11 am, I find myself sitting in the third compartment of a train. I try to hide my face as few passers by, try to look and give this known familiar look, as if they are best of my friends. I am clearly a misfit, with my fancy clothes and sophisticated grooming. I look out of the window and notice a small pool of water in the platform, I can even see, a not so clear image of myself in it. How did I find myself here? Life seems to have slowed down around me, as if in trance, I can vaguely remember last evening, when it was all perfect, till I lost myself.
I got up fairly early today, may be I never slept, although I don’t feel tired. I think it was a dreamless sleep. It was 5am and it was still dark outside. Without any effort, which was surprising, I got up and took shower. Allowed the warm water to hit my body, felt every single drop, as if for the first time I was taking a bath. Don’t know how long I was there, felt forever. And when the water and I had become one, I closed it and just stood, staring right into the mirror, which was misty due to heat. Slowly, teasingly, the mirror became clearer and revealed my naked self. I was still staring, as if looking at a whole different person. My nakedness didn’t amuse me nor did I felt to cover myself. My right hand slowly lifted itself and caressed my cheeks, as my mother did when I was a kid to make me sleep, as my lover did when I was in college to show her love, as my wife did when I was worried to take my pain. I felt my wrinkles, life had passed by, much faster than I had realized. Lost in my unlived life I closed my eyes.
A loud cough bought me back to the train station. I realized an elderly person had taken a seat before me and had just spit on the water pool I was staring at. My image of myself was again distorted. I looked around and realized that my compartment was almost full and yet people were just pouring in. If it was any other day, I would have not stayed there for more than a second, but today I was oblivious to heat, sound, cries, shouting, smoking, and everything around me. I was centered, everything else seemed blurry. Slowly the train started, as how it feels when the sand leaves your hand, it felt when the town I lived most of my life, slowly passed in front of my eyes. I felt the wind in my face and knew without a doubt, that very moment…..my journey had started.