After missing the train to celebrate Diwali with his family, the guy decided to travel by road. With a dreadful experience of his last bus journey, he was hoping for a better one this time. The events that unfolded during this journey made it worth remembering. Come aboard and travel with him to enjoy the bumpy ride.
Only a fewer things are better in this world than a last minute morning sleep, a gentle breeze on a hot summer day and the feeling of finding the right person. I was going home to celebrate Diwali with my family. An alarm was put in place to wake me up at 5 AM. The direct train to my hometown was scheduled to leave at 06:30 AM from NJP.
The alarm went off at 5 and with one eye opened I switched it off after verifying the time. An innocent voice from inside told me that another 10 minutes of sleep won’t do much harm. I will still be able to reach the station on time. Also, given the fact that trains around here are never on time, it made much more sense. Not to my surprise, I listened to that evil voice and the next time I opened my eyes, the clock showed 7:10. I almost jumped from my bed as if someone gave me a shock therapy without even tying me up. The reputation of Indian railways gave me a little hope and I checked the running status of the train. Turned out that the train was only 10 minutes late today and had left half an hour ago. Miffed by the fact that I had missed my train, I slept for another hour.
The journey was about 7-8 hours long and I decided to travel by road. My last road journey in this route was not at all pleasant. There was lots of slow moving traffic till we left the city. There was also an accident and the angry mob had tried and almost succeeded in burning the bus. I don’t really understand what were they trying to accomplish by doing so but one thing was for sure, they looked angry even if most of them didn’t care or know anything about the victim. I guess we all need an excuse to let off the steam somehow, somewhere.
I was expecting a better journey this time around. It took us two hours to get through the city traffic and reach the highway. Once we were on highway everything was smooth. The gushing wind that comes with a speeding bus was just perfect to encourage me for another nap. I was dozing off at my window seat in a 3/2 bus. The smaller seats and comparatively bigger passengers pushed me more towards the window where my head rested against the half opened glass. In another one and a half hour, we reached the city of Islampur. Cometh the city, cometh the traffic and we were stuck again. It seemed like another journey I wouldn’t want to remember.
Just when I was making a mental note about not taking a bus home ever again, I was treated to wonder. A girl standing in front of a store about 15 feet away from the bus, probably trying to get away from the scorching sun. She looked absolutely amazing in her deep blue salwar and peacock green kameez. I had never seen blue and green complimenting each other with such perfection. That was the perfect shade of green, neither one shade lighter nor one shade darker, pitch perfect. Her dupatta matched the color of her salwar which had tiny white spots, presumably flower all over it. One end of dupatta covering her head and at the other end, I noticed the edges with little bell like structures which were almost touching the ground. I wasn’t able to take my eyes off her.
I was still lost in my thoughts, thinking about the possibilities if this were an ideal world. My eyes were glued to her face and thankfully we hadn’t made any eye contact till now. I know it sounds weird, me constantly looking at her but I couldn’t help myself. She looked too adorable to look at anything else. If you were there, I’m sure you would have felt the same. She looked a bit restless, probably because of the heat. A hint of tension was only adding to her innocence. Oh, my gracious God… thank you so much. You have compensated for everything.
Despite the blazing sun over us, I didn’t want to move from this place but my bus driver did. The revving of the engine caught her attention. I kept following her eyes, from one window to the next one and then the next one. Have you ever been in a crowd and still lost yourself in something/someone? Have you experienced a level of excitement so high that you could hear your own heartbeat? As her eyes kept passing from one window to other towards me, I felt both at the same time. Her eyes met mine and went right past, all in a flash. The bus engine was ON and was waiting for the traffic in front of it to clear out. I was sure that I would never see her again in my life. All I hoped for was another eye contact and maybe this time I could respond in a better way. Honestly, any response in this world would better my last one, which kind of resembled with Chandler’s camera face. She was back to her normal posture. I was still looking in her direction. The awe in my eyes had been replaced with hope now.
Her head finally turned in my direction. For a half a second she maintained the eye contact and then came the big smile. I smiled back. I couldn’t believe my eyes when she started waving. I swear I never felt this happy ever in my life. I thought it would be rude to not wave back. As soon as I raised my hand to wave, her expressions changed completely. All of a sudden, she stopped waving, gave me a frowned expression and looked away. It didn’t make any sense. Are guys waving back considered something to be frowned upon? What’s the deal here? To clear the confusion, I decided to examine the possible people in her peripheral vision while she smiled and waved. I got up and looked at my back seat. A man of the age of my grandfather had occupied the window seat. No way she waved at him. I looked ahead and that made perfect sense. A cute 3-year-old with a bunny hairband was almost clung to the window. She looked at me and stuck her tongue out at me. I responded with the same gesture and sat back.
Little did I know that she watched the whole thing and understood the confusion. She was laughing hard keeping her head down. It felt too awkward at first and then after realizing the insanity of the situation, I hid my face with both hands and burst into laughter. I soon recovered from the silliness of situation and looked at her from the corner of my eyes. She was still smiling and was trying hard not to laugh. I turned towards her and shrugged my shoulder. She nodded in disagreement, the smile still intact on her face. Traffic was clearing out and the bus started to move slowly. I saw her waving in my direction but this time I was careful. I tilted my head towards the window and peeped at the window ahead of mine. The baby girl was busy with her mother. I then looked back towards her. She was laughing again and gestured that the wave was meant for me this time. Upon the confirmation, I waved back at her with a big smile that I couldn’t control. The bus picked up speed and soon we were out of each other’s sight.
I am not sure what she may have thought about me. I am not sure if she would share this incident with anyone or was this worthy of her remembrance. But In that moment, I was sure that if anyone ever asked me about the girl of my dreams, I would describe her.