It was this journey that made me realise why and how people from the same profession connect to each other so easily.
It’s not new for any SODA/SOSA to encounter somebody from the previous places you have stayed at but it becomes almost impossible to recognize each one of them by their faces later on, specially when the last time you met them was when you were a kid. There is a sense of oneness every time you meet someone who’s related to forces directly or indirectly. And why not, after all, we are the families in arms of brothers in arms.
I boarded the train from Bhopal to New Delhi to find my cabin to be fully crowded with kids, 11th or 12th graders. They were all in the party mood; playing songs, eating, dancing and somewhat enjoying their trip to the best they can.
Looking at the pandemonium I felt I was in the wrong coach. With much effort and trying to figure out which language to use to communicate with them, I finally settled down with them making some place to adjust on my own berth and a little place for my big bag. Thank God they understood english. Thankyou Englishmen for making it the universal language. And then came ‘di’. I shall call her so coz well, I forgot to ask for her name. Yeah , stupid me! Anyways, she was wearing the same expression as me. It was not frustration, not hopelessness or anger but it was just wonder. I must say the sight amused me and then the same thing , series of efforts to settle down started for her. I watched all of this silently laughing to myself.
She gave me a tired smile after all was settled. Sometime later, she asked me “Are you with them?”. With my “No” her expression changed from frustration to delight, and she gave the most charming smile lighting the whole moment. Later into the convo it was revealed that we both have to get down at Delhi but then have to go to chd from there; that she was also a teacher; that she was my senior in school when I must have been in 5th; that she graduated from the same university as me; that she took up teaching for the same reason as I; that she also belonged to the fauji community – just so many things in common for one person.
She told me she remembers me seeing somewhere; and I told her that it must be because I used to roam around a lot when I was a kid. I told her that her first impression on me was that of a lawyer to which she laughed joyously.
Her vivacity , exuberance and zest for life was contagious. Talking to her was sheer joy. At Delhi we hugged each other goodbye as I took the bus to chandigarh.