Once upon a journey

Rahul boarded the sleeper coach of Aravali Express from Bandra Terminus station, Mumbai. He was in a crappy mood. He was in Mumbai for an interview and it didn’t go as he expected. He had no hopes of converting it. Adding to his misery, his cell phone was completely discharged, he had lost the charger and he was drenched by the rain. The last thing he’d need was a boring journey, which seemed inescapable at that moment. He was returning to his hometown Ahmedabad. The only good part, he thought, was that his RAC ticket was confirmed. Else the journey would’ve been unbearable. ‘I can’t wait to reach home’ he murmured.

Ahana boarded the same train after some time. Her seat was just opposite to Rahul’s seat. She entered the coach and she tried to locate her seat. Confused, she asked to Rahul if that was the berth she had been allocated. Rahul was looking out of the window and without much care he replied to Ahana. He thought “Is she blind? Can’t she read?” He looked up the seat and found out that the number wasn’t indicated. Ahana was adjusting her luggage under the seat and she thought “What a rude guy.”

When she adjusted herself in her seat, Rahul glimpsed at her. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. Rahul thought he must be dreaming. She was a Venetian beauty in human avatar. “How could that be possible? Such a beauty travelling via sleeper coach and that too in the same berth he was travelling by? This is too good to be true.” He couldn’t help but think. The engine was attached to the train and the jerk brought Rahul back to Earth.

He fumbled with his phone hoping that it would switch on for a minute so that he could call and inform his brother that he had boarded the train. Ahana glimpsed at Rahul and found him a decent looking guy. Drenched in rain, he seemed attractive to her and his checkered shirt made him look more appealing.  It was his rudeness she didn’t like. She noticed him fumbling with his phone. She took out a book from her bag and started reading it. The train departed from the station at 9 pm.

Rahul thought he should talk to her, but he was not sure about what. It was not a long journey back home, but his phone had ditched him. So, the journey seemed longer than it was. He needed to make a call. Apart from Ahana there was no one in that part of the coach he could ask to make a call. “Perfect timing!” he thought sarcastically. Finally, after a couple of minutes he broke the ice.

“Excuse me. If you don’t mind, can I borrow your phone? I need to make a call. My phone is discharged and I lost the charger.” Ahana, sensing his situation, lend her phone. Rahul called and informed his brother about the situation. He returned her phone and they chatted for a while.

“Thanks a lot. I owe you one.”

“You’re welcome. It is alright.”

“Hi, I am Rahul.”

“I am Ahana.”

“Is it a novel that you’re reading?”

“Yes. P.S. I Love you”

“I see. I’ve seen the movie. It is one of the best romantic movies.”

“Yes. It is one of my favorites” she said with a smile.

Their eyes met. They smiled at each other. Ahana engrossed herself reading the novel. Rahul wondered how he should occupy himself. The train had halted at Andheri station and it was headed towards Borivali. Rahul was feeling hungry then and he thought he’d get something to eat when there would be another halt. The train made another halt at Borivali station. “I am going to get something. Would you like anything?” he asked to Ahana. Ahana thanked him for the offer and politely refused.

He got off the train and bought himself some snacks. He thought “I should get something for her. Just to return the favor and maybe we could have a conversation.” He returned to his seat and offered some of the snacks to Ahana. She said “Thanks, but I had dinner before I boarded the train so I am not feeling hungry.”

After some time, he took out something from his pocket and offered to Ahana. He said “This one is to return the favor.” He was holding a chocolate in his hand. Ahana, surprised by his gesture and not sure how to react, stammered “IIits ok. No need for that. I didn’t do any favor. Anyone else would’ve done the same.”

“Yet, I would’ve the same to anyone else. It’s not a big deal. You can refuse it if you have diabetes.” He kept holding them in his hand and waited for Ahana’s response.  She accepted it and thanked him. She wasn’t expecting that from him. She was in dilemma whether he was hitting on her or trying to cover up his rude behavior or was there something else.  Nonetheless, that gesture left a good impression on her.

Rahul wasn’t feeling sleepy and he wanted to talk to her. He noticed that Ahana was about to finish the chocolate he offered her. “Is she going to remain on silent mode?” he wondered.

Continued here.


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