The sacred companion...

So I am en route to Lucknow (again!) and courtesy of my procrastination and that of the Indian railways, I have an RAC (reservation against cancellation) ticket in a II-Tier birth of Bhopal Pratapgarh express. An uneventful but surprisingly cheap cab ride later (Ola Cabs \m/), I wait for a train that tried in-vain to be on time. I find my berth and prepare to settle in, ready to throw away my flippers and hide that damp-sock stink deep down into my baggage. The other occupants of the coach were a cute Islamic family with a darling little girl of about 8 and another family with a brat of about 2, tearing about the place. Also present were a couple of know-it-all kinda uncles, the usual crowd of any train. I made peace with them all; ready to violate Gandhigiri If that bratty little infant ruined my snooze!
           Then follows the arrival of two incredibly pretty girls, who are perhaps wondering why a self-obsessed moron was loitering on their reserved seat. I instantly justify my ominous presence by whipping out the SMS that was on my Nokia 1100 cell phone. Horrified at the prospect of sharing her seat with a character as colorful as myself, the fateful girl reluctantly sits next to me. I have a slight epiphany about why I m gonna be single eternally. Anyways, by some stroke of luck, today I was at my comfortable best (track pants and t-shirt).The pretty lady might have probably thought of me as an enthusiastic foodie, for I was gorging Uncle Chips and oranges (simultaneously). And to top it all, I was too lazy to avoid spitting the orange seeds back into the very bag which contained the oranges. I offered her an orange slice which she politely refused as if I was offering her a mouthful of edible Swine Flu.
           Normally, I pride myself on successful 'wooing' if there is an icebreaker early on in the journey. But the girl herself was like a gentle spring breeze. Simple, serene and subdued… Among Earthly girls, there are those few who inspire genuine, unconditional respect straight from the heart. Such was her aura, be it her amazingly piercing gaze or her soft-spoken charm. The kind of girl for whom you wish nothing but eternal bliss, wherever that be… Slyly, we exchanged hurried smiles here and there when one of the “scholars” were enlightening us about RAC category seat allotment procedure of the great Indian Railways.The same "scholar" kept on pestering me to search for a vacant seat in the rest of the bogie just as I was picturing his gruesome demise as a reward for his interference.
          We got to talking about Castle after she got bored of watching the 5th season. I spoilt it for her (unintentionally!) when I straightaway jumped to the concluding episode and she mouthed few delicate curses at me.


        Heading on, she seemed to be a fan of Fast & Furious genre, having recently watched the latest sequel. We talked cars (tuners, muscle, exotic, stock) until it was well past midnight. Being a perfect gentleman around deserving ladies, I temporarily sought asylum in the empty space by the bogie doors, humming in the wind all alone lest I scare the sleeping passengers. Returning to my seat after what seemed like an hour, I find her quietly consoling the 8-year old, who was crying profusely. She signaled me to wake her parents with her eyes… It took me all of half a second to respond and about a minute later, the little kid ensconced safely in her parents’ embrace. We exchanged another smile, lingering longer than earlier. Soon after, we settled back in the seat and watched the landscape bathed in moonlight. Not a word was spoken thereafter but I stole a glance on the face that was twice as radiant as the full moon outside.

          Like all good things, our fellowship ended with the arrival of Jhansi around 1:30 am. The TC allotted another berth to me and I prepared to haul my luggage, taking as long as possible… I returned one last time, to collect my guilty socks that lay innocently on the seat. She told me her full name (apt for her fair beauty and soul) whence I vowed to find her on Facebook, requesting her repeatedly to hit me up the next time she lands in Bhopal. She promised and we bade farewell. I snoozed like a log and dreamt that she came to say goodbye before getting down at her destination, Kanpur. At 6 in the morning, Lucknow was all around me… Been 12 days now since that encounter and I am still wondering whether the last goodbye was, in fact, just a dream!

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