This train journey was never expected, let alone welcome. The busy working professional that I have become, travelling by train equals loss of precious time now. Clubbing a weekend plus a chhutti and managing a casual leave makes for a good recipe for a quick trip home. Flying to and fro makes sense. Not so much to my ever-deteriorating bank-balance, but definitely to my rational mind. And the heart longing for family and home also readily approves.

So, today too, I was to take a flight back. But perhaps Gods had a different plan in mind. As luck would have it, I reached precisely five minutes after the check-in counters were closed and the true professionals that the IndiGo staff are, I wasn’t allowed to board. Cursing the airline, swearing never to fly IndiGo ever again, I called dad, asking him to come back and pick me up. Not wanting to burn another hole in my pockets, I decided to take a train this time. Luckily, got a ticket, and got it confirmed too.

Boarded. Overwhelming nostalgia took over. I could see liveliness all over. A college kid going back to the campus. A newly married couple flirting so enchantingly. An uncle chatting away incessantly on phone. A bhaiyya listening to ‘pyar humein kis mod pe le aaya’ on loop. An elderly couple debating animatedly on Ahmedabad vs. Delhi.  And a me, finding myself again. I had not planned for this travel, so wasn’t carrying the usual paraphernalia for whiling away time. Just had a small book and a notebook for company. The book was read in the very first hour itself, and all I was left with were my thoughts and the notepad.

So much time, and nothing to do. Gave me a lot of fodder for introspection and retrospection. The usual distractions which do not let the quizzing me get the better of the answering me were absent, and I was left at the mercy of my questioning self.

I would not say I did not like it, but it left me uncomfortable for sure. I keep running away from a certain part of me, which this jorney forced me to undo.

In an 15-hour encounter, I found myself again. Well, nearly.