Saturday, October 08, 2005

At the railway station - Lila

He had boarded the train with four other companions. The din of the railway station had started boring him nowadays. Looking around, he saw people of all kinds with one thing in common – the dust and grime of the railway station. He remembered the time when he was fascinated by crowds especially on a railway station. So many people, each one with so many thoughts and ideas, would it be possible to look into the minds of all these people, know their thoughts…thus he would muse often. And now, having thought of the same thing over and over again, he had got exasperated and was daydreaming about his past daydreams.

“Coffee!” he yelled out. The man carrying a huge container of coffee came rushing to him. “One cup,” he said. While he was searching for a five rupee coin, the man quickly handed him a cup of coffee and was ready to sprint to the next customer. The coffee soothed his dry throat. ‘Perhaps I am about to catch a throat infection. Better drink some coffee to prevent it,’ he thought. He looked out of the window and could see an amalgamation of floating colors. The rush was so terrible that he did not want to distinguish the people it comprised of. He preferred to imagine a “bird’s eye view” and just observe the illusion of colors rushing to and fro. Suddenly he felt a torrent of grey and brown and green almost overwhelming him. Something else also perturbed him – noise. It was more irritating than the din of the mob. It was someone, rather a group of three or more people talking near him.

He shook himself mentally and focussed to perceive what was happening. Just on the other side of his window, on the platform, stood an elderly couple. His hair was grey and her sari was green. He turned and saw a man of about forty sitting in front of him with his glorious paunch celebrating his existence. The man with his paunch was verily the embodiment of feast and gaiety. His thoughts were now interrupted by simultaneous invasions of a sweet-smelling perfume and feminine chattering. On his left, was a girl who was bending to look out of the window to talk to the elderly couple.

‘She is so engrossed in her talks that it appears that she hasn’t even seen me. My presence is obviously a hindrance to her conversation. I have to get up but I don’t want to. I like her smell! And it’s not daily that I have the opportunity to sit beside a sweet smelling female!’ He quickly made the chivalrous decision. He looked at her and made some movements in order to get up. She looked at him without any expression. ‘Maybe that’s an expression which signifies a little bit of irritation and a little bit of worry. After all the biological self is the first to react. An unknown male moving in the direction of a female is bound to inspire biological apprehension and fear!’

“Please sit comfortably and talk,” he said to her and moved to sit beside that epitome of mirth. Her expression changed in an instant. She smiled at him and quickly resumed talking to the elderly couple. Her smile instantly changed his mood. ‘Wow. I hope this girl travels with us,’ he felt delighted at the prospect of spending the next two days traveling with this sweet smelling creature. He began to observe her carefully and was ecstatic at being engaged in his favorite pastime. She was thin, very thin indeed. ‘I guessed she considers her emaciated self slim!! These girls are too much.’ She was his age or probably older. She spoke Tamil fluently and indeed buoyantly. She appeared to be a bubbly creature with a body capable of withstanding the gymnastics of her exuberance. Her face was pleasing, not really beautiful. But all of a sudden, an ornate smile displayed a lovely set of teeth and made her immensely beautiful. ‘Oh! Come on. Nowadays I have started finding excuses to make every girl beautiful!’ She had a large forehead which made her look old as well as wise. ‘Her eyes! Yes, that’s why she appears so beautiful. Her eyes sparkle when she smiles and gives her a divine beauty!’ Her thin eyebrows and extremely thin lips accentuated her feminity but when one looked at her below her face, it seemed to accentuate her rather gaunt features. Her nose was sharp and small.

He immediately felt a dichotomy in her being. There was something of a contradiction between the face and the rest of her body. He wasn’t fully aware of what it was. He realized it only days later. Her body radiated vibes of spirituality. The thinness of it reminded him of yogis of ancient India!! Her sweet smell further added to an ethereal, mystic aura about her. Her broad forehead seemed to be fighting this spirituality, trying hard to come out of its grips into the mundane world - a world where a woman had to be beautiful to succeed if she didn’t have any other talent or skill. The battle lines seemed to have been drawn at her chin which was small and pointed and from which seemed to emerge her lower spiritual body. The face had been able to resist till this chin and not beyond that – the broad forehead and the small, strained chin gave this appearance. Of course, he just had a vague notion of all this. He was able to articulate it better much later.



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Wed Aug 01, 10:15:00 AM 2012  

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