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The One With The Girl

By Ameya Lonkar

The familiar feeling was rushing back. I was returning to university after a short stay at home. I was sad and happy at the same time; you know the feeling when you want to be with your family and friends at the same time. Anyhow I was sitting in train and bound for college.  

Excuse me?” 

 
My thoughts were interrupted by these words, these words said in an insanely sweet voice. I looked upwards. Whoa!! Remember the times when you are traveling alone and wish that the seat next to you should belong to a beautiful girl (now, if you are a girl and wishing for same thing that would be awkward). See just thinking about that time makes your heart skip a beat. Imagine what I must have felt like. Yes, that is right it felt heavenly!! Prayers do get answered. While I continued to stare at her like a bewildered buffoon, she pointed across the seat towards my luggage. I urgently moved across and forced it under the seat banging my head in process of getting up. A playful smile flickered on her lips and she moved across to take her seat. I sat in mine. 

I gave her a curt nod and she reciprocated it with that lovely smile of hers. After that we sat there next to each other for a few minutes without further conversation. The train started to pull away from the station. For a while I immersed myself in the clickety click of rail, glancing in between to see her. I saw she had her ear buds plugged in and apparently was enjoying her music. After a while I got bored listening to wheels running on rails. I so wanted to talk to her but could not muster enough courage. What if she sweeps me away? That would really hurt, definitely. So I kept my share of silence cursing myself all the while. Why do I have such an impaired set of social skills? Hell!!! 

Realizing that I would not have the nerve to break the ice, I fired the most potent weapon in my repertoire - going back into the shell. I started reading the novel which I had issued from the insti library. I had just completed two pages, thinking more about her than the story in the novel. My mind was berserk, thinking if we two ended up having even a small “thing” how great a story it would be to tell to my grandkids. Alas, the grandkids would never get to hear it because their poppy was too big a pussy even to talk to a girl (afraid to talk to a girl and dreaming about grandkids! Way to go soldier). But maybe He wanted to tell me the story to my grandkids. As I sat there absorbed in the “book” I heard the same sweet voice which was stamped on my mind. 

Excuse me; do you know when the T.T.E would come? I have a waiting list ticket; I wanted to see if he could adjust me somewhere.” 
“Well, take my seat.” I almost blurted out! 
Anyways what do I need a seat for when I can watch you go to sleep? Get a hold man, I instructed myself. She is just a girl. Yes but a beautiful girl. Breaking out of my mental monologue I got a grip on my tongue and I said 
I’ll let you know if I see him, and you have a very small waiting list number he’ll definitely adjust you.” 

Hearing this she seemed calmed and with the touch of anxiety gone (which I did not notice earlier) she looked prettier. The ice was broken and sensing the opportunity I decided to go all or nothing. What if she sweeps me away, would that be really that bad, who knows maybe she’ll find me attractive too. The thought gave a boost in self-confidence I started with the safest conversation opener in travel 
"Where are you heading?” 
Hyderabad” she said. 
Oh that is great, that's where I am headed too!” I replied. 

After a bit of chit chat about the insane time at which train reaches “our” destination we were running out of topics. So I asked her 
What college you studying in?” 
A smile on her lips she said 
"Actually I work in Hyderabad, just graduated this year.” 
Hearing the last bit I relaxed a little. I’m in my final year and she has just graduated, so there’s not much of a difference there. 

So what college are you in?” she asked. 
I replied "SITB” with a hint of pride in my voice. 
No wonder you got there you look so nerdy” was I think she said, 
but it just felt someone had slashed a dagger through my heart. I do not know whether she meant it as a genuine compliment or she meant to make me feel what I felt. I blame the motion picture industries around the globe for this particular plight of mine, for stereotyping people with more than average (oh who am I kidding I am an effing genius) as weird, robotic spectacled individuals (none of which is true by the way except for spectacled and I guess weird and a bit robo… but that is not the point here). 

We were chatting when T.T.E came in and asked us for tickets. I handed over mine. When he turned to her, she started explaining her problem to him. While she was talking he kept flipping through the reservation charts, probably looking for a vacant seat to adjust her. After having found one in the chart he said 
Pay 300/- as fine and sit in S-3 24”. 

Did he just say S-3 24? This is “the” seat where she is sitting now. Wow, He is really merciful on me today. The T.T.E left and after a while I casually happened to look at her ticket. It said W/L-10. I thought that is weird, usually W/L 10 gets cleared by the time you board the train. Therefore I asked her 
Did you ticket not get cleared?” 
I got W/L 10” she said. 
Yeah, but that was while reserving the ticket. Did you not check the chart while boarding the train?” 

Apparently she had no idea any such chart existed, and I bet her name was on that chart. I think the T.T.E made the easiest 300 bucks of his life. I recaptured all that happened. Sorry lady, you may be the most beautiful but you simply cannot be this dumb. Cutting short the conversation I hopped onto my berth and went to Sleepville because I still had to wake up at four in the morning to be able to get down at my destination. 

Auf wiedersehen und gute Nacht meine liebe Dame.

 

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