This post has been written for Day 6 of the 30 Days 30 letters challenge. Topic for today: A Letter to a Stranger!
I live in a country with a population of 1.237 billion. Bumping into strangers could perhaps be the most obvious of encounters in daily life. While I am travelling by public transport be it a train, bus or a flight, interacting with strangers generally happens.
Dear Akhil, Karthik & L,
I remember the date exactly, the evening of 14th August 2013, when at 5.45pm, all of us exchanged glances and saw one another, as Rajdhani Express left Ahmedabad railway station, enroute to New Delhi. Personally, I was overflowing with excitement and anxiety of sorts, as I was in the train to Delhi to see Shantanu, for the first time since his job got transferred there.
Third AC compartments in trains are so congested, I must say and all of us literally struggled to get seated comfortably. Kartik and Akhil, remember you were on the berth opposite to mine?
Even when all of us had our reservations confirmed, there were two passengers on the side lower birth, along with L. Poor thing, they both had been RAC passengers sharing a seat of two between three led to L’s discomfort. However, that wasn’t for long.
Ten fifteen minutes and we all settled and the serving of the usual Rajdhani snacks began. Tea/ Coffee and snacks generally help trigger conversations and they exactly did what they had to, that day. Thankfully.
Generally I tend to doze off to bed around 9ish while I take an overnight train journey. To my surprise, I kept up till past midnight talking to you people, as if we were all friends for years. We never realized where time flew as we discussed things of sorts, jumping from one topic to another: Railways and its services, our respective industries- Sales, Engineering, Analyst for Start Ups and Advertising & Design; Indian politics and yes, I had a good time hearing tales of all of yours’ armymen fathers. And why were we up till midnight? To have Chai Nashta at Ajmer station..?? Nope! To wish one another a Happy Independence Day! Such proud Indians we made! 😛
This was perhaps for the first and the last time that I have enjoyed the company of fellow train companions. I’ve frequented New Delhi several times after that first visit and each time I hoped to see at least one of you. My hopes were seriously in vain until my last visit in July End. Early morning when the train stopped at Delhi Cant Station, I went near the basin with my toothbrush and a voice called from behind, “Niyati, right?”
It was you Karthik, getting down with your luggauge. Same coach, different compartments and we couldnt meet. Bah!
Life indeed comes to us in full.circle, doesn’t it?
Hope to see you soon again, on a trip to the national capital..!!