It is something which usually wouldn’t amuse you or make you smile, well let’s put it this way, you are going out to see a film which you have no idea about, you enter with some expectation in the theatre hoping the film you are about to watch might turn out the best one you ever saw, as the film begins, thus begins the journey, where a lot more is revealed than expected, it then slowly develops and grows on you, you find it stupid, idiotic, or even laugh at some scenes not meant to be funny by the filmmaker’s standards. But it all happens there, and you begin to enjoy the whole process without realizing the fact that it was a silly movie. Though you regret watching it as you come out, also make jokes about the film and laugh, but you know it that you enjoyed all those silly moments, it is then that something comes to the surface and that is, the most enjoyable things in life are also the most silliest.
A somewhat similar incident happened with me in one of my journeys, no it wasn’t any film, but it could become one, by the time this story reaches its conclusion. I would change the names in this story, because I wouldn’t want her to know about it, but I am sure she would know of it, once she reads this wherever she might be. Also I owe an apology to her for how I behaved initially, and also publishing whatever happened on my blog might also piss her off, but in a way I will be truthful to myself and let everyone know how good you were and how foolish I was. So wherever you are I hope to see you someday again, if fate permits (I refer that to her actually, because I don’t feel she might consider seeing me again). But as always hope floats itself and keeps you going, so believing this might reach her somehow (of course I know, she might knowing or unknowingly search for my blog over the internet, as I had mentioned her, I am quite sure she would find this, and my goal would be accomplished). So I begin this story with this hope, that wherever she might be, she is as she was when she was with me.
I was in the second year of my engineering, and by now I was pretty much acquainted with the world of engineers and their marvels and was very fascinated by it too, it was after some looking about and searching for what an engineer must do in their duration of course study to get closer to the real world of engineers, I came upon an interesting thing called technical paper presentation. It is one such event specially designed for the engineers to show their overall skill as an engineer, where technical knowledge regarding a particular field related topic wrapped in a wardrobe of confidence and oratorical skill needs to be displayed in front of a panel of judges, who would then ask some related questions and test the presenter’s command over the subject. In all its glory this event surely gave any engineering student an opportunity to prove their point or make their mark whichever way one might want to put it. So was myself when I learnt about this National level competition at an engineering college, which had an event about paper presentations, I am sure most engineers would know what the event is about, but for those who don’t it is an event where a paper corresponding to any technical research topic is presented in the form of a presentation with the support of powerpoint slides explaining the concept graphically and making the understanding of the subject simpler. It was to take place at an engineering college in Chennai. At that moment I was in Mumbai, I enrolled myself for the competition, submitted an abstract of my presentation topic, it got selected (mostly those participating the paper is usually selected, unless of course one is participating for any international format of the event). I got a call from one of the college representatives; she greeted me on the phone, “Hello, is that Aaryan Banerjee?” I just said “hmmm….” And was imagining about the girl at the other side of the phone, because believe me her voice sounded so calming and soothing that I kind of melted. But I came back from my land of dreams, and tried to listen what she had to say, that’s when I realized that she had already spoken what she was supposed to and now for the past 30 seconds she was waiting for a response from me. I suddenly replied to her repeated attempts of finding out whether I existed or not. I said, “Yes, I get that… thanks for telling me that… I am happy, I was waiting for your call, not as in desperation, and not that I knew that a beautiful voice would greet me, oh! Am sorry got a little carried away, never mind, I will be there as per my schedule and thanks again”. As soon as I finished I realized that she disconnected the phone that very moment. I thought that was a little rude, but then I realized why would she be interested in knowing what I had to say apart from the competition. Well, but all my necessary queries were answered regarding the event, she was very clear, and somewhat friendly. They made staying arrangements for students coming from outside Chennai. I thought about that girl, she said her name was Nivedita Radhakrishnan (Name changed), her voice was really soothing, and she can easily qualify for a hypnotist if not an engineering student herself. After that conversation, I decided something, if there is something I am going to Chennai for obviously after my presentation of course, would be to get to know this Nivedita girl, and at least become friends. This further thrilled me to go to Chennai and explore my possibilities there.
I knew my journey would be something I was really not looking forward to, that would kick the crap out of me, as it takes a good more than a day’s time to get there by train. So I prepared myself, with lots of stuff, to kill my time in the train, unless of course I chance upon a hot co-passenger, who is good enough for a company. Alright if not a hot chic then at least some bunch of young people with whom you could easily mix up with. But one should always prepare for the worst, I remember these lines told by my good friend whom I would always remember after this incident happened or call it an accident. I took all my stuffs that would keep me engaged in the journey, should I have to have some co-passengers I really am not interested to talk to. I had my Laptop, my novel, my camera (I have heard about the scenic view down south so it is a must if you going anywhere down south). I entered the train, as it was there on the station before it was to start from C.S.T. as on my ticket I searched for my seat, and was happy to know that it was a window seat. But due to some reasons I sat on the window seat which faced opposite to mine (Later I would go on to regret doing so). It was one of those two seats, at the sides you have in every compartment, total there are 18 of them in every compartment or coach, and are known as passage seats. Well I was lucky to get one, now all that I wanted was that the person who would be sitting facing me should also be the one I am ready to face as well.
