Wednesday, July 29, 2009

From the Dairy of a Daily Passenger : Chapter 04

The day Anindita traveled in that ladies compartment on Balia Express, she made that promise to herself, never again in a ladies compartment not at least on board Balia Express. She knew there was humanity, but it was uneasy. She did not feel comfortable with them. Sophistication always took over. And who knows maybe someday the bunch in question wouldn’t like her and she would have to stand there in that jungle of uncivilized women. She would hate that. Since she always came back to Deoghar every weekend earlier, she had seen regular passengers always getting into sleeper compartments. She realized, this was possible in Jharkhand and Bihar. Something assured her, nobody is going to fine her or anybody else for getting onto a sleeper class for a couple of hours. So, after that experience of the ladies compartment, she always boarded a sleeper class, usually the last or the second last.

There was another woman, who got into the same sleeper class compartment everyday from Chittaranjan and traveled till Jasidih. When Anindita reached Chittaranjan station, she sat there quietly. She always found the woman with a man. They would talk and laugh. Sometimes one or two other people would join them, ask them how they were doing and then they would go their own ways. The two always stayed back together. In the beginning, Anindita thought the two were married to each other. Most probably they worked at the same office and then they must have fallen in love and then married each other. “Perfect Couple!”, Anindita thought and smiled to herself. Anindita had a specific seat at the station. She always sat at the same place and waited for the train. The couple also had their specific place, but since it was far enough not to be heard, Anindita never heard them talking. She would look at the woman, and stare at her, until she would realize that she had been staring. Then she would look away. The woman wasn’t beautiful. She was a little healthier than could be classified under the beautiful category. She hadn’t great looks, a thick nose, wasn’t fair, though not dark. She did not have dark waist length hair or a wonderful hair style. She had her hair parted in the middle and Anindita saw the vermilion line that helped society to classify women into the married category. She had a little ponytail, well oiled and made up. Anindita did not like her. She did not know why. She could not give one single reason why she disliked her. So, even if they usually got into the same compartment, they never talked to each other. They could have, if Anindita would have initiated, but she didn’t for the sole reason of dislike.

That day Anindita did not see the woman on the platform. She thought maybe she was on a holiday. She sat there all by herself. She noticed the man walking up and down on the platform. The train arrived. Anindita boarded the train. She never asked anybody for a seat. She felt bad. These men were traveling a long distance and they were justified if they expected to relax themselves instead of offering her a seat. But, all the days that she traveled, somebody always offered her a seat. Sometimes she did sit down by herself, when she found only one or two people on one whole big seat. And as she sat, she always told them that if they need to relax they could tell her so, she would leave the seat. But they always eagerly offered her the seat. And some of them even had a chat with her.

Well, that was not exactly the idea. Anindita knew rejection of a seat would be very humiliating. So, she never asked for one. And the second reason was, politeness always worked. In this case too, it did.

She got into the second last sleeper compartment. She kept walking through the mass of seats and people until she reached the last coop. On the seat for three only one man sat. This was an exception. Anindita sat down at one end. The man turned to look. Anindita said, “If you want to sleep or something let me know.” And she smiled. The man said, “No, its okay.”

The man busy looking out of the window. Somtimes he would rest his head on the seat cushion behind , close his eyes. Then all of a sudden he would look outside. Anindita watched him doing that.

Sometime later, the man turned towards towards her and asked, “You study here?”

Anindita explained, “No. I am on training.”

"Sorry ! Cudnt hear you!", and he moved a bit closer.

What followed was a set of questionnaire as to what kind of training, her schooling, her qualifications, etc. Anindita explained.

The man said, “I have two daughters. They are younger than you. Still in school!” He smiled. Anindita smiled back and asked, “Which class?”

“The younger one is in ninth. The other is doing graduation in commerce. They are not very brilliant. But I made them study so that later in life they can look after themselves if anything happens.”

He paused. Anindita reciprocated the conversation with a smile.


Raghu!! said...

....then ? ..:-)

Dhiman said...

Hey Come on you have interrupted the story a very interesting point just like those commercial breaks on TV while watching a movie....
now quickly post the chapter 5 ...

Mou said...

coming baba.. have patience !
actually I hate breaking it up myself... but the posts get lengthy ! :(

Avishek said...

aage se aadha story likhna ho toh mat likhna!!!!!!


Maurya said...

Jaldi yaar.. :)

Mou said...

okay okay I m sorry... There goes chapter 5 !
waise dont get so excited.. this day wasnt that interesting !