Trains,Facebook etc

Old  readers of this blog would perhaps remember that the first post on this blog had exactly the same name..
Sometime in May 2013,my blog turned 3..Even though I do not scribble that often nowadays,reading what I have written over the years is as good as sitting in a time machine and going back in time...
Feels good to reminiscence over the good,the bad and the juvenile..*Ugly I won't say because my narcissistic self loves almost everything of whatever I've ever written*

The story you'll read subsequently is a big time modification on what initially went up on the blog in 2010,the intention being a selection hope for a story-writing contest...
I took down the initial post in accordance with the competition rules and now that my story didn't make the cut,it goes up on the blog.

Ah...and this is the customary anniversary post  as well,even though it was written sometime in August 2012
**I'll keep coming back to you scribbling**

Trains,Facebook etc


The message read “Hey there, Lady Dexter!!...Would love to meet you one last time before I graduate & leave the city…let me know when you get time”…Having read & re-read it at least 10 times, weighing all the different ways she could have construed it,I finally pressed the ‘send’ button..

It  felt awkward sending that message,considering the fact that we hadn’t had a conversation since our Birthdays’, which incidentally fall on consecutive days…

With only 2 weeks to go for my commissioning,I was desperate to have a final brush with everything memorable that Pune had offered me during the previous 4 & a half  years..So farewell plays had been written & enacted,farewell Quizzes had been hosted,passing Final MBBS had been celebrated with a fervour hitherto unseen & handwritten-heartfelt notes had been stacked neatly in my drawer(to be given to friends who would have left around the same time)…But the feeling that something was amiss was a little too obvious…Just that I couldn’t pinpoint what…Hoping that ‘it’ would surface sometime soon if I gave it a break,I tried to shift my focus to other things…Uniforms,clearances,tickets-there lay so much abegging my attention..
----------->>----->>-----
It was on one such trip to the Lohegaon Air Base,to order my uniform,that I ran into Vishesh…

A senior from Medical school & now an Air Force doctor,he was someone I knew pretty well,having worked on the college Magazine together…The senior-Junior gap notwithstanding,we treated each other as friends & we decided to meet up once I had collected my uniform.

Gossiping over a round of drinks,Vishesh had a naughty smile on his face as he reminded me how we had first met..

I was a fresher back then..Standing in a row of crew-cut cadets,I had drawn attention by my audacious declaration that there wasn’t one beautiful girl in our batch,notwithstanding the fact that it had been just a week since the session began..We had been asked to describe ‘certain facets’ of the beauties of our batch by a bunch of seniors…Having never engaged in dirty talk before,I had reckoned that was the easy way out…

I was being heckled by a group of rowdy seniors for my ‘audacity’ when Vishesh had intervened & taken me aside…He seemed amused too… “Going by the outright dismissal of your female batchmates,you either seem to be a female heart-throb or a philosopher…Which one are you??” he asked,the sarcasm palpable .. “neither sir” I said,visibly dismayed… “Your face tells me you aren’t a former…& even though you do not talk like one of the latter variety,I’d love to know what you’d consider beautiful ”he seemed friendly & that was a big reassurance…

“sir!!..A beautiful face might often define attraction but for many,it might not necessarily be the only factor at play...someone whose talk cannot exude the same charm as her face would perhaps fizzle out as soon as she walked into your heart…the ability to have meaningful conversation with a person whose thoughts one can connect with is perhaps more important than opting for someone just with a lovely face..for a thinking male,the most attractive thing in a lady is perhaps confidence” I rattled out something almost like one of the ‘investment-is-subject-to-market-risks-kindly-read-carefully-before-investing’ ads on TV.

“Guys!!we have the first philosopher of the fresher batch-a thinking male” he shouted out  with slow claps & a sarcastic chuckle, sending scores of seniors into peals of Laughter…

“Boy!!Considering the way you talk & the way you think,you’d perhaps have met your girl if she makes you feel like scribbling,into diaries,behind notebooks…a poem…or maybe a story or two” he had spoken just as the literary secretary of the college could have spoken…

“Sir!!..but I’ve already met someone like this-my English teacher” my writing experience limited to the compositions & letters written in school,I let out a wisecrack in my mind & smiled to myself…The suggestion had seemed funny back then…

We had just finished reminiscing through the whole story when he drew out an invitation card from his desk… He had finally found his soulmate,she taught in an International School… “It was all magical,the way we met & the way your ideal girl description fit her persona step by step…My girl,your criteria…& now its become mine as well” we had laughed away…

“Hey..that reminds me,found somebody  who could make you feel like writing??”

