Wednesday, March 23

The Accidental Friend

Sia boarded the train to her native along with her sisters as she was hell bent on reaching home for Diwali. The start of vacation season had left all three of them with no seats and tickets in waiting list. They all started their journey with a waiting list tickets and no seats. The younger ones sat on their luggages till Sia went in to speak to the TTE for negotiating about at least one seat for the GIRLS. To Sia's luck, they found exactly three seats in the otherwise full train, however, in the upper tier with some extra cost incurred to bribe the TTE. Bless their luck. They settled in their new seats, now when they had places to relax by.

Sia settled her sisters and baggage’s on their respective seats, and she herself got cozy in her seat. She started to read her favorite book 'Sons of Fortune' for the nth number of time. After some time, when she was on the verge of dozing off, she heard her sister's voice in conversation with some guy. In her sense of relief after getting seats, she had forgotten to notice people seated around them. She saw a nerdy, lanky guy with glasses on, settled on the upper berth and chatting with her sister.

Sia had always been skeptical of strangers while travelling with all stories of these unfamiliar people drugging others and looting everything. She stared at her sister and told her in coded language (they had a secret language) not to talk to the stranger. Apparently, the stranger was persistent and now that he realized that Sia was along with them, he started to notice her as well. He commented loud enough that Sia is fast reader to make her hear the remark and attract her attention. She thought, he succeeded and what now. She looked up at the guy and saw that he was staring at her. Although Sia was giving him filthy looks, he was smiling. Sia got up to go to the loo to avoid this annoying guy.

She came back to see that the guy was sitting on the lower berth opposite her and chatting merrily to both her sisters. She hated him from the start and now she had to face him for the rest of the time till he chooses to sit opposite her. He started popping questions for Sia to answer and Sia dodged them by answering in monosyllables. The guy is damn persistent, she thought. May be she can give talking to him a shot. May be talking about girly subjects would bore him and he would buzz off. She still had the choice of sleeping off if he is as annoying as he seems. She started talking to him.

The guy introduced himself as Rahul. He was pretty well spoken, nicely dressed and seemed well educated too. She thought, then why on earth is he behaving so annoyingly and trying to talk to people who are not even remotely interested in talking to him.  Still they started on a conversation and after some time it was difficult to tell that they have just met a few hours back. They were talking about almost every possible topic on this earth, starting from engineering (guy’s topic) to advertising and bitching (girl’s topic) to their respective jobs and places of postings. They apparently had close posting places, just 2 hours of drive and you are there.

Rahul and Sia talked and talked till they reached their destination the other day, with train being 13 hours late from the usual schedule (Indian railways - I tell you are never on time). Sia was aghast that she won’t reach home for Diwali. And a bigger trouble awaited at hand that they were left at an abandoned railway station at the graveyard hour. Rahul's father being in army had send a vehicle to pick him up from the station but he opted to stay back with Sia to give her company.

Sia agreed, at least a little known devil is better than unknown evils. They shared their email addresses to communicate in future and waited upon, chatting in the waiting room for the night to get over. The next morning, Rahul made sure that they all boarded the correct bus and left safely to their home town, which was another 1w hours of journey from that place. This one nice gesture of Rahul made both of them inseparable friends for life. An unprecedented waiting list train journey gave both of them real good friends for life.