A few moments later, I saw many passengers boarding the train searching for their seats and passing me by, with each passenger I would think no, they can’t be, and luckily they weren’t. After few moments a simple girl entered the train, she had a simple yellow top on it hugged on to her, and a blue jeans below, had straight a little below the shoulder length hair, she wasn’t glamorous, but in every way she was elegant. There was not a hint of makeup on her cute face, apart from some lip gloss and maybe some moisturiser. She even had no jewellery, some girls are extremely careful and have certain travelling habits and having no jewellery on been one of them. She was not the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, but she was perhaps an elegant one, one who is worth knowing about, and one with whom you can be happy. She was beautiful but in her own way, overall she really looked good, and for once I wished her seat was on which I was sitting at the moment. I saw her advancing towards; I tried to look away, and buried myself in one of novels which I was reading back then White tiger by Aravind Adiga.
I heard a pleasantly feminine voice calling out to me, “Excuse me that is my seat you are sitting on, please get up immediately and go to your seat”.
I couldn’t believe she was to be my co-passenger for the journey, I looked at her in disbelief and said, “well if you don’t mind you may take my seat, it’s the one facing mine, here this one”, I even placed my hand on the other of the passage seat and motioned for her to sit. “it is a window seat too, I hope that is cool with you”.
She got angry and said, “Look, don’t act smart, what rubbish, if you have your seat here why don’t you sit where it is, why this one, please get up and do not create a scene, don’t make me go to my wrong side”.
“Oh! I didn’t expect that” I quietly moved to my seat and sat there quietly feeling a little bad to make the wrong impression on her even before the journey began, I thought that I owed her an explanation for this, I really did, as I had this strange habit.
I said, “Look… madam you don’t have to be that rude….. “
She said, “Why what are you gonna do?”
“Look I had a reason for sitting there” I said trying to sound reasonable but I knew the reason I was about to give would even further piss her off.
“Oh! Really, I would like to know what could be a reason strong enough to make me believe that someone occupied my seat when there seat was beside me?” She said and looked in total command.
“Well you see…. I….. er…. Uhm… have this tendency…..” I paused in between realizing how stupid I would be if I said it. “I like to sit on the window seat which goes in the direction of the train, it makes looking out easier…..” I stopped abruptly noticing her raised eyebrow as if questioning my sanity. She looked cute even in her state of anger and that arched eyebrow raised, she looked all the more sexy. But no way was she now going to give me any company for the remainder of our journey. She must be thinking how pathetic I was.
After a shocking brief moment of pause, she opened her mouth to speak again, “You are an idiot”.
And I said, “I hate stupid women”. It came out like some reflex action.
“Excuse me, did you tell me stupid”. She was even angrier this time.
“Uh! No not you…. I said that in general”. I said but not meaning the words I just spoke.
“Do you think I am really that stupid not to know those were actually meant for me, which another girl is present here at this moment to whom you can say that?”
“Well, that was for me actually okay, I am stupid”.
“What??? But you said stupid women?”
By now, I had really lost all my patience and lost all hopes that I would ever have of getting to know this girl, I said, “Well, you see, I used to be a girl before I had this sex change operation and became a guy, well does that answer your question, I said it to my previous self, so it was not for you…. Okay! I hate a stupid woman that was me….” I could literally see her taken aback with what I just said.
“Ewww…. That is so creepy”. She paused for a moment and said again, “What do you think huh! You are making fun of me, right from the moment I entered, by telling me stupid things, are you a nut, I know guys like you who think they are smart and with their talks fool girls, listen dude, girls aren’t that stupid like you think, so just shut your mouth and mind your own business” Then she mocked me with what I said earlier, with some added effects and facial expressions and that mocking tone and said, “Ooooooo! I was a girl before my sex change operation”.
That was the moment when some of the passengers went past us and they were all staring at her in disgust when they heard what she just said, obviously unaware why she said, but they wouldn’t know and the damage was already done. They all hurried their way back to their seats and by looking I could say, they all now had a topic of discussion for the journey.
She looked at me boiling with rage as to what just happened, I couldn’t help myself and burst out laughing….. And I just kept laughing for almost a minute. She was livid with anger now and wanted to kill me then and there, that is when she calmed herself as the TTE arrived, She stood up from her seat and asked the TTE, “Excuse me sir, could you allot me another seat or better let me exchange my seat with somebody else, please?”
