It was getting dark and the breeze had started to turn nippy. The train had just left the Delhi Cantt. Station. It was soothing to feel the hushed breeze striking the face as Pranav leaned against the window. They seemed to die out all the tiredness and distress that he had taken upon him in the past few days that he spent in Delhi. He saw the number of Army vehicles and tanks resting upon the train beside his. He was giving his mind numerous shifts in order to recover from the eerie feeling.
He was low for he had little hope from the couple of interviews that he had given in Delhi in these days. After completing his MBA in Finance from a private college in Jaipur, he was looking for a job for the last two months. He had got a job offer in an automotive company but they were paying him way too less. Consequently, he had moved to giving walk-in-interviews of different companies. The two interviews that he appeared for were far from good.
It was seven o’clock when Pranav checked the time. “Seven more hours to go,” he said to himself, feeling murk.
Ajmer was where he had to go, his hometown. Although he was depressed, thinking about going back to home brought bit of merriment in him. It used to, every time he was coming back to home. He had left home soon after he completed his 12th, giving himself five years experience of staying out. Although Jaipur, where he did both BBA and MBA was two hours drive away from Ajmer, he was well acquainted with the feeling of staying away from home. The train took a halt and the noise of incoming passengers interrupted his thoughts. The train had reached Rewari junction and was turning crowded. The train was pretty vacant till then and he had managed to get a window seat in a general compartment only because he had reached the Delhi Sarai Rohilla two hours before the train departed.
He saw a man carrying couple of bags and guiding his family in haste to take seats. Just then, he caught hold of a girl in cream colour salwar kameez, perfectly matching her milky white complexion. Her head was covered with a white dupatta. He guessed she was the daughter of the man. She couldn’t figure out where his dad was asking her to sit as there wasn’t a vacant seat. Soon, she moved up and sat where luggage are supposed to be kept. Pranav could see that she didn’t at all feel good while doing that. He could sense her discomfort when she found that all eyes were following her, the moment she adjusted herself on the upper seat. Pranav’s eyes were included too, though for a different reason.
In no time, he got aware that she had a family of four including her. In few time, Pranav found that he was staring at her every now and then. She looked beautiful when she smiled at times while talking to her sister. With her sitting up in front of him, Pranav got a fair chance to look at her every time he wished to. Soon, Pranav found while constantly gazing at her that she too was observing him. She was aware of what he had been doing. In some time, she glanced at him more frequently while Pranav didn’t take his eyes off her even for a second. In some more time, their eyes were sticking to each other and had already done the talking. It looked as if the train had only two people, too busy between themselves to look for the worldly activities around them. The hours seemed to pass by in a flash. All at once Pranav realized that the train came to halt. It was Ringas junction. He had not much time to think.
“Girl won’t make the start. It has to be done by the boy,” Pranav said to himself.
They had got up to leave. She turned around now and again. May be she was expecting him to approach her. May be she was expecting him to stop her and talk to her. May be she wanted him to make her believe that yes, it was a love, an unvoiced first love. All he could was to stare her without even blinking. Pranav shifted himself more and almost stuck himself to the window seat. He wanted to see her one more time, probably for the last time. He saw her. How restless, Pranav observed, she was to get a glimpse of him, exactly the way he too was. With Pranav’s eyes still adoring the beauty, the girl’s eyes got what they were searching for. She turned shy when her restlessness was caught naked. She turned back in a blaze. She must be moving away, Pranav reasoned, with heavy steps and a heavier heart. She looked back every now and then while she was forcing her steps ahead, away from Pranav. He didn’t do anything, didn’t even bid the final bye. She looked sad, sad because she had expected much from him. Pranav knew she must be thinking that he was a coward. She must be thinking that all he did was to let the time pass by. May be she would never again trust someone in his position. Pranav didn’t care. It was not easy doing that.
He could step down from the train any moment and go running to her. He could tell her everything he had been thinking for the past five hours. Pranav could, but didn’t as he had reasons in aid of his decision.
“Had I said all this to her, what would have been her reaction?” Pranav reasoned. “In case I am lucky and she didn’t slap me then what next?” he questioned himself. “What about her parents?”
“What if she smiles and says that she too feels the same for me but still moves ahead with her parents?” He shall have to get back and wait for hours for the next train. It may take next morning to get him one. What reason could he give to his parents for being late? Just because he stepped down for a girl who ignored him with a smile. “In a rare case, what if she agrees to spend her life with me and holds my shoulder?”
“Will I be able to do justice to her life while I am unsure if I can establish my own?”
“What am I supposed to say to my parents about the girl beside me?”
“Is she the one whom I am going to spend my entire life with?”
“Did it take only a seven hours journey in a general compartment for me to arrive at this decision?”
Had he changed his decision, there would have been numerous uncertainties in Pranav’s life. His life already had plenty of them. He could not dare to add more. He chose a safe option. The train had left behind the Ringas junction. Pranav’s life was back again to the very track.
May be he will think about the incident and the girl for a couple of days or a week or maximum a fortnight and after that he will be hit upon by more issues of life. He will be running once again to different cities for the interviews.
And some day, when he’ll pass through the Ringas junction, he will remember the incident. He will relive those seven hours again and again which will bring a longing smile on his face and he would say to himself, “What if unvoiced, it is also a love story.”