Fiction Drama Romance

Dehradun express leaves New Delhi at 0320 PM. The train is mostly on time, but I plan to reach the station at least an hour early. For someone like me, the uncertainties usually compound, and I do not take risks. There is a positive reason though, for coming here early. I love the vibe of a Railway Station, the life and zest it emanates. The innumerous chatters from every direction and every distance intermingle and hum to me in a deep soothing rumble. Over the years, I trained myself to unravel this rumble into its constituents, like pulling out strands of threads from a woven rope. Now, I can single out a conversation and follow it exclusively, unmindful of the rumble. I find these conversations amusing. They are sometimes brash, sometimes funny, and sometimes sad. But all of them are rooted in fear. I wonder why.  

The train leaves from Platform Number 16, the last platform towards Ajmeri gate. I never found a bench on this platform to sit. But around the pillars supporting the cover over platforms, there are granite topped circular concrete structures to serve as sitting areas. There is still an hour to go, so I sat on one of those, listening to the announcements when a whiff of fragrant breeze passed by me. A young woman, about 25, same age as mine, I reckoned. There is enough space beside me on the slab. I hoped she would sit next to me. 

And it happened exactly as I thought. It seems to be my lucky day. After a while, she turned towards me and asked where I was going. 

‘Dehradun’ I said. 

‘Me too. Going to the valley of flowers. I love the colors there’ 

‘Which trek company are you with?’ I asked, surprised that she too is going on the same trek. 

‘Walk The Mountains. Are you going with them too?’ 

‘Yeah, in fact, I am going on the same trek’ 

She was wonderful, lively and energetic. Once inside the train, we changed our seats and sat next to each other. She loved to talk. She had started working for a pharmaceutical company a year ago and this trip was to break the monotony. I was glad I got some company. I am used to solitude, but good company was always welcome. She was passionate about the colors. She could look at a color and break it up into its constituent primary colors just like I could isolate sounds. She had an amusing way about explaining the colors. She said that all colors were a mixture of three primary colors – the red, blue and yellow. I knew that. But she wouldn’t look at them as just colors. 

‘You know colors have a feel about them.’ 

‘You mean you can feel them?’ I asked. 

‘Not exactly. But to me, each of these three colors represents a unique set of feelings.’ 

‘I did not get it’ 

‘You see, for me, red is hot, intense, blue is cool, like something mellowed, and yellow is warmth, something that is holding in balance.’ 

‘Hmm, like a continuum?’ 

‘No, not a continuum.’ 

I could not understand her, but I loved her conviction. She was all red to me. 

With her, time flew like never before. We were on the fourth day of the trek and were walking from Ghangaria village to the valley of flowers. By then, she had become my eyes and I could see everything that she saw and the way she saw them. One hour into the trek, we came across a wooden bridge across the raging Pushpavati River. I took my first step on the bridge when she sprang towards me and held my hand. We crossed the river hand in hand. Her hands were cool, soft and slender, reminding me of the blue she spoke about. 

Abutting the river was a hillside beyond which lay the beautiful valley of flowers. After an hour of climbing, we reached the top of hill and stood there, hand in hand, watching the beautiful expanse of the valley. I saw the valley through her eyes. The Sun, shining bright and red, was across to our right, its rays glittering in the blue waters of the river at the bottom of the valley. The river meandered far along the valley floor and disappeared into the white snow-capped misty mountains standing loft and afar. Between the glowing Sun and the meandering river lay the vast expanse of the side-valley blanketed by flowering plants filling it with a myriad of colors. 

She held me by arms and pulled me closer to her. At that moment, I knew that our hearts met. I felt the warmth of the yellow she spoke about, the something that holds everything in balance. We did not look at each other, nor did we speak, but I knew what she was saying. The red sun in the sky, the blue waters of the river below and the yellow hues of the Earth in between, mixed in different proportions, to produce the different colors of the flowers. She would not agree to any other explanation. 

Overlooking the valley, with her by my side, I was glad for that moment. It was a moment when you felt there was nothing left to desire for. It did not matter if it lasted, but all that mattered was that it ever happened. I turned towards her to kiss. 

“Excuse me!” 

I was startled. The humming rumble of the Railway station was palpable again. The chaos had increased.

“You want to board the train? The train will leave.” The voice spoke again. 

It took me some time to react to the question. 

“Yes, I want to” 

“Do you need help?” 

“Yes, sure!” 

I usually don’t seek help. But the train will leave in a moment now. People always rush before the start of the train. I didn’t want to be caught in that. I unfolded my white cane and felt for the markings on the floor. She held me by my arms, pulled me closer and guided me towards the train door. She got into the train after me and asked me where I was going. 

‘Dehradun’ I said. 

October 13, 2022 00:46

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.