Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Train

Rajiv looked up with sleepy eyes on his basin mirror as he went on brushing his teeth vigorously. He remembered brushing teeth hard is not very healthy. But who cares he was late. Had to finish everything in 20 minutes flat so as not to miss his train.

Not that he had not done it before.

“It was a tiring day yesterday” he thought. he could remember crashing into his bed last night after a stiff drink of vodka. Nowadays drinking has become the only entertainment in an otherwise colorless life.

It was half past eight as he gulped down two dry pieces of bread along with a glass of cold milk from the refrigerator. 17 minutes he had locked the door of his one room apartment that was a new record. Now began his daily dose of exercise, the daily walk to the station. It was more than a walk it was a jog, run, hop, skip, walk and jump all rolled in one.

He knew he was just in time for his train. As he ran into the station he realized that the train was already moving out. With machine like efficiency he ran and clung on to the bar of a compartment door already spilling out with people. Something was wrong and it registered instantly. He realized to his horror that he had boarded the wrong train. He wanted to jump back on the platform. But one look and he felt dizzy. The train had gained speed quickly and he clung on for dear life.

Now he was doomed. The train would get to the next station in 5 minutes and then another 5 minutes to come back. Then a ten minute wait for the next train overall he would be half an hour late. He winced at the thought of having a “gyan” session from his team leader.

Those five minutes felt like ages. And he was happy when station appeared as a blurry spot in the distance. He grew happier as the spot grew bigger and bigger and the vision became clearer and clearer. But he was never ready for the vision he would have in a moment time.

As the train came to a halt and he was jumping of it, his eyes stuck on something. It was the most beautiful face he had seen in a long long time. Infact he was surprised he was looking at a face. Last few months since the breakup it has been the “look and the parts and fantasize routine”. There was something fascinating about this.

For a while he forgot time. For a while he forgot his boss and he eyes clung on for dear life to the future moving towards the train. His limbs moved automatically back to the same train he had jumped off few moment ago. He had never tried to penetrate through the crowd at the door of the local train. But today he did it. He drilled through the crowd and got a spot from where he could have a clear view.

He thought he saw a smile. He wasn’t sure. Why would she even smile at a stranger? Maybe just maybe it is what they told in the movie. What do they call it? Chemistry? He was angered that something magical like this should be called the name of a subject he hated in school. The next five minutes flew. He was angered that time wouldn’t stop at his whim. He just wanted to watch her for some more time.

The train rolled on to a stop and she got out. A surge of sadness went through him. He again waded through the crowd to the door. A Lo! She looked back. He was not sure she was looking back at him. It could have been someone else in the train. But as they say “There is nothing wrong in being optimistic”.

For the second time in a day, he watched he platform fly away from him, in horror. All the real thing in the big bad world came rushing in front of his eyes. The voice of his “evil Team Leader with horns on his head” was booming in his ears.


He had learned his lesson. He could not be late today. He got up at six in the morning. He was ready by eight. He walked with gay abandon to the station. He was not panting when he reached the station. He had a smile on his face. The train slowly came to halt. He waded through the sea of people and boarded the train. He looked back and watched the station diminish into a hazy apparition form the door of the wrong train. But all he felt was anticipation.

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