The gripping chill of Mid-December Lonavla was searing through the dark black winter jacket that I was wearing. That, coupled with the woollen strip that was covering my ears and a part of the forehead, perhaps would have made me a perfect mannequin for a woollen garment shop. Breaking my stylishly aimless imaginary smokes of draughts of fogged air, the Sinhagad Express from Pune to Mumbai, suddenly charged into view from the endless mist. Causing a pandemonium on the platform was the first effect it had, simply due to lack of any signboards for coach numbers on the platform. Flurrying into activity, people frantically ran towards their coaches.
Reserved as my seat was, I strolled leisurely towards my coach and to the designated seat number. Quite unsurprisingly for Indian Railway travellers, D1 – 97 was already occupied. Even as the man sitting there drew my attention to his missus sitting across on D1 108, I quickly exchanged places with her. (Merry are the ways of the reservation allotment system!!!!)
In spite of having absolutely zero knowledge of great sciences like astrology and astronomy, perhaps every one of us has a fair inkling about his/her own Naseeb – or destiny as one may call it. Which I too have – and an event which just simply did not fit into my normal way of life had happened within seconds of my boarding the train. D1 108 being the window seat, I was left to complete another 2.5 hours of my journey surrounded by young girls!!!!!! Three sitting in the front of me and one just beside. Wait, did I just say 4?
My bad totally! Three girls and One….. Oh My God! The girl sitting just opposite to me in the window was a rare combination of Mere Samne wali khidki ka Chand Ka tukda and The Goddess of Cuteness moulded into one single being!!! The Blue sweater pulled tightly across her body was making her look gorgeous, the arms of which were pulled right over the palms to shield against the cold – even cuter! In spite of all this beautiful drapery, she was also wearing a maroon coloured woollen cap over her head – this was simply taking the entire masterpiece to the level of ‘cuteness overload!’
Needless to say – I was reading a book (which is quite customary for me while train travel) and given the usual speed at which I devour books normally – I am myself surprised at the number of actual pages I actually read in the next one and a half hour – twenty! As the Western Ghats eased themselves into the plains of Karjat down below and the temperature in the surroundings climbed a few steps, she (all of a sudden) removed the head-cap. What a sight it was! Silken dark brown hair falling aimlessly over her shoulders glistening in the rays of the now rising sun! The level now had just escalated to ‘Sublime beauty!’
A friend of hers even mockingly commented that her hair had become a chaotic mess!!
“My dear,” (My mind seemed to say to her friend) – “I am looking at the chaos but the order has settled here in the heart!” Saying it openly though would have caused a disaster!
Trees, hillocks and the few not so important stations were falling behind even as I was avoiding looking too much at her. However, destiny had something else in mind! Opportunity fell my way when the same friend, peering into the station which had passed just now couldn’t simply get its name.
“Ambernath it is!” I quickly retorted to the friend’s expectant eyes that looked at me. Both her friend and she gave me a subtle smile. The discussion that ensued between the group now, gave me a hint as to the question which was troubling them all! Where to actually get down? Grabbing another opportunity, I quickly informed them that the train – though not officially announced, still had a halt at Thane!! No need to go all the way to Dadar! (The look of relief on their faces!!!)
Kalyan station (the halt before Thane) was nothing else, but a horde of people gushing into the already crowded coach! Even to the level of creating a nuisance to the already seated people. My subject matter naturally had a bit of tension gearing up on her forehead even as they started pulling their bags and gear from the racks above. Along with that came my part of the small worldly contribution to the damsels in distress – helping them unload their luggage….
Soon Thane drew near and all of the four damsels got up finally, to leave me in distress for the rest of my journey! The others were obviously not much into me and quickly picked up their bags and moved towards the door as the train slowly came to a halt. But this little being, just before moving towards the door, made it a point to flash me quick smile and muttered a gentle ‘Thanks!’
This ‘thanks’, mind you was enough for me for the rest of the half hour that was left of the journey and whatever else that was left of my heart for the whole day which lay in front of me ahead…..
Even as she left – to be not seen forever again and the train gathered speed, I was simply left with a sense of utmost satisfaction and yet two bickering thoughts –
My mind simply asked…
- What If – Bollywood was truer? And
- What if – Blogs were reality?