So I’m back being myself, bits and parts atleast. The closed chapter of strange acquaintances are back once again and that’s the sign I am claiming for my comeback. I saw this guy getting down at my stop, from the same bus, confirming the road to the railway station. I should have just kept quite all the time. But as I saw him taking the wrong road, I couldn’t stop my instinctive response. So now we walked together to the station. I reminded myself to keep my words short and crisp. The typical Malayali woman’s insecurity, you may call it and I wouldn’t fully disagree! He didn’t throw much random chattering either. Or, so I guess. At the ticket counter, when his queue moved faster, I knew the impending danger. The tickets, since the destination was same, came in a single slip. There was no escape for the next five hours and it was made official by that chit of paper. I somehow didn’t feel the necessity to resist it though. I was lonely enough to have anybody’s company at all. Come on! I could always plug in the headset or pick up a book or atleast hop on to the upper berth if it becomes so bad. Off to the platform anyway!
And now he calls me by name. Rather, shouts my name across the platform. Okay, names were exchanged and everyone has it to be addressed only. However, from a stranger’s mouth, my name seemed the most awkward thing ever to be heard. Paying off my share of the ticket in the first few minutes itself, I was trying to build the safer indifferent aura around me. Either it didn’t bother him or may be that went unnoticed. Until the train’s arrival, things were pretty normal, both of us gripped to our own books. Once within the train, it was a mess and chaos to find an inch to settle down. Finally, walked across the pantry car (first time!!) and many more coaches to finally find a comfortable seat. And btw, the Indian Railway pantry is NOT so bad, pretty hygienic actually. And then, as we settled down, the chatterbox opened. Pucca non-stop irritating blabber mouth. He began with his freinds, business, the numerous contacts he has, the people he meets everyday, the all rounder he is, blah blah. Pretty much gloating. But there was a charm in it, that you would just yield to all the boastings and quietly listen. Which is exactly what I did. I had no room to talk. He even bought a water bottle and a snack packet, to engage my mouth. I was pinned to his incessant talking, with occasional concerns if the conversation was boring, though all we had was his unusually interesting monologues.
Somewhere in the middle of the talk, his mom calls and he offers the phone to me to talk to her. And now that was something way beyond my weirdest thoughts. Talking to a stranger was a good enough thing about socialising. But befriending their family felt very awkward. Somehow after that call, the conversation took a turn and we almost began picking up fights and debated over theism and spirituality and science and countless other things. I felt friendly (strangely instantly), with a stranger. As always, I got more serious than requiredabout the argument and surprisingly, he didn’t back off either. There was a strange genuinity in each point he made, making me want the argument to never end. But finally as we neared station, an attempt of reconcilation was initiated and made successful. We parted greeting eachother, wondering when might we see again. Concluding that there’s no next time, we made.our own way out of the crowd. He had offered to drop. But didn’t bother to ask for my number or any contact info. It doesn’t particularly make him genuine or fake. But that was the beauty of it. With no chance of seeing ever again, we still made it to give the best to eachother. No pretensions, no expectations, just a few happy hours. Or, so I choose to believe about the brief experience I so much enjoyed.