Train journeys have always been a pleasant experience ever since..be thats in a crowded stinky 'general' compartment or the posh 'ac' coach..every single journey had been an experience worth relishing..I still remember,if not all,some of those fellow passengers in the past..the sweet lady from Delhi with short hair,who advised me to use almond oil on the hair..the family from Nasik,with a bubbly kid..the gals who i howled with inside every tunnels in Shimla..
If not perceive fully,it at least made me understand or witness the plights of being born a poor..the small kids who come around cleaning the floor or polishing your shoes for the meager pennies you throw at them..children who sing 'raja ko rani se pyar ho gaya' drumming on their empty tummy for a bit mercy..blind and handicapped crawling before you.. They did annoy me in the past..i hated their songs..i loathed their pleas..i despised even a sight of them..not because i was some ruthless shylock,but my small mind was so confortable believing that world was a safe haven where every human being could live comfortably..I chose to believe that poverty was not a big affair.. And when you are gloating in some non-disgusting thoughts,you find yourself demonstrating Newton's first law of inertia.. And so was i..
Until,i came out of the nest..where you are nestled and pampered by your parents,who pay for every goddamn request of yours(of course not all of them!)..ratifying the unwritten law that,dad is your banker by nature..
Being granted the laissez faire to spend a stipulated amount of money is definitely a wonderful thing..for you don't have to turn everytime over your shoulders for approval..you can shop or party around as and when you wish..and you find the glut of edifices for the money gushing up..theatres,malls,restaurants,..
And that was exactly what came to my mind too,when i was to embark on a journey alone,to Mumbai..i thought of the umpteen times, i was rejected a request for an ice cream or snacks in the train..Lays and Bytes blinded me..the flocks of colorful magazines i couldn't buy.. And i thought this was my time..my hour of profligate spending..
But it's when you start spending yourself that you understand it was a lot better to have someone spend for you than letting you act judiciously..the responsibility is painstaking..And the old celebrated skinflint in me resurfaces.. And every time i was to spend,the dwindling money in my account pops up inside the mind..and the thoughts of people who toil the whole day to make their ends meet blur the sight..the slums on the side of the highway haunts..
It was in my return journey that i met this woman,.the principal of a school in mumbai..Without much ado,we became quite friendly..and i was bemused by her craving for snacks..bananafry, vadas, vadapav from chiplun, cashewnuts and groundnuts.. reminded me of how i was..58 she was,8 i felt..
By the end of the journey,she n her hubby quite liked me as a daughter,blessing me and hugging me..i'd always made it a point not to inquire people's personal details during journeys,and hence,even after 28hours together,i had no clue of their names.. Getting down at my station,i felt a tinch of grief..coz i quite liked them..flimsy i may sound..but i either get too attached or remain totally detached..either of those extremes..
Turning back,last two days seem to have happened ages back..Meeting these people,..the elderly brahmin couple,who explored almost the whole historic india,panchavati,hrishikesh,haridvar,kailas,muktinath,and lot more..,the french-german lady who out of her love for india was on her 8th visit,..i quite liked them all,for their care and affection for me,obviously as i was travelling alone.. And the thought grips me tight that i would never meet any of those people i met during such journeys..and still every one of them did mark at least a trivial brush in my life portrait..
Ain't life the same way..a train journey..where each of us have different destinations..sooner or later you part..some stay with you till the end..some get down in the earliest station..still everyone of them contributes to complete the jigsaw..
"You are not the child of the people you call mother and father,but their fellow adventurer on a bright journey to understand things that are.."-Richard Bach
PS:I began saying something..veered long..and ended up saying something else..flurry of thoughts i couldn't sift through..