A strange thing happened. Years ago, I met a girl on the train. I was travelling cross country, it was a longish journey. Over forty hours. I don't remember where I was headed or where she was headed. Usually I won't talk to people on a train. On general principle, I wouldn't talk to you. I wouldn't talk to anyone. I do not like talking. Or listening. Only listening sometimes a tiny bit, but never talking. That must be why I don't know any people. Like you know, the world. I think I know about twelve people, in the world. I never wonder why that is.

So my train journeys used to be extremely lonesome, and hence delicious. I would read, watch, observe. It was a natural caccoon. If trains didn't smell as much as they did, I would live on a train. But I met someone I knew on the station, not directly though, I knew someone who knew him. And he happened to be seeing her off. The girl. This girl. Our berths were adjacent and it was understood we were going to take this journey together, given we had our destinations in common.

The girl, she turned out to be quite vivacious. She was so lean and so young and so garrulous, she grew on me. Throughout the forty hours she talked, except when we slept. She guarded my luggage when I went to pee and vice versa. Somebody had told us that thieves would inject sedatives into water bottles of naive folks on train and later when they passed out, they would loot them inside out. Life is so precarious, so on the edge of the razor, like literally anything could happen. She said she had an eye on both our bottles and that that precariousness made everything so special, any sip, any morsel, any breath could be our last. Yet she didn't stop talking.

We got down at obscure stations and ate choiciest of snacks, filled our bottles from filters on the platform, chatted with random people, almost missed the train a couple of times. We stood at the door, felt the wind. Stared down bridges. Back on our berth, we imagined what the world looked like through the almost opaque glass window in the AC compartment. She told me about the doctorate thesis she was working on. Something in marine biology, I recall. How she wanted to study molluscs and snails and the like.

In the last four hours, I opened up too. Started talking. Like really talking. When I don't assess the impact of my words on my audience, I really talk. I talked for a few minutes perhaps. Then silence took over. Her station was two stops before mine. We bid an awkward goodbye. I would never know where that awkwardness stemmed from, we liked each other of course as co passengers, there was nothing else there. We exchanged numbers. But we were not going to stay in touch; perhaps we both were aware of the impending loss of touch; gradual falling away of an infatuation that wasn't even here, in whole. 

1 comment:

Beyond Horizon said...

It is amazing how sometimes we come across few people which we remember but aren't in touch.