The conversation set me thinking….Had I ever met someone who had made me want to scribble??... Was it the ‘it’ I seemed to be missing out on??...
 Maybe not…Maybe yes!!...Maybe it was time to narrate a story!!



14th December 2009

Aboard the Pune-Howrah Azad Hind Express,I was on my way back home after a term well spent in medical school..Aided by easier subjects & a lesser workload,I had finally managed to strike a fine balance between studies & extra-curriculars...& having done decently  at both ,the happiness was palpable…Sitting amidst a group of 5 others,I had been jabbering away to glory..

The first glance had been incidental..Having somehow managed to drop my phone from the top berth,I had ventured off to the adjoining segment looking for the SIM,the memory card & the battery which had all been sent astray..There she was,sitting with a couple of male friends & from what I saw she seemed to be equally talkative..Of course,I couldn’t stare any longer than the casual glance,lest she’d notice...My phone finally assembled into one unit,I climbed back to my berth,the occasional glance thrown in every now & then…

Taller than the average Indian girl,she looked heavenly in a white salwar with a light pink dupatta…A radiant face & a pair of glasses thrown in for the geeko effect,she looked too good for me…Not to mention her tresses,trimmed till the shoulder & a perfect set of pearly white teeth,which added to her charm.…Every look seemed to be revealing something new…

A fashionably  huge handbag,which could perhaps have doubled up as a suitcase in times of need,partially hid a novel whose title I couldn’t gauge from there…

‘Well dressed with a keen sense for accessories & fashion!!’Looking for reasons as to why such a stunner would talk to me was perhaps like looking for a  camel in Antarctica…And to rub insult to injury,she already had two guys for company,who both looked pretty rough to me…Convinced that I didn’t stand a chance,I decided having a nap was the best option..

As time was to tell,things were to change drastically…

In hindsight,the way it all started, it appeared almost Bollywoodish…Well,how else would you explain 3 of my friends getting down at DURG,her ruffian friends getting down at RAIPUR,the last friend of mine left aboard going to sleep & me deciding to watch a movie on my laptop…and and…the laptop having no charge with the only free plug-in being bang opposite to where she was seated..

Picture this…A winter afternoon…Two strangers sitting opposite each other on a train that moves in spurts & jerks,surrounded by people all engrossed amongst themselves…Ideal surroundings for things to blossom??...I certainly didn’t think so…I was rather overwhelmed just to be seated opposite the beauty…I plugged in my earphones again & began watching a recording of the Freshers Show’ we had done last year…Her gaze fixed out of the window,I managed to steal glances at her quite often & all my inspectory findings from the top berth were confirmed…

But a conversation still seemed a long shot..She seemed almost oblivious to my presence…

However,a certain toing’ sound was to catch everyone’s attention soon…that irritating sound was my message tone… Most people around me looked startled initially only to break out into smiles later…She had noticed it too*imaginary fist pump* never had I loved VODAFONE more…I was still checking out my Inbox when my phone ‘toing’ed again & this time she couldn’t suppress that irresistible smile…Boy!!was I happy…

The Classic kept in front of her was very enticing,to say the least…I did consider it as an ice-breaker,doing it the old-fashioned way, but attempting it when I myself hadn’t even heard of the title would perhaps have been foolhardy...

It was time for a heavenly intervention & it came soon…

She guided me out of my misery by initiating the conversation herself…

“Are you from AFMC?” she finally asked. She seemed to have noticed the college logo on my sweatshirt, which finally seemed to be of some use..

Having stolen innumerable glances at her earlier I wasn’t one to miss out on this golden opportunity.I looked straight into her eyes;I had every reason to do so, since she was the one who had initiated the conversation.
Still marvelling at the wonder in front of me I was woken up from my awestruck pose by the same voice, this time accompanied by a smile “Excuse me!...You are an AFMCite…right??”

