Train journeys always do that. The smell of rust n iron carried along with those of memories fresh from the heart. May be it was the isolation, or maybe the wind, or perhaps just the anticipation. She could never tell. She sat by the window, her fingers working fast on that knitting needle and woolen bundles. Her hands worked like magic, without even her looking at the half knit sweater. She stared on, in oblivion. Those tracks that stretched into infinity, reminded her of times a decade ago.
‘Life was very simple back then’ she heard her mind echo. A little unusual as it was, she sat aloof that afternoon spending all her hours looking just at those tracks that seemed to have some haunting story to reveal to her. She was listening detachedly to the conversations in her coupe. In between the regular whining of the 2 yr old, she managed to gather some news on a Geetha’s first marriage and a Swathi’s knowledge on palmistry n psychic powers. But her mind wandered back to those tracks and she stared on..
* * * * *
Tall healthy coconut trees, overlooking a thatched roof and red bricked cottage houses filled with the aroma of piping hot tea n buttered popcorn came alive. She saw Shruthi wearing her pretty pink frock with the white lace, looking like an angel but with dark chocolate smudged around her lips. Shruthi took tiny little steps, careful enough not to wet her shoes in those puddles from yesterday’s rain. There were guests, chocolates, fountains, cars and cake - with 10 candles. Loud music did its duty, it was their favorite song. Yeah, music does that too, the smell of just blown candles, vanilla essence and memories fresh from the heart. She leaned forward to blow those 10 huge candles, with her mom by her side holding back her loose hair. Shruthi, made a perfect ‘o’ with her mouth n took in a huge amount of air jus enough to blow most of them off, but she paused. Squinting her eyes, she drove her gaze through the crowd straining to spot her best friend. ‘He is definitely there! ‘, she assured her self and as she looked on – ‘he must be hiding’, she thought.
She was locked in her awkward 7 like position for longer than she had estimated. Nudges from her mom, and loud whispers became a little more than ignorable. And so she blew the candles, wishing strongly for him to appear in front of her. The flames danced, refusing to listen to Shruthi. She blew harder, n they danced more gorily than before. She saw nothing but the flames. Orange and yellow, and they grew in size. The black wick metamorphosed into a figure, a familiar figure. Her eyeballs enlarged, pupils dilated and they dictated fear. The music muted itself, n she heard nothing but her own screams for help. There was panic all over and just enough threshold energy. She pulled herself away from her mother n turned sharply the other way n came eye to eye with Shruthi, 10 years later.
* * * * *
A loud gasp, faint noises of an approaching train, sharper sounds of a crying child and then the voice of her heart – ‘Its all over Shruthi. Calm down. Its ok. He died several years ago” . She had calmed down, but only temporarily. The tracks and the travel had brought back the old times. Times - 10 years old. May be that was what time was meant to teach. Maybe that was what the tracks yearned to tell. Maybe that was what her heart was longed for – the old times.