Multitude

Pushing my bag underneath, I climbed onto my berth,
Crawling slowly, I dusted it for what it was worth,
Stretching my legs, I turned around to have a look,
Nothing out of the ordinary, so I got back to the book.

Forty pages later, it was getting more and more boring,
I closed it, dreading what the next pages would bring,
I watched as a hawker passed, chips around neck, like a string,
What a racket, I wished he would just sell and get moving.

Bored, I climbed down, nudged the old lady and sat,
Opposite me, a toddler sat, ah the noisy little brat,
Bleary, flustered, I was nearing my point of frustration,
When the train slowed down, pulling into a station.

That’s when I noticed her, staring out of the window,
As if searching for the ends of the fading rainbow,
Stretching her hands out, to feel the rain,
Oblivious to the train, now moving again.

At the far end, the tea vendor was nearly shouting,
And the toddler, probably chided,  was now wailing,
The old lady, dozing, was beginning to fall on my shoulder,
I really didn’t care, I was busy myself, watching her.

Hands still outside, the water was dripping from her fingertips,
The pure delight, all the while sparkling white between her lips,
There were a thousand people, and sadly, nobody was watching,
The thousand-odd ways those drops were trickling, bouncing.

As if self-conscious, the rain stopped, she turned round,
Wiping her hands dry, she finally began to look around,
Having seem them all, her gaze now came to rest upon me,
Held my breath, she stared, stared, stared, and smiled at me.

For that single instant, unbeknown, I too stared,
As if challenged by those eyes that so dared,
Transfixed, tacitly we sat, eyes still glued,
Together, yet so alone, in this multitude.

This one is for the Mirror. Happened on a lonely journey to Hyderabad. Guess that was the only noteworthy point about the journey, besides making me wonder of the many times when we are in the middle of a bustling crowd, and yet never feel more alone in life. Of the times, when we are alone in the room, simply staring at the ceiling, and yet the heart feels congested in the crowd.

The prisoners of our own thought. The travellers of our journey. many times we have company, more often we don’t. So often we take it upon ourselves to feel alone, when surrounded, and other times, so together in each of our loneliness. This one is dedicated to those thoughts. Ones that separate, ones that celebrate.

P.S. Don’t know her name. She smiled, I smiled, she laughed, I laughed, Hyderabad came.

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