Patiala railway station, Meera and Khushi were waiting for Amritsar Mumbai express with bags full of souvenirs and mind full of memories. A trip to the Amritsar, Chandigarh has ended at the Patiala railway station. They were heading back to Pune, it was Meera’s first ever train journey. The Indian rail journey is an adventure with variety of people from different parts of India. Some of them will be annoying, funny, irritating, or entertaining. They will share their food with you, along with the life lessons, old memories of young days, or may be stories of their kids. And, you will happily enjoy all of that. You will always end your journey with numerous stories to tell everyone.
The train was late by 2 hours. Meera was excited for her journey back to home. She looked at the platform clock and took a glance over the railway track. Finally train arrived at the Patiala railway station. “Train will halt for 3 minutes only, get in fast”, Khushi warned Meera while picking up the heavy bags. Both of them got in S4 coach and started looking for their seats. Meera was struggling with bags and murmuring seat numbers, “21, 22… 21, 22…” She flicked back her hair and looked close at seat numbers. After crossing 5-6 compartments, they got their seat numbers. Khushi verified her seats with tickets, “21, 22. Its upper and middle berths.” But someone was already lying on upper berth.
Purab, as per the name written on the novel he was reading. Irritated Meera harshly tapped on his shoulder. He was lost in an engrossing novel of Adolf Hitler. Clueless Purab turned page 153 and looked at Meera. With full aggression Meera asked him, “Do you have ticket for this seat?” Purab nodded his head to deny it. “Then why are you lying on my seat?” Meera was bursting like crackers but Purab was looking at her without blinking, for him violins were playing in her background. Before he could utter any word, Meera told him to get down. Khushi asked her to calm down. He got down and walked away from there with his backpack. Meera and Khushi threw their bags on upper berth and got settled.
By 10.30 pm everyone started raising middle berth to catch some sleep. Meera slept on middle berth, as thinking that on upper berth the ceiling fans will be spinning next to her face. Train was moving fast and by that Meera was shaking while lying on the seat. As time passed, snoring sound increased around her. Meanwhile Purab came and slept on opposite middle berth. Firstly uncomfortable with shaking seat, then unbearable snoring sounds, and now Purab sleeping in front of her. Annoyed Meera covered her face with a blanket.
“Wake up, sleepy head”, Khushi whispered near Meera’s ear. Meera rubbed her eyes and asked, “Where did we reach?” While peeking out from window Khushi said, “May be we are in UP or MP, I am not sure.” Purab prompted, “Its MP, the train just crossed Bina Junction”. Meera ignored him and got down. Purab smiled crookedly. Meera grabbed her toiletry bag and headed to the train’s washroom. When she came back fellow passengers had already started with their breakfast. The snacks were rotating from one hand to another, while sipping hot tea.
Oops, Meera has no place to sit except for besides Purab. “I own the seat number 18”, he ensured her so that he doesn’t get any more trouble. Meera passed a fake smile to him, and looked up for Khushi. Khushi was submerged in music playing in her earphones. Purab continued his clarification, “Since the upper berth was vacant, I took advantage of it to read my novel peacefully. Sorry for that.” Meera realized how badly she bombarded him yesterday. She looked at him with innocent face and said, “No. I am sorry for what happened yesterday, as it’s my first train journey and my bags were heavy I over reacted that time.” Purab smiled back and both of them continued with the conversation. They were enjoying the company as if they were friends for a long time; cracking jokes, laughing out loud, giving hi-fi! Khushi was surprised to see Meera getting mingled with a guy she disliked yesterday.
The day passed by with scenic view from the window, munching something, endless talks, again munching, music, and lots of laughter. Travelling comfortably in such a long journey with people we never met is fun. It was a good day, now its time to say good night. Meera and Purab lied down on their berths with a sweet smile on their faces.
While sleeping, Meera sensed that someone is starring her and she got up hurriedly. She saw two strangers standing near side berth and staring at her while she was asleep. She shouted at them, “Go away, look for another place to stand.” But they were still standing there shamelessly. Purab woke up hearing Meera’s voice; he tried to figure out the situation. He got down from his berth, and stood beside Meera’s berth. “Relax and sleep, I am here”, he assured her. Both weirdos disappeared from there.
Around 2.30 am train arrived at the Nasik railway station. Purab looked at Meera, she was in deep sleep. He could not gather courage to wake her up and say ‘Sayonara’. He got down from the train with a heavy heart. Train honked while leaving the railway station and Meera woke up restlessly. She looked for Purab but he had already gone. She ran to the door with barefoot. Her eyes rolled over the railway station in search of him. He was far on the footbridge and Meera could not even say good bye. She kept looking at him until he got disappeared from her sight. The train crossed Nasik railway station. Unspoken goodbye and silence touching sky! Some stories remain incomplete with life long memories!
Some memories in life gives you paradise and pain in equal amount.
You need to choose whether you want to smile or cry on it.