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This is a true story.

The boy boarded the train at 2:30 pm. A warm December afternoon. Bidding a final goodbye to his uncle who had escorted him to the station, he settled on the berth. He looked around in the compartment. A few people were sitting there, all quiet. Among other people, there was the girl. She was dozing off, a blanket covering her legs, baring one feet. The boy looked at her and then around the compartment. Unlike others, she was dressed quite smartly and it seemed improbable that any one was escorting her. She was travelling alone. She was asleep.

The train was chugging along. He noticed a newspaper lying on the berth beside her. He didn’t pick it up. After some time, she opened her eyes just for a moment, as if to inspect the people sitting around her. He sensed a nice opportunity and asked her for the newspaper.

“Ya, sure.”

She shut her eyes again. Having read a few pages, he too felt sleepy. He folded the newspaper neatly and placed it beside the girl. He tried sleeping but in vain. After some time, he gave up. Most of the people were now asleeep, so he felt bored. The girl finally woke up. He thought of starting a conversation.

“To Chennai?”

“No, I have to go to Bangalore.”


He had finally broken the ice. The conversation was a soothing one because the journey was very long and the route was too dry. The girl hailed from a place somewhere in his neighboring state and attended a medical college in Banagalore. She talked endlessly about her college and her friends. It seemed she had known the boy since eternity. The boy too was delighted at this.

“I am in my second year but it seems like ages. I still regret the day I thought of going for medical!”

“Don’t presume that engineering is a piece of cake!”

“I know yaar. Still I can’t get along with medicine. You know, all my siblings are pursuing engineering, and I am stuck here.” She laughed as she said so.

“So sad for you! How’s life there? Were you ragged too?”

“Yes, ragging is inevitable, you will agree to that! But it was all very peaceful. They tried to scare us with skulls and all. Hey, do you know what one of my seniors did? He took a skull, put an electric bulb inside, and decorated it in colourful clothes! That was meant to scare us, will you believe that?”

“Very funny!”

“What about you? Ragging in engineering colleges is severe, I’ve heard.”

“Well, do you remember Munnabhai? That was something I faced. “


And they talked and talked. After few hours, they realised that they didn’t know each other’s names. He asked for her name.

“That sounds Bengali. Is it?”

“Yes. What is your name?” She sked.

He told her his name.

“A Bengali name. But you are not Bengali, I suppose?”


“Then what are you?”

“You mean caste?”

“No! Why caste? I mean your origins. Which place? From where did caste come into picture?” She was laughing again.

He told her about his college and friends and narrated some very funny incidents of his college life, which made her chuckle. She talked about her professors, some very boring ones and some highly intellectual ones. She said one of her professors had answer to every damn question they ask and they aptly named him “Google Search!”

When a pantry fellow came with tea, he offered her one, which she gladly accepted. Next time, she offered him a cup of coffee. It was all very friendly.

The train stopped at a station at around 7 in the evening. A bookstall was present just next to their window. She was gazing intently on a Femina. He asked her if she wanted it. She was wavering. He got up to fetch the magazine for her. She asked him not to bother, but he alighted on the platform. She paid the vendor through the window. He also bought some mint for himself.
The train resumed its journey. The next day was 1st of January. He wished her for a happy year and she reciprocated his greetings. He offered her the mint whenever he had one. So much that she remarked, “You have literally given me the half of what you bought!”

She said how the boys of her class had the untidiest of rooms and how the girls have the cleanest. “It’s a universal phenomena” he answered.

She taled about her interest in palmistry and he told her about his friend who had similar interest.

They talked about endless things. She had to alight at Chennai from where she had a connecting train after a couple of hours. “Wake me up tomorrow, else I am sure to miss Chennai.”
“Don’t worry.” He assured her.

Next moring he asked her to get up. She didn’t. She was fast asleep. She touched her gently, for the first time, on the elbow and told her that Chennai was appraoching. She then got up.
Both of them got down at around 3:30 am at Chennai station. Both bid goodbyes to each other, and he said it was nice meeting her, offering for a handshake. She shook hands with him, remarking that it was indeed a pleasure to share his company.

This was a true story.

In case you didn’t notice, he didn’t ask for her cell number. He didn’t unnecessarily shake hands at every silly thing. He didn’t plead for future contact. Some relationships, some friendships are born instantly and you never see that friend again after few days. Yet, you relish the friendship. He understood that.

This is not a deliberate attempt to defend the male sex. But this is just a humble request to girls that “boys” need not be considered as “lustful” or “despo” or “uncomfortable to be with.” I came across many girls who considered that boys always stare at them, harass them mentally and are responsible for a feeling of insecurity and lack of confiddence in them. But not all boys are like that. What I mean is that girls are right in employing protective means when facing or dealing with strangers, but they should have a feeling of trust towards friends. It really hurts when you talk to some childhood friend and feel a distantness in her manners. It hurts if she doesn’t agree when you say that you will drop her to her house.

To all girls reading this, I request to be “friendly” to your friends, and to all boys reading this, I request to give the girls reasons to be very friendly. Friendship is a wonderful feeling and must be cherished in every sphere.

  1. amrit
    May 10, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Eh dude, you could have asked for the phone no. man! 😛

  2. Moli
    May 10, 2007 at 4:41 pm


  3. m.flowerr
    May 11, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Galz…….eh….Food for Thought!!

  4. bhale
    May 25, 2007 at 2:54 am

    Some similar situation shown in Mr. & Mrs. Iyer, with a mix of communal masala… I wonder why you have not disclosed the identity of the two characters !

  5. themiddler
    May 30, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Very well written, captured the Indian Railways feel very well.

    How come I have never sat in a compartment with a lone young female!!! I am sure there is an algorithm which prevents this… hmph!

  6. N
    June 2, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    A post that effortlessly brings about a smile. Nice.

  7. aniket Pangarkar
    July 12, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Well written man,
    what you said is true..
    sometimes,it’s best to leave those moments as they are,sweet memories; and not forcefully stretch them into the present.
    keep writing..

  8. shruti
    November 3, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    too good..touches ur heart somewhere..and may the tribe of such guys (as mentioned here) increase 🙂

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