There was a great rush in and out. The hawkers shouted the names of their goods at the top of their voices. Carrier’s loaded and unloaded packages from the parcel van. The whole station was busy.
At the platform there was large number of passenger waiting for the train. Some were sitting on the benches, gossiping while the villagers were seated on the ground or on their boxes.
As soon as they caught sight of the engine, they rushed towards it.
Between the turmoil of the station, I tried to avoid pushing anyone and getting on my train. The heavy bag on my shoulder was making me move like a tortoise.
I can’t miss the train this time; I can’t miss again, I chanted in my mind like a mantra.
After lots of struggle, making bee line between the crowds I got on the train. Getting my tickets checked I finally got my seat and let a big sigh of relief.
But my relief was short lived.
I suddenly saw her on a seat opposite of mine, facing towards me. Never had I felt it would be possible again.
I had seen her many times before -probably years ago, in a red sari as bright as a pomegranate blossom.
Today she was in black silk. The sari wrapped around her shoulder and a shawl wrapped on her head around the glowing fair face so like a champak flower.
I felt the black created a distance between the two of us; the same distance that colors the Sal forests-that smudge the horizon beyond the mustard fields.
My heart stood still for a moment. I saw the familiar in the guise of the unknown.
She put the newspaper all at once. Her eyes caught mine, everything around me stood still.
Those dark eyes with bold heavy eye lashes, adorned with kajal. Once I used to get lost in them, in the depth of emotions. Today they gave away nothing but a look of surprise.
And she greeted me with a small smile .I greeted back. Formalities and social are satisfied.
But my curious mind was far away from being satisfied.
Her face gave away nothing; she said nothing, asked nothing.
Isn’t she thinking about us? About me? What is going on in her mind?
She would glance at me, once in a while.