Saturday, November 28, 2009


All through the rough ride from Bombay to Renikunta Junction, she sat unmoving by the window, the wind on her face trying hard to blow away the black dupatta covering her thick braided hair. Oblivious to the smells, the heat, the crowd, the cries of babies and sellers and the silent admiration of the man sitting opposite to her.

Her face blank and beautiful, her eyes unmoving, fixed at the same point; located, seemingly, at infinity.

At nightfall, while the rest of the compartment slept, she just rested her head on the bars of the window, closing her eyes every then and now.

The next day, with Renikunta nearing, her restlessness began.

As the train slowed down, her neck craned, searching.

Just as the train screeched to a halt, two women, dressed in black and white showed up near her window, screaming joyfully in a language incomprehensible to us seated in the compartment.

With a wordless joy, her face lit up. She ran to them, and the three hugged, laughed and spoke loudly and with gay abandon, while the rest of us could only look on, and smile.

The man who’d been seated opposite her through the journey flapped down her seat and rested his tired legs upon it.

The men on the platform, didn’t give the trio much more than a second glance. . .

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