I realized,I had been staring at her.Sheepishly,I nodded in agreement.She knew one of my seniors at college,having studied at the same school as him.That kickstarted our conversation.
I was more than happy,for finally I was talking to her…And thankfully,there was more to her than just a pretty face…She made for intelligent & engaging conversation…

And my excitement showed…my funny bone took over & we shared quite a few laughs..At one point,I seriously wondered if I was that funny  coz the guy beside her was very carefully dissecting me with his stares & occasional coughs…Perhaps he couldn’t tolerate the fact that the girl sitting mum right next to him for the past 2 hours could talk & giggle like long-lost friends with a guy she had met only half an hour back…HAHAHA…men will be men…

Her revelation that she was a Research Scientist shocked me for her looks and her profession were as different as chalk and cheese.
“You Doctors don’t have much scope for research. Do you?” she asked.
“I’ll be taking up a research project next term.” I replied,even without thinking..
 “If you need my help, come over to my institute.Our professors would be more than willing to help”
“Now, is that a hint she dropped?”..“Should I ask for her number?” Countless questions crowded my mind, all answered by a single line “Don’t ruin your college’s image by acting foolish”.
“Okay, I won’t” I promised myself and the chitchat continued till it was time for her to go…

BILASPUR seemed to have arrived rather quickly even though the train was a full hour late…Starting from Research projects & Medical exam vivas to the novel she was carrying,the conversation seemed to have a bit of everything…Fuelled by IRCTC dip tea,we both seemed to enjoy each other’s company,so much so that I had the bright idea of asking her name only when she mentioned that she’d be getting down at Bilaspur…Having shared an awkward look,we had both burst out laughing...

“Nice meeting you.” She said and after a handshake,she moved towards the door pushing her trolley bag. 

Another dilemma­ seemed to cloud me then-How far should I push the ‘chivalrous armyman’ I was supposed to be??...Paying for a teacup was okay but the idea of facing her Dad if I helped her down with her lugguage seemed to squeeze the daylights out of me…Perhaps,it would’ve been as uncomfortable for the girl..Come on!!now which girl introduces a guy she’s just met on train to her Dad??…So,I came up with a diplomatic solution..I simply asked her “need help?”..But of course,she responded the way any upright,modern woman would have…

Now that she was leaving,I almost felt numbed by the feeling…There was so much I wanted to say,but the time available seemed  agonisingly less…

Just as the train screeched to a halt,something inside me burst out and I shouted “Hey! How do I get in touch if I need help???”

 “Take my number.”she shouted back.That statement almost bombed my ears and I again went numb,this time due to joy.

Some commotion brought me back to life.I saw a stream of passengers between her and me,all ready with bag and baggage.She was looking at me,waiting for a reply.Coolies had started entering and people started jostling for space.Still,she held firm.She needed an answer.By now people had started giving us angry stares.

Feeling uncomfortable I shouted“You on Facebook??”
“Yup“she replied.
“Ok,I’ll send you a friend request on Facebook”.

If I was right,she had disbelief written all over her face.Nevertheless,she alighted and I kept staring at the door.By the time I realized my folly,it was a bit too late.Hoping to redeem myself, I ran out of the door only to see her leaving with her father.

And I went silent…I had a sad look on my face almost bordering on repent…

“The story doesn’t end there..Does it??...you still wait eagerly for your train journeys back home,your facebook friendship has spread into real life & you probably even dragged your lazy bones to do a research project”  Vishesh had  burst out laughing… “that’s how the story ended …didn’t it??”

“How did you know??”… “been there,done that boy,but the real question is,has she ever made you feel like you’d want to write for her,weave stories with her in the lead role??”

My expressions changed & I had burst out laughing…. “Oh boy!!Can’t believe you fell for it”..
“If I didn’t weave a story right now,then what do you think I just did??..I had let out a loud chuckle…the end you thought of,happens in movies,books but seldom in life,you are lucky it happened in yours” his astonishment seemed to grow with those rather serious words of mine…

“Come on man!!I was serious when I asked you that Question..you had been fooling me all the time??”astonished,he refused to believe I had been bluffing for the past 10 mins..

----->>>----->>----->>----

And even though I didn’t acknowledge it,his belief was true…Yes,the story didn’t end there…

I still wait for my train journeys back home…Pleasures of a chance meeting not lost on me,someday,I hope to run into you at one of the ice-cream parlours or momo joints we frequented,or perhaps brush against you in the city bus or maybe round the corner as I’m walking down the road…Or simpler still,on a train back home-where it all started…

The train exists,as does my facebook account and so does the girl..

Love or no love…lady,if you ever read this I’d like you to know that you’ve made me put pen to paper…I have scribbled behind notebooks,a para here,a para there…diaries..blogs …I’ve rediscovered my love for writing… & It all started with you…
Ah!!...that reminds me,I need to meet her before I leave…
My phone just ‘toing’ed..
Sunday at Dorabjee’s’ she just replied back *return of the imaginary fist pump*

Still wondering whether I actually wrote something??...Yes,I did..the piece that you just read…I secretly hope it claims a place on the walls of some hi-tech Research Lab someday…


P.S.-

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