Thursday, August 20, 2020

Spooky Journey

20 - 08 - 2020


Greetings readers,

Here is today's bit with a pinch of thriller and humour. Do leave your comments here without fail. I appreciate all those who write to me how they enjoy some of the writing. Please do leave a line here too, so everybody connects to your comments.

Some people love old, Spooky, trains. (With images) | Train, Train ...



We say do not judge a book by its cover. Do not judge a person by his looks. I relate to this closely by a train journey of mine. Yes.

In the Year 1996, I boarded a train from Chennai to Mumbai. 20 hours journey. In a hurry, I hopped in with one set of batteries in my Walkman ..and quarter kilos of grapes.  It was just about 8pm.

What a lovely train it was. Dirt smeared window sill, seats absolute antique, creaking fans, winking lights. Why! the entire compartment seemed to be mine. Just then a dad-daughter duo showed up. They sat a few seats away. Compartment now looked packed with their luggage and the amount of food packets they had. I was relieved looking at the food packets.

I plugged music to my ears. 10pm. I waited for some food from the pantry service in vain. 

I gave a smiling glance to the dad-daughter. Nothing happened in return. Apparently, they dint like me. They were engrossed in some troubled discussion.. So I grabbed a few grapes and dozed off.
Soon dinner came. In my dreams.

Next morning by 6am as my eyes and mouth opened together, I shut my mouth to avoid the yawn, squinted away to see outside the window, and settled my undone hair, I see the dad daughter enjoyed their food. Again.

My stomach grumbled against them. I did not even have a cup of coffee. I prayed to almighty.

By 9am my stock of grapes over. All I had to do was to listen to the "only cassette" in my walkman playing Aamir Khan's songs from Bollywood movie "Mann". Huh. Till today I know the lyrics in full.

And suddenly two men in full grey patched uniforms jumped inside the train, closed the doors, pulled down windows shutters, and stood guarding the closed doors with their 2 foot long guns resting on their foot.
My heart jumped into my mouth.

Was it happening? Was I imagining Bollywood scenes? Music had stopped suddenly. Drat, the batteries.  Stomach rumbling. And the dad-daughter duo serious discussion forever munching away savouries making obvious sounds.

Whatever were these gunmen up to? They appeared to be army security but, it appeared like they were talking about me, pretty sure I was, they were. And I was hating their looks.

Bulged up mustache, creepy grins, munching peanuts. I was just barely in my 20's vulnerable, alone. I shivered till my bones. My brains froze for a few seconds.

What if something bad happened to me. What!  Just then the dad daughter, with expressionless faces walked up to me, sat beside me.

Next few minutes the duo sat with me. In absolute suspense. I now had my benefits of doubts. To trust the army men like guys or this stingy duo. Absolutely flabbergasted, wish I could open the window. I was quite lean built yet not enough to wriggle out of the window though. No. No way.

So what could a hungry tummy and frightened mind do? I sat like a potato in hot water. Shaking with the rhythm of the train and frighted to death.

 The dad-daughter sat for another 30 minutes until the gunmen left in the next station.

My slow train continued to whistle and crawl on the tracks leaving me frustrated.

By  4pm something, am not too sure of the time, the train arrived at Mumbai station. I hopped off after letting out another prayer to almighty.

That evening as I got off the train in Mumbai I learnt, gunmen were army personnel guarding we passengers as the slow train crossed the dacoit feared area. One mystery was solved. 

Now for the other. The dad-daughter duo neither smiled nor talked. They appeared grumpy. But they showed compassion when I was feeling terrible and scared. They made me feel safe and secure without breathing words, in spite of their problems (I am guessing that). They did not share food in spite of having so much.  

So, judge a person’s attitude and aptitude by their actions. Appearance deceives, is just for our identification of legal existence.