“May I know the reason madam?” the TTE looked puzzled.
“Actually this seat here is a little too dusty, and I am allergic to dust, so…” She was looking for some excuse, and was surprised she came up with this one and my suddenly broke into another spell of laughter. That was when the TTE realized something was wrong. He said, “Is anyone troubling you madam?” The TTE was perhaps hinting at me, and I could get in real danger if she said yes, no matter I did anything wrong or not. In public places girls in any situation have an upper hand, at that moment she teasingly looked at me as if she had a control in that situation as if her one nod could get me to crying quite contrary to what I was doing moments ago and that was laughing. Suddenly my laughs died, The TTE sensed it, but the girl did not say anything as if she wanted to still maintain her impact. It just made her case stronger and the TTE while he did not say anything to me stared at me angrily and I instantly knew that I am now officially on his watch list for the rest of the journey. So I better be extra careful now. The TTE helped the girl to some other compartment and allotted her a replacement seat. She quietly settled there and must have heaved a sigh of relief. I got down from the train and checked the reservation chart and I realized her name was Anvesha Kaul (Name changed) F 21, So basically she was a year older to me, well that is no problem. I started to take a tour of the train to check which compartment was she now in. I suddenly came upon her she was two coaches away in the S7 coach. She did not notice me, as i was standing in a way she couldn’t find out, I was near the door. She had found herself another passage seat, I saw the TTE talking to an old woman in that same compartment. I sensed something was wrong. Then I saw a bunch of boys entering the train and taking their seats which were besides the passage seats where Anvesha was, she got a little more uncomfortable. She found the guys looking at her, smiling and probably laughing and discussing about her, I was waiting her to react, that is when I heard the siren, the train wa about to leave the station, I thought of getting back to my seat.
As I came back, I found another person was now already on the seat which was Anvesha’s seat before. It was a woman probably in her late thirties, but had maintained herself, looked like she was married, and wore a simple short kurti with jeans. It complimented her as she was not like those usual fatty aunties her age. She looked matured and smart as well, she sort of reminded me of my mom. But I did not have any issues, I went there and took my seat, and I do mean my seat, this time I did not want to sound stupid to someone who seemed a bit wise. I quietly sat there, and she asked me with a smile, “Student?” I smiled and answered back, “Yes, actually I study here in Mumbai, am going for a college festival in Chennai, and you auntyji?” She was very nice and told that she was visiting her parents in chennai for a family function, as she had married recently. We were in the middle of our conversation and I completely forgot about Anvesha. It must be an hour exactly the train started running, I heard a luggage thud, and moments later I found the TTE standing near our seat, aunty was surprised, the TTE began, “I am sorry madam I told you to trade places with that girl, but somehow this girl wants her seat back, I am really sorry for the inconvenience, but she was throwing tantrums and even cried, if you won’t mind you may take your original seat and this matter would end here and you won’t be bothered again”. Aunty looked at Anvesha, this time I was ignoring her, but when I heard she was crying, I thought it must be those guys. Aunty was really nice, she smiled and rose up, I offered to help aunty get her luggage to her new destination, in the process collecting my brownie points from the TTE as well, and now claiming the title “Who’s the boss now” from Anvesha whom I thought I would later get back to. Aunty was thankful to me, for helping her with the luggage when I reached there, I saw the boys, there. I really could not blame them as I realized she must have made an issue out of nothing here as well. By the time I returned, Anvesha was settled on her seat, and her tears had dried up and from the look at her face, she looked this cute girl who did not get what she wanted, and was sitting there looking down at the ground.
I realized she has had a tough time in this journey so far, and I was to blame for ruining it for her, so somewhere I was responsible for those tears. I now saw she was sitting on my seat and kept her seat vacant for me, as if she had given up and this could be really worse than what I thought. She did not look at me when I arrived. I tried to speak but she was looking out of the window, that is when I said, “More of a void, but never employed”. Loud enough for anyone close by to listen. She turned to face me, and eyed me as if to know why did I say that?
I gauged from her expressions that she now wanted to listen what I had to say, but only if it is relating with those words I said, because at this moment she was in no mood for any shit. I said, “You are running away from something aren’t you?” She looked at me in disbelief as the words struck her ears. She was in loss of words, she looked away, and then back to me. I said, “At least you are lucky, you never had to deal with what I dealt, you would slap me when I tell you this or even puke on me, or may actually start believing in fantasies if I tell you this”. I saw her turning shades of curious to what I had to say now, she listened to me keenly, she suddeny wanted to hear.
(To be continued…….)