I do not exactly remember the date, however I do remember that I was in my 7th grade at that time and we are going to Narsapur (my Mom’s native) by train. The reason why I remember this journey is one person. And, to dramatize the events…
It was the evening time and we just left the platform, waving goodbye to everyone on the platform. For those who do not know these train journeys in India, go get a life! I don’t recall if it was July or August, but based on what I remember all I could guess is that it should have been August. Again, for record, Augusts in Hyderabad are generally romantic and occasionally sexy. The cold breeze, light blue skies and puffs of white clouds decorate and scent the city for most part. It gives me great pleasure when I look at those skies, calm and peaceful while God is always thinking of how to paint that huge canvas.
I am too selfish to leave the window seat to anyone and we were slowly leaving Hyderabad, 30 minutes into the journey. I was feeling the air with my palm and the rest of the family are still working out on other stuff like who sleeps where, who eats what and when and brother was busy searching for another window seat and occasionally trying to get to the top berth.
We had our dinner around 30 past 8 and slowly the light started disappearing into the wild. Most of the folks in the train were busy eating and there was this odd and uneasy calm. I normally prefer sleeping on the upper berth. By the way, there are normally 6 berths on one side and two berths on the other with a walkway separating these two in II class compartments. We were four and the other two were still empty. I guess someone would either join us in the middle of the journey or they might just be ours to enjoy 🙂
Anyway, I popped myself to the upper berth and switched on the fan turning its head towards me. You won’t get too much light up there except for the light sneaking in from similar heights. I was an great fan of Chandamama and since I knew we have a long journey, I decided to read it twice. Being late to bed that day, I felt the stop over and thought that this train is on for a short break. I could hear odd noises at the time of the hour. I think it was close to 10 pm and I almost decided to shut my eyes down. I hanged my head over the berth disturbed by some noise in our side of the train. The other two berths that were empty got the company. Both were females (hm mm!). I thought it was a grandma grandchild combination and of course I found later that I was right. The old lady requested my dad if he would take the middle berth. They got the middle and the top berths. Lucky me to for the fact that the only choice left for her grandchild was the top berth, facing of course my berth. She might be in her teens just like me and for a second I felt that she might me little older than I am or may be of same age. You now know my happiness, do you?
Normally when I jump into a book, I seldom turn my head around and more over it was Chandamama, my favorite. Sometimes, you will be just lucky, you shouldn’t ask why, it happens! My fellow passengers might have had dinner before they boarded the train, so their only interest during that time was indeed go to bed. The grandma settled in quickly and 5 minutes have passed and we could feel that she was already sleeping. But for outside of the compartment, most of the lights were turned off as people were prepared to go for a long sleep, while I was vested in my Chandamama. I then saw her climbing up the little steps to come on to the top berth, we saw each other casually and obviously smiles were exchanged.
As I said earlier, when luck favors you, it does it in a big way. My Dad wanted my Chandamama, as he is normally a late-bed person. I was in two minds, one I have a girl exactly facing me and I don’t know what to do and the other, my only alibi had to be handed over to my Dad. The second one won the race and I had to reluctantly gave away my book. But, things weren’t that bad. She spoke to me a while after settling-in; “Hi! my name is ..”. Now this is the bad part, I don’t remember her name, so sad! But you know what, I would have to name her something for this story, and I choose Shruti. Its not an obvious choice for a boy of my age to take things granted, when a girl (she was really beautiful) says “Hi!”, you normally give her back a dumb and wayward smile, I should say a funny face, but I told you that luck was on my side, so instant came the words “Kishore” (by the way, you don’t shake hands with girls in India, at least during those times) and I was happy that something started.
She had a pillow and a blanket with her and she rested here lovely face in her palms with elbows resting on the pillow. Had I been a poet, I would have written an sonnet, had I been a painter (which I am), colors would flow from my brush, it was a wonderful sight to watch. We slowly started talking to each other (mind it, the rest of the train was almost asleep) and then came the little sad part. She was in her 8th grade. Normally, girls look bigger than her age and I was mislead on that theory and I should say that I was disappointed, a little. I decided to make this small journey a memorable one, at least for me and we swirled and swung across many topics. One bad thing (actually good) about me is that when I decide to give a shot, I will pour myself on everything and the opposite persons are normally impressed, but sometimes it goes overboard, way over 🙂
I was so selfish that all I wanted to do at that time was listen to her and not say anything, just listen and watch (actually I was staring) her talk. We spoke to each other about an hour and I was already a hero. Sometimes, you can make out that a person will meet you some day in your life and you would like to spend the rest of the life with them, she was exactly that. Please do not think this to be a ‘bada hero dialogue’. Indeed it may be, but that is what I felt at that time. However my thoughts were, she was 1 year older than I am and things will not work out. I am writing exactly what I felt at time and I may laugh now thinking about that. It was not funny at that time and she simply mesmerized me, with a wonderful smile, a charming personality and a beautiful face. I reserve the best part for later.
Before I knew, it was pretty dark outside and all I could hear near me was the orchestration of my train.
Minutes later we said each other “Good Night”, while she pulled her blanket over, I was prepared to read some book for few more minutes and give up for the night. Moments later, I could not concentrate on my book and even did not stop looking at her ( I guess she already slept) face. Disturbed, I stepped down from my bed and walked slowly to the compartment door. Someone was smoking at the door, widely open and thank God, he just finished and left from there. With a big sigh, I just stood by the door, looking at the dark sky and a fast passing dark houses and what not. I left my brain at the bed to continue thinking about her and lifelessly staring outside the door for about the next 10 minutes.
I was sleepy but uncomfortable, my eyes were staring outside and the next thing I noticed is that the girl of my dreams (unslept) was right beside me. She said “Hi” and asked me if I am not getting my sleep. It took me few seconds to believe that she had the same sleepless condition and was searching for me. We spend close to 2 hours at the door again chatting about everything below the sky and I know I would not be able to spend my night any better than that.
We finally decided to give up and go back to our beds. Now comes the real surprise of my life. She gave me wonderful good night kiss, and I will never forget that moment.
I will stop this story here as I like it to end without an end. Memories are old books in our brain, with so much to ponder and sometimes you wish you can set the clock back and re-live the moment.