The Evening Journey – Abhi Jain

 Theme: Like a Moth to a Flame…
“ sometimes you say too much with your eyes
Sometimes your heart says too much
But why did you never realize
That just your essence is not enough”
Never did I expect, Never did I think that life will shuffle through the pages when the chapter looked as if it will never end. A new chapter , a new lease of life , everything without a known explanation.
I had started taking coaching classes to prepare for my MBA entrance exam. The metro seemed the best transport to and fro the coaching centre as I had chosen the time slot of late evening for the classes.
I went to the martyr road metro station at around 8 in the evening to board the metro.The station was deserted and the same held true for the vicinity. It was a quiet place , not many residents, a small market to cater to the daily needs and a lot of green cover around. Something I preferred as my neighborhood. I took the ticket and went to the platform and waited for my train. I might have stood for a good 5 minutes before my eyes got a glimpse of a girl sitting on the far away bench. She sat quietly looking in the opposite direction . Her simplicity in clothes and the long ear rings caught my attention. Somehow I don’t know why but I felt a bit attracted to her. I waited for the train but it just didn’t seem to come that evening. After waiting for 10 minutes I thought of enquiring someone about the train, finding no one except her I approached her and said
“ Excuse me, ummm do you know at what time will the train for Kingston road arrive?”
She slowly lifted hey eyebrows and the minute I saw her deep blue eyes I felt as if I was blinded, blinded by beauty, blinded by something so innocent that the moment you look at it you think of sheltering it under your arms so that nothing could hurt it. I took a step back out of instinctive reflex . she didn’t say anything but we stared into each other’s eyes for a good 2-3 minutes. Then suddenly she got up and started to move. I had lost interest in the surroundings and was just looking at her. She stepped on the train and then I realized that there was actually a train standing, something for which I had been waiting impatiently for the last few minutes. The bell rang and the train started to move , I was still looking at her hoping she would turn and give me the one last glimpse of her . She didn’t and then I shouted
“ At least tell me when the next train will come?”
She turned looked at me and smiled and then I saw her disappear with the train into darkness.
The next evening I tried to reach the station on the same time as that of the earlier evening hoping that I might probably bump into her again.I rushed to the platform and saw her sitting on the bench reading a book. I went near her , sat next to her and said
“ you didn’t even tell me your name”
She didn’t reply. I continued my the one sided conversation
“ is the train always this late?”
She looked at me with a raised eyebrow and then turned her head towards me and said
“shhhh”
and ya I got that crystal clear . So I sat there quietly and looked away , my eyes searching something in the dense forest across the tracks.
Then suddenly she grabbed me by my hand and tried to pull me off my seat. I knew she doesn’t have that much strength so I got up myself and then she dragged me to the corner of the station, I followed. We both were standing on those grass fields when she pointed her finger upwards. I searched through the sky trying to find out what specifically she was pointing to? And then my eyes found what she wanted me to see, the moon. It looked different , It looked deep, deeper than any other time , there was something special about it or maybe the evening was special, and then I turned my eyes to see her , she was still staring at the moon as if it was the most beautiful thing there that night but I wanted to rebel as I had found my most beautiful thing and it was her. I kept on staring at her and then after a few minutes I whispered in her ears
“ you are the most beautiful girl I have ever met”
She took a step back as if her mind cautioned her of something , she was numb for a second and then she smiled. That moment glorified a million times with her smile but as then all good things come to an end and so had to be the case with this one also , the train whistled , I turned around to see the train and before I could even realize , she had boarded the train . She was standing at the doorway when the train started moving , ahs didn’t say anything but I think I did read something from her eyes , as if she was asking me
“ will you be there , forever?”
and I couldn’t even think before my heart said
“yes”
Next evening I arrived on the same time and I had got a flower for her and I don’t know why but all that I was thinking was her smile. It was flashing in front of my eyes again and again and as soon as I went inside the platform I couldn’t find her , she wasn’t there. I waited , hoping that she might have been late but she didn’t turn up that evening.
For the next one week I went on the same time to the station but I never found her again there as if she had stopped existing. It was then I realized I couldn’t even contact her or search for her as I never asked nor did she tell where she lived. I thought maybe what I was thinking it wasn’t like that . Maybe she was just a stranger who met once and now she has gone back to her world but for some strange reason my heart didn’t want to believe that . It longed for her , for those 15 minutes spent with her, for her smile , for her innocent eyes and all of this made me angry , made me to drop a tear . My heart was shouting
“UNFAIR, THIS IS UNFAIR”
I went to the station as I was getting really late for the class , so I just ran , I hoped that the train arrives on time and as soon as I entered the station I saw something I wasn’t ready to believe . I saw her. She was sitting on the bench right in front of me. I turned to her , she smiled but that evening her smile couldn’t melt my heart. I lashed at her
“ where have you been? , I have been coming here for 10 days before my usual time hoping to see you, to meet you just to realize you aren’t there . I have waited for hours hoping to catch you , missed my classes just to not miss any chance of missing you but you just didn’t turn up “
She heard all of this and then innocently held both her ears with her hands and said
sorry mutedly . But that wasn’t enough , it wasn’t enough for my angry mind and heart. I just turned away and walked off leaving her standing there alone. A sorry couldn’t suffice .
I stayed home for the next 2-3 days , maybe it worked as a tonic for my anger which helped it settle down. I realized that I should have first asked her for some reasons before being that mad at her as I was but temper has always got the better of me. I decided to go to the station hoping to see her there so that I could again talk to her , know about her reasons and apologise for my behaviour. I went inside the station and looked around to see if she was there , I wasn’t able to find her and then someone said something from behind . I turned to see an old man with a beard . he said again
“ Looking for Aanya?”
I seemed perplexed at that question . The old man continued
“ The girl who you met and for whom you wait every evening”
I was certainly surprised upon hearing all the details from a complete stranger but what kept my mind thinking was that I didn’t even know her name , Aanya , Aanya she was.
And the old man continued
“ she was a very simple and a sweet girl . Loved spending time with kids at the orphanage near the station and so she used to come everyday to meet them and used to board the train back . She didn’t speak much as she was mute”
And as soon as I heard that she couldn’t speak I was shocked as if my jaw has dropped dead . I never realized that she couldn’t speak because all this time she communicated through her eyes , she never made me feel that there was a need of words between us .
“ and you know why did she board this train? To go back to her room , her room in the hospital where she was admitted as she had cancer. She wanted to spend sometime with the kids in her last days and that’s why doctors allowed her and then one day she met you , she used to tell me about you fondly about you , I could see how madly she liked you she was attracted to you lie a moth to a flame even after knowing that nothing will ever last , that you and her can’t be together , that maybe by loving you she was aggravating her hurt to death but then it was meant to be that way, it went that way. She didn’t turn up for a few days because she underwent her final operation , the last try but it was unsuccessful. Doctors advised her to stay back in the hospital in her last few days but she wanted to see you one last time , tell you everything , spent that one last evening with you , love you for the last time in her life and so she came but your anger , your wrath didn’t let her fulfill her last wish , the only wish in her life . Your anger made it a painful ending to her life , an ending in grief .”
You must be thinking how do I know all this , because I am her father and this was what she wanted to give you that night when you left her all alone “
I was already in tears and then the old man handing me a parchment of paper and as soon as I read that I fell on my knees , it read
“ Sometimes you say too much with your eyes
Sometimes your heart says too much
But I am sorry as I could never tell you
That I won’t be around long enough”