She did not like monsoons. Monsoon meant rains, lots of it! And with it came insects and mosquitoes. Puddles and Potholes. Bumpy car rides. And bumpier air travel!
Yet, here she was – at the railway station, waiting for the train. It was pouring relentlessly. She tried not to take notice of all that surrounded her. The periodic cracking of thunder interspersed with loud chanting of hawkers on the platform outside caused every nerve in her body to shudder, as she perched herself on the edge of a damp seat in the remote corner of the over-crowded waiting room.
“I should have listened to Agam and taken a flight to Mumbai. How bad could a bumpy air ride be?”
This thought had crossed her mind a zillion times and each time she had cursed the inevitable social engagement that had forced them to travel to Mumbai smack in the middle of the rainy season.
Keeping her eyes shut, she was struggling to come to terms with her apathetic state of mind when, like a final nail in the coffin, the lights in the waiting room went out. Apathy gave way to fear. The darkness and rains combined did not bode well with her. She was so terrified that she instantaneously clutched the hand of the person sitting next to her. The watch on her wrist brushed against the Fitbit device on his and thus, sensing the familiarity of his arm she exclaimed with a sigh of relief, “I did not realise that you had gotten back. Don’t leave me now until the lights come back again!”
For the next few moments, it seemed like the darkness had cast a soothing spell on her. He held on to her hand, clutching it softly and periodically stroking the back of her palm with his thumb. She could not remember the last time that they had held hands, the last time she had felt the need to be comforted or the last time he had comforted her. All those memories had, long since, faded away. But in those moments of darkness, she could finally see a new light to their relationship.
Just then, the electricity resumed. He abruptly let go off her hand and hastened towards the exit just as Agam came running inside from the platform. “Hurry up Shailja, or we will miss the train”, he stated. “I so regret agreeing for a rail travel. I am telling you, we miss this one and I am gladly headed off to the airport”, he added.
She was not listening to him. Her mind kept racing back to the darkness. Perplexed as hell, she tried to question all that had taken place. And just then, like a bolt of lightning, it struck her that the answer that she was seeking was in front of her. “Wherever you chose to go, Agam, be certain that I will be following you”, saying so she winked at him, clutched his hand tightly – his Fitbit, her watch and everything therein and they made a dash towards the train.
Just as she boarded the train, Shailja caught a glimpse of the waiting-room-stranger. He was towing behind a not-so-pleased looking lady who could barely control her rage and was heard saying, “The next time you chose to travel by rail, you are free to do it by yourself. This is definitely the last time for me.”