Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Train Journey I shan't forget

This post was written in February 2004... One month short of my son's first Birthday when I had made a trip to Kerala from Delhi on the (in)famous Trivandrum Rajdhani.

Making a train journey can be tedious. And if you have to make a looooong one, (about 38 hours), with two little kids for company, you've just about had it. AND if the train gets delayed due to "unavoidable circumstances" in the typical Indian Railways style, you can very well imagine the plight.

It takes serious effort to maintain one's cool...coz

1. You may be blessed as I was, and have the worst set of co-passengers ever possible, who can be bickering, uncooperative and unreasonable.

2. There is a four year old hyperactive kid who wants to swing betwen berths like Tarzan, causing a rise in the blood pressure of many. No problem with that except that she happens to be your daughter.

3. There is also one sweet little toddler, who is his calmest best during the day, but howls the night through, making you, his mom, stand ouside the periphery of the compartment, for most part of the night, sweating profusely (totally defeating the very idea of travelling by an Airconditioned coach), singing a baritone lullaby hoping that he shuts his mouth and his eyes (in that order) and knocks off so you can catch a wink or two....

4. The food on the train, the mighty Rajdhani, is atrocious and your daughter howls through the journey demanding Maggi Noodles, Rajma Chawal, Macaroni.....just to make your life a little more miserable.

5. Whatever you have carried, (which makes up for a LARGE part of your luggage), your children refuse to eat....turning you into an expert at 100 m dashes, rushing in and out, getting off at select stations where the train halts for an unbelievable 5 full minutes....while you look for that milk/chocolate/snack vendor (or whatever is the latest demand), get to him, pick up your stuff, pay for it, glance apprehensively at the train, the watch, the signal on the platform while he gets you your change...and make it to the coach.....just in time.

Through all this, you find one particular gentleman looking your way too often, watching... He seems to be waiting for you at every station to board the train...coz he only boards after you do, when the train is already in motion. 

He is there, sitting up while you try in vain to put the baby to sleep.... You see him as you cross his berth to get to yours balancing the sleeping baby on a moving train, trying not to hurt the child (You don't want to make any wrong moves lest he wakes up!!) coz you see his lights switch off after yours, as late as 2 am (It is strange because on trains for some reason - lights switch off as early as 930 pm). 

He begins to feel like a shadow...coz when you take your girl to the loo for the thousandth time, and turn around after she is through, he is right there.

Then he finally approaches you and says, "Ma'am, I just wanted to tell you that you are a very good mother. You are handling your kids so well. You are being so patient and caring. Its great."

And leaves you dumb struck. You mumble a quick "Thank you...." coz actually you don't know what to say....
Should you be rude to him and snap, "Who asked you?"...coz this may very well be the latest pick up line! But you know its not...coz he compliments you and minds his own business thereafter... Nothing further... 

You arrive your destination and scan the crowd for him, but he is not there. He is the angel who disappears after his job has been done - watching over a hapless mother with two children :-)

Yes. The Lord does work in mysterious ways!
Post a Comment