Perfectly enclosed in the 2nd AC wagon of Hoshiarpur-Delhi Express were my ambitions for a better tomorrow; just like the nth times I’ve boarded the same train every week. Then came the TTE on duty and asked for my ticket. I showed him the Emergency hard copy of the same which somehow had some stains of yellow dal on the right corner. TTE smirked and so did I, signaling it must have had a pleasant supper with family last night.
“Are you alone?”, asked the TTE while carefully looking at the sheet that seemed as lengthy as his height.
“Yes and Yes”, I answered. Another smirk from both sides followed.
Introspection for me came uninvited. I was free so much so the night seemed plenty to give another hand to the day that was supposed to come. The Train was on its schedule and my daily schedule of introspection was about to kick in.
“Why so lonely? Aren’t there better things to do than wailing about you”?, I was quick to phrase a complex thought.
“Well, if this was already about me and you being always together, I wonder if anything could change that fact”, she was apt on her answer too.
I went curious – “I look outside and it’s the eerie silence that irks me. So much of land shifting in split seconds and still, you are there as if you own it all”
“I just know a lot. Everyone like you love piling your heart on me every time you are alone. I’ll be honest though. It’s just that I feel I must be there when no one is” – She kind of touched the nerve right there.
I know it’s hard for us to be whatever time wants us to be. Maybe, it is easier to accept than to fight. All that violence engaging with the emptiness is just horrible. I think she’s right; she was always right.
I thought it would be the right time and the situation to put in perspective – what was she up to?
“I am a substitute if something just isn’t there. Although, I am welcomed on so many occasions – if someone loses their near and dear ones, in the moments after something terrible shocks one, or someone is just confused about what’s going on at all. I’m here to fill in the blanks even when someone can call me a blank. Remember, in all its worst, I’m there – for you to bounce back, to something there is, sans me. Even if you feel I pull you towards me, it’s possible that you push yourself toward me. That happens when you like being with someone. I can’t suggest otherwise. But, there’s everything if you imagine anything devoid of me”
I asked and she answered well. I guess enough of it was for now. Some another kick for some other day.
The train rode all night to reach its destination and the moment it stopped, it was already dawn. I found out that there’s much to do…