She was travelling alone, lying down on the side-berth in the train, with only a book and an iPod for company. Although the compartment was flooded with noises, she was almost oblivious to all of it and was silently gazing outside. It was raining. She could not take her eyes off the sheet of droplets on the window. She was fiddling with her phone, and her journal was somewhere deep down in her bag. “Ah, it’s too much work to bring it up here”, she thought to herself and pulled the blanket over herself. She tuned in to her favourite song(s). Song 1, she sighed. Song 2, she smiled. Song 3, she cried. Song 4, she shied away. Song 5, she wished she could hide. Song 6, she aspired. Song 7, she felt hypnotized. Song 8, to change the tempo she tried. By song 9, she had caught someone’s eye. By Song 10, she was high, and it was midnight.
Watching her was a young man lying on the upper berth. His life was so boring that he just could not help witnessing the multicoloured moods on that face. There was something extremely magical about the night, he thought. He just wanted to go on watching her. Thank God for the dim lights, or else I’d have made her want to bury herself somewhere, he thought to himself. He was looking at her. He noticed that she seemed pretty much in control, except that she failed miserably at controlling her feet. She’s probably waltzing with someone right now as she smiles while listening to this one, he thought. The way she’s tapping has changed, so it’s a new song. She looks like she wants to hit the dance floor. If only this wasn’t a train compartment, and if only everyone wasn’t sleeping. He found himself wanting to make her whimsical mind find the ground, because he found himself making a wish on a star that was right in front of his eyes. Whoever did what to her that is compelling her to take refuge inside the blanket now? He felt his own heart breaking into pieces too. He looked at the look in her eyes, and immediately wished he had sourced that otherworldly look.
She gets excited and happy when the tempo changes, he observed. Oh look at her, I hope she does not betray the onlookers by not performing to the tune. I wish I could tell her how amazing she looks right now, not knowing that she’s won an admirer (and if I continue to stare shamelessly, she might win an unrequited, secret lover). I wish I could tell her she’s my celebrity tonight, and this berth has become her stage. I wish I could listen to her voice, which remains a mystery underneath those muted lyrics which find their expression through her lip-syncing. Oh, she just made a beautiful albeit messy plait, but she still manages to look so pretty. Ah, she’s making it all the more difficult for me to take my eyes off her. Sigh. What?? Did I just SIGH? Time to make another wish. Let me hope she is not in love with anything other than these superb pieces of music, which totally transform her. I am in love with her fingers, which take a twist to create the clicks loud enough to disturb a not-so-sound-sleeper. But she looks like a rockstar when she’s carefree, doesn’t she? And her fingers and feet seem to be tapping off their own accord. Her body seems to adapt to every rhythm. So it would be nothing short of a crime to ask her to stop. I wish I could get inside her iPod, and more than that, I wish I could plant my face inside her head, synchronizing it with the song she has preserved in the deep reserves of her eternal choices. My eyes shall do the talking if the lights were to be switched on. She looked up at that moment, and his heart skipped a beat. He closed his eyes quickly, and then she was back on track.
He was counting hours and minutes because he did not want the journey to end. In these few moments, he had experienced so many emotions that he found himself competing with the gestures of the object of his newfound affection. This journey is not going to last, but these moments definitely will, he told himself. I wonder if this is what they all meant by ‘love at first sight’. I have made fun of it all these years, and now I believe I would do just about anything to make time come to a standstill. Maybe that’s my punishment for not believing in it. Or maybe it’s a wake-up call, or maybe it’s a new door that has opened. She’s a ‘Hello’ away. And this might well be my favourite ‘hello’. Her smile would make it indelible. And that’s what scares me, because I might not be able to get over it. The world suddenly does not seem such a small place, for I might never be able to get over the girl who will make me sigh each time she would tap her feet in some part of this world..and she’ll then become my hardest ‘Goodbye’..