Saturday, February 14, 2009

Train journey

Thin mangled lifeless hair scream abuse, many creases on the forehead speak of the times she has had to bear, wrinkles on the face tell the number of blooming springs which have flew past her, the eyes without their glimmer symbolize the instances when hope turned to despair, her callused hands bent in the shape so as to accept anything that is bestowed upon them recite the misuse they have been put through. He looked at her without pity, contempt, compassion, hatred, irritation or impatience. He just stared with those cold, black, inert eyes that took in everything – the crowded platform full of people milling around doing their usual stuff – people hurrying to get into the trains, sentimental goodbyes, hawkers selling their goods and beggars competing against each other for generating the most pity.
The presence of someone in his compartment diverted his eyes. He saw a hefty sardar placing his luggage below the berth in front of him. The man seemed middle aged, was wearing an untucked striped shirt which looked like it could do with a wash, a worn out trouser and scuffed up shoes. He only had a dark blue coloured bag with him.

After finishing his sales, he realized he had to rush to the railway station. He only had a little time to go home and pack. He hurried home and without changing his stained striped shirt, stuffed all he needed into the dark blue bag that he had grown tired off. He thought of buying a new one but somehow it just kept slipping out of his mind. He hoped that he found an auto on time. Sometimes, it was difficult to get one for over 30 minutes. Luckily he found one instantly and reached the train station well in time. After locating his train and coach, he moved into his compartment and saw a person sitting there. To his immense joy, he saw a turban and a beard on him which meant that his partner in the journey was sardar too. A feeling of camaraderie rose to the surface and he became instantly at home. He immediately started talking to him in “dialectic Punjabi”. With no restraint, he launched into his rants.

He saw the kinship in his eyes and immediately averted his. However, he couldn’t do it for long as his fellow passenger started in “dialectic Punjabi” about the inefficiency of railways. He felt uncomfortable, strained at being taken for a friend so suddenly. The strain and the hesitancy was present, as is there when you have a slight contempt for someone who thinks of you as a close associate.

He sensed the uncomfortableness in the air only after a long time and he spoke nothing after that for the rest of the journey.

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