The other day in Delhi Metro - 3

By virtue of their operational plans, the DMRC or Delhi Metro Rail Corporation people make sure that the metro trains are always full. They increase time interval between trains or decrease coaches in trains so that even during off hours you get the feel of tightly filled metro train.

On one such journey which was a long route from Gurgaon on yellow line to GTB Nagar on the same line I saw her. Of course I recognized her. Though I had been standing on the platform since some time, I can swear I never saw her there.It was only when the jostling crowd was swallowing us in the very packed coach I saw her. Would it have made any difference if I had seen her before? Well it had been four years since we last spoke. Or was it five? Distant time seems so abstract so lost.

My first reaction would have been to scurry away. But the train was packed and the way to the next coach was where she was standing. I looked the other way and was suddenly conscious of two eyes following me. So, she had seen me. After a wave of consciousness, guilt crept up to me. There were probably two people in between us. Should I call out to her? If she calls me out, what would I say? Questions plagued my mind like mosquitoes swarming a water tank.  I impatiently turned my wrist to see the time. It would take me more than sixty minutes to complete the journey. I was tempted to call her out to ask where she was heading to. Not for curiosity but relief.
    At the next station more people got on the train and she was pushed back. Its a common thing in crowded places to be pushed around but that look on her face. My heart pinched at seeing her eyes terrified, her long straight nose twitched. I mean the protective instinct still remains even if all is lost. Doesn't it? I recalled at that time those moments of travelling on metro together. How she would hold my wrist in crowds. It was a tell tale sign that she was nervous.

I wanted to hide, run, sprint, jump out of the train but couldn't do anything. Not even when her eyes met mine and pierced them in an accusing way. I simply couldn't move.

Tushar Mangl


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