She woke up that day with a song in her heart. She was going home!! Being at Medical school was great, but this was her first trip back home! Yayy! Tone deaf, she happily hummed a new popular ditty as she packed her bag.
She joined the equally excited bunch of girls in the hostel lobby and they made their way to the railway station. The group of ” boys ” from their batch joined them there. No one had even thought of reservations and all of them happily entered the unreserved compartment. The slatted seats were anything but comfortable but the exuberance of youth shielded them from any such discomfort. Seeing them, they could have well been in Executive Class aboard a luxury liner!
Soon they were ensconced on various flat surfaces, not necessarily “seats” as the train chugged out of the station. After the initial chatter died down, they began playing word games and Dumb Charades. They had the whole night to while away. They had divided themselves into two teams.
It was her turn to mime. She had a minute. As she desperately tried to convey the name of the book , she realised most of them were not even interested in reading and it would be difficult to get it right. Suddenly a gruff baritone said “Freedom at Midnight”. “Yes!! Yes!” She jumped up and down in excitement. She’d done it!
As she took her seat, she turned to him to say thanks. They started talking and talking and talking… It was as if the rest of the world had just disappeared. Books, views, thoughts and words flowed freely. They had so much in common. She had never talked as much to one person. One topic followed the previous there being not a single moment of awkward silence. Hot cups of tea and words kept them company and before she knew it, it was time to disembark.
As she turned to go, she looked back at him to say Goodbye. “I wish the train had been late” , she heard him voice her own thoughts! It was uncanny. She felt something leap between them. Was it friendship? Was it love? Was it Karma? Was it destiny? Whatever it was, this she knew….
Life would never be the same again!