A journey in train will never fail to ignite innumerous flow of thoughts. Especially, if you travel for a little over a couple of hours! There would be scores of strange faces with their own sweet story which can be captured by being a silent spectator. And this is what happened to me yesterday during my three hours journey towards home!
There was a rather well-disciplined man reading a Malayalam novel sitting straight. He smiled at times and looks serious depending upon the mood offered by the book. He would have been a little over middle-age, yet constantly combed his hair like a budding teenager!
Then, there was a guy who was about to step into middle age. He sat staring outside the window as if lost in his own thoughts. Occasionally, he would glance at the newspaper which another fellow traveler, in his early twenties, was reading. This guy, through gestures asked where I would be getting down. I told him and realized that he is mute. However, he had a mobile phone and I felt suspicious. I shared my fear with my friend and she said he would be using that to text or listen to songs. But, I continued to feel afraid. Thankfully, he got down and so did others.
And, then a huge family hurried in. There was a really young mother nursing her baby. She was glowing and looked very happy. Her eyes had a twinkle. I wondered if life is just that. She would be barely 23 years old and had a six months old baby. I wondered if she would have enjoyed the independence that life could offer on option. I wondered if she would have earned a few hundreds and smelt the hard-earned money. I wondered if her happiness was due to the little bundle of joy alone or about her life per se.
I did not want to hang around the crowd. So, I moved and sat beside a girl who was animatedly conversing to a boy. They were talking about the medicines course, their teachers and all that. I understood that they study in the same college. I was shocked that it costs about 2-14 lakhs per annum for the medical course. OMG!! If somebody has so much money, then, on earth do they have to study? They may just invest and lead a King’s life from the income it generates. And, if they are out to study by taking loan, then, a giant share of their earnings would go in repaying the debt! Well, we need doctors. It is a profession having demand due to necessity. Why can’t they offer in a comparatively cheap rate? I don’t know. But, 14 lakhs is something unimaginable!
Ah! Finally, a teenage girl clad in an embroidered salwar kameez. She was sitting with a guy. The casualness in her mannerism made me decide that he can’t be her friend or brother. He has to be her boyfriend. He shared her dinner and they sat as close as possible. The TTR came and found that the guy does not have a reservation. He shooed him away though the girl said that they would adjust in her seat. Based on my observation, the TTR was very lenient. He made the families scattered along the train to sit together and confirmed many RAC tickets. But, he did not confirm his and looked compulsively harsh. I liked him. After all, he acted more like a concerned and protective father than a TTR. That girl looked embarrassed and never once tilted her head away from the window and the guy walked away with his backpack frowning.
All the while, I was sitting with my ear-phones plugged in listening to three songs repeatedly for three continuous hours. I used to close my eyes for sometime, else look away through the window. And most of the time, I would be observing people which would make me think and think more. I felt like writing a summary of my thoughts. But, I did not have a book. Taking the laptop out would seem to others as if I am showing off. So, I made a mental note to get a small notebook which could be used as a scrapbook. I also wondered how difficult life would have been without a mobile phone; smart phone to be precise. It keeps us connected with the loved ones. It acts as loved one who wards off boredom and entertains us. Above all, we may stay busy with it and avoid conversations with suspicious strangers!
It was, now, I realized that I have reached my destiny. A wide smile broke on my face. I collected my backpack and walked rapidly; each step making me a step closer to my home…