After I moved to Delhi, train journeys became a significant part of life. It was a rather series of firsts for me when I moved to Delhi. For the first time in seventeen years I boarded an AC coach of a train. From then on I graduated to the third AC of Rajdhani then got used to travelling by the flight; and yes I learnt travelling long distances all on my own. A feat which seemed rather impossible to me earlier.
It was one of those train journeys that was a little out of the ordinary. I remember a week into my post-graduate lectures, I took a break and went home. After a week’s relaxed stay and home it was time to go back to square one. With a sullen heart I reached Sealdah station and boarded the train.
I grabbed the window seat and made myself comfortable. Somehow I always preferred the side-lower seat of the Rajdhani Express while travelling alone. As the train started, I was absorbed into the journey and lost into my own world.
‘Excuse me!’ I woke up with a jerk. ‘Would you please keep a watch on my luggage? I will be right back!’ I nodded in affirmative. The concerned person left and was back just in time. ‘Student? Delhi University?’. I repeated my previous gesture. He made himself comfortable on the seat opposite to me. Rest of the evening was spent quietly with me gazing out of the window and a very few monosyllabic conversation was exchanged.
Next morning our conversation graduated from polysyllabic to a few sentences and then into a full fledged tête-à-tête over breakfast. A was his name and he said he was pursuing his MBA from an institute in Noida. He seemed like a rather interesting fellow. He threw a trail of questions at me and I went on obliging. I guess even he wanted to speak about himself, however, I unknowingly never gave him the chance. Despite that he did managed to unravel his likings partly. He mentioned that Khan Chacha and Hard Rock Café were his favourite hangouts in Delhi, places which I had heard of but never visited.
However, the small tête-à-tête gradually turned into a long drawn ’discourse’. We ended up exchanging our opinions about life in general in a city like Delhi. He spoke about his aspirations and also about his imminent examinations. Wasn’t he prepared for it? I wondered.
The train halted for more than an hour at Ghaziabad. Being a little restless I got down from the train. Walked a few metres away, bought myself bottle of Coke. I enquired after the ticket checker (also roaming in the platform), as to how long will the train stop. He said may be two hours more.
Sigh! I made myself comfortable on a bench and started sipping on the coke. A appeared all of a sudden and asked if he could sit beside me. I nodded in affirmative. Needless to say we again delved into a conversation.
I was quite surprised as to how come I, generally being an introvert ended up speaking so much about myself to a stranger? Sharing my likes dislikes and many more. Did I have a crush on him all of a sudden?
Around 2pm Rajdhani arrived in Delhi. We got down and hired a porter. Walked together till the auto stand at the Paharganj Terminal. I paid the porter on behalf of both of us and went up to the prepaid booth, bought a slip and boarded the assigned auto. Just as the auto was about to leave A threw in a fifty rupee note saying ‘I sorted it out!’. I grabbed the note even before I realized his trick. He paid for the porter. My auto sped fast.
We didn’t exchange numbers.
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