Sunday, August 31, 2008
Jab We Met (Mumbai to Vishakhapatnam)
When I boarded the train at Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, for home, I was reluctant. It's almost three years since I had not traveled by train, thanks to the low airfare regime, official trips, and reporting assignments, that brought me into the sky mode. For some one with almost eight years of traveling experience in general and sleeper compartments of trains, that runs through most of India including Bihar, (you know why i mentioned this state's name only..with all respect to its residents offcourse) another long train journey shouldn't be that bothering. But it disturbed me at least at that moment when I smelt the train steel. This disconnect happened because I was amazed by the air travel, its glamour and tried forget my humble past. But energy brokers in Manhattan and Singapore worked day and night to screw my happiness...they relied on crude oil to get over the down turn in the equity markets. As crude pries jumped three times in two years, pushing the whole world to a high-cost-proposition (what we call inflation)...now everything is expensive on this earth..not to mention air fares. I was still meandering through my thought maze, when the train stopped at Dadar. My co-passenger in the third-class AC compartment entered. She entered gracefully and asked me to stand up and give her a second to manage her stuff. Her stuff meant a small bag and a her kid, whose eyes were transfixed on me. I didn't know why kids always look at me with amusement...but her mom was not too happy with her kid taking interest in this uncle. I must be looking like a rouge fighter, who just back from some battle. I tried pacify her suspicion by opening a novel I was carrying. I took all the pain to show her the title and authors name till the time she read it and remember it. I know she was reading my book and through which supposedly my mind. Her child, by now I an guess, must not be old that two years was also reading the ook cover with her mother (I guessed). It read 'A distant Window' by Mahashweta Devi.
This one was gifted by Tripta, a visitor to my place, when I was in Ghaghra, the beautiful nondescript settlement in south Jharkhand.
After some investigation it seemed the mother and daughter behaved as if they have realised I'm not the kind of guy they are afraid of. Till Lonavla it was raining and the baby was excited about the rains which she could she through the window. I was shifting my eyes between distant window, the book, and the nearby window for a glance of the beautiful nature. As Konark Express, the train I was traveling in, pierced through the misty Shahyadri hill I was into romantics....the kid by that time realised she's wasting too much of her precious time watching the scenery and not playing. Now the rolly-polly baby was suddenly full of energy and decided to stop my romanticism with nature from the train. She suddenly pounced on me with permission of her mother naturally and shouted "ab bebo khelega", almost with the authority of a general. I didn't have the courage to refuse such a sweet heart and started a pillow fight with her. She won all the time and punched me with her tiny pillow. I was defeated and showed all the gestures of a loser to her...she was all the more excited. I didn't realise, when the night crept in...her mom took her as she was tired. She wanted a session of breast feeding, and shouted 'doodh'. But her young mother was conscious of my presence in front of her. I understood and chose to go to the doors at the end of the compartment.