Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Train travel

I woke up with a start. I looked around slowly, not registering immediately where I was. My eyes took a bit of time to get accustomed to the eerie blue light. And then I remembered. I was in the train, going home.

I had got a middle birth, though almost always I prefer a lower one, for the ease of getting in and out.

I groped for the mobile phone in my pocket to check the time. It showed a few minutes past one in the night.

The train had stopped and it felt very still there. The weather had been a bit on the cooler side and so everyone had their windows closed. The fans were switched off too, making the place strangely silent.

No fans, no rocking of the train, no one snoring, no babies crying, no one coughing. It was a kind of a stuffy silence which tends to bring all sorts of uncomfortable thoughts into your mind.

I tried to peer out of a window, but most of them were shuttered. I could see that one of them was open, but all I could see outside was darkness. We had stopped in the middle of nowhere.

You get really wild ideas in situations like this, and despite of being a bit groggy with sleep, I became a bit edgy. I recollected my cousin's experience when he was robbed at knifepoint on a train journey.

It was then that I saw this shadow in the corridor. Someone was walking around!!
Hey, calm down, there could be a thousand people in this train and anyone of them could be walking around at this hour. It can even be the ticket examiner or a policeman.

But then as he came into view, I found that he was neither. He was a tall, hefty man, with a long beard. That’s all I could make of him in the bare blue night-light.

And slowly, he advanced into my coupe.

This made me really nervous, and I silently coiled in my leg, to lash out at him in case he attempts anything.

He came in slowly, but determined. And then he slowly extended his arm towards me.

I lay frozen with fear for a split second and was about to spring a hard, quick kick onto his chest, when he firmly gripped my birth, and hauled himself up onto the birth opposite mine. He coughed a bit, slowly lied down and felt fast asleep.

I lay there, dumbfounded, and then slowly turned over to sleep.

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