I had moved to Mumbai recently and was still trying to catch up with its pace. I was yet to get accustomed to the local trains. Slowly and steadily I would. Sometimes I wished that I stayed near my office, but it was too expensive. So I chose a distant suburb, trying not to dig a hole into my pocket and screwing my life inside stuffed trains.
This continued for few weeks. I always noticed her getting to the station, catching the train and alighting at the destination before briskly walking to her office. Mine was nearby, but that was it - I never manged to talk to her. She was somewhat reclusive and I didn't have any pretext to approach her and talk. Anyway, she seemed to be a reclusive person and I never saw her talking to anybody. She was an enigma.
But somehow her face was still with me even when I was not travelling - it was there when I was in office, or at home or on Sundays when I was lazing down. There was something about her; something behind her enigmatic face. Maybe, I should gather courage and talk to her. She would often catch the same train while coming back also. maybe, there was a lot in common between us. Maybe, we shared some kind of "connection" or something.
That day, I was late in coming from office and coincidentally she to was. That day, I was not rushing on the station platform as there was a good ten minute before the train. I grabbed a sandwich and walked towards the platform trying to prevent vegetables from spilling on my shirt. That was when I almost hit a pillar and almost fell down - right in front of her eyes. I couldn't save my sandwich though. She had a hearty laugh. I never saw her smile and there she was - laughing. That was the first time I ever had some sort of communication with her. It seemed that she had seen me before - probably on the same train which we took - maybe a slight familiarity.
I occasionally crossed her and exchanged a few "hi"s and "hello"s but that was the end of conversation. She seemed to be more or less disinterested. Yet I felt that she knew a lot about me. Maybe, she was looking for some company during those boring journeys or boring walks. Maybe, i could be that someone!
It was around two months since I moved to the city and first saw her. I was crazy about her and I didn't even know her. Sometimes I waited at the station just to catch a glimpse of her and would "coincidentally" board the same train as her.
I think I needed to talk to her. Maybe, she also kind of liked me. That was a kind of wishful thinking, but maybe. At least I could give it a try. Maybe, we can just chit chat for some time. I was sure that she would not say no - at least not for talking for ten minutes.
One day, when I was late from my work, I waited for her at the station. She didn't come. Probably she had left early. The next day also same thing happened. The third day I saw her and accompanied her to her coach. The train wasn't too crowded and it thankfully wasn't a ladies coach.
I sat near her and within seconds the ticket examiner arrived and asked me for my ticket and certificate. Damn! What certificate? She produced some certificate and showed to him. He asked me for a fine and that was when I realized - the coach was reserved for handicapped, old people and cancer patients. Damn! She was suffering from cancer. The TTE threw me out of coach and I had to catch the next train.
The next day I didn't see her. Probably she was on a different train, or probably not travelling any more, or ...