanted to enjoy life. Our 12th board exams were fast approaching, and we had to attend Math tuition every day to improve our weakest subject. Our ride was a daily 4 km bicycle journey from our homes to the tuition center.
Our parents were strict, always reminding us that we had to study hard for the board exams. But for us, being stuck inside with books felt like a prison sentence. So, whenever we could, we would leave home early and return late, just to spend more time outside of the house. We lived in neighboring areas, so our daily commute was always a joint one.
On the way back home, we would pass by a railway crossing that was often closed to vehicles due to the high frequency of trains on that route. However, being impatient young Indians, we would cross it on our bicycles without any trouble. We would even stop our bikes at the crossing and watch the trains go by, debating on their estimated speeds. Sometimes, we would wait for one or two more trains to pass, just so we could extend our discussions a little longer.
One day, we got carried away and were so late getting back home that it was already dark. When my parents asked why I was late, I quickly came up with the first excuse that popped into my head: “The railway crossing post was closed for too long. Even between the trains, they didn’t open it. That’s why I am so late.”
To my surprise, my parents seemed to believe me. The next day, I told Vinna about my clever excuse and how I had managed to avoid trouble. But before I could finish my story, he pointed out the obvious flaw: “We were on bicycles, you idiot. We could have crossed the post even if it had been closed for real. Why would we just wait and watch the trains?”
I was stunned by my own stupidity and couldn’t believe that my parents hadn’t noticed the flaw in my excuse. Vinna and I laughed and laughed about my foolishness until our stomachs ached. To this day, whenever we talk about that incident, we can’t help but laugh.
Those really were the days! A time when we were carefree, fearless, and just enjoying the ride. I will always cherish the memories of that time, and the running joke that was born from my childhood excuse.