Monday, 5 December 2016

The routine

    In the small town of Velpan, there wasn't much to boast about. A small town on the outskirts of a busy city, the only mode of contact with the nearby city was the train. A single train made its trip throughout the day. Sam was one of the few regulars on its trip up to the town in the morning and back down at night from work. He wondered why did he even bother to go to his wretched workplace every single day. The train just added to the monotony in his life. He wiped his brow by the cuff of his sleeve. Even this act seemed a monotony in this humid place. It had just one intermediate stop, very busy unlike Velpan where dozens of trains from all around made their way as a changing stop for the various cities around. Life was a routine for Sam, even this five minute halt, where he would run towards a secluded tea-vendor. Not because he made amazing tea, but for the one thing he always had waited for. The watered-tea was pathetic as always but it was for her he got down. Every day he would get down here for the one glimpse of a distant face by the vendor who would make his day. An amused smile on her face which would light up his forever monotonous day.
   Today seemed no different from the hundreds he had lived. Sam got down for his daily cup of tea. Life was such a bore, no zing left it in. No wonder the same thoughts crossed his mind here everyday sipping his tea-water. He waited for her glimpse in the crowd. She wasn't there by the distant lamp pole. Nowhere was she visible in this unfamiliar crowd. Disappointed he reached for his wallet, the five rupee coin in the same pocket as it had always been. Sad as the only one thing he had looked forward to wasn't there. It was childish but yes he had always waited for this moment to see her. And now even she wasn't here. Just as he was about to move to get back to his train, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned, slightly frustrated at the scar on his canvas of routine. To find the most beautiful face his eyes had ever set upon. It was her. The familiar yet strange face in the crowd he had always waited for. She stood there, her hand outstretched beckoning him. He was already lost in the abyss those sad eyes held. His mouth already a slammed shut by his nervous system and all thoughts of sense vanished and conquered by that single tap. His ears faintly registered a voice saying , "Excuse me, you dropped this!". Gradually his senses took in the scene and saw her holding out a handkerchief. Some reflexes kicked in and he took it from her. His mouth valiantly mumbling out incoherent responses, while his eyes saw her leave with a slight amused look on her face and his heart,.. Already yearning her to stay. The train whistled its departure as his legs carried him back to the train which would take him back to his own chapter of monotony. All seemed to be a haze as he went through his day without an ounce of attention to what was happening around him. 
   It was night and his train was about to cross the junction where he had met her the morning. The brain went into its thoughtless mode again, as his legs got him out of the train to the tea vendor who had left by now. There stood his shut shop and the rickety bench beside. All logic had left Sam as he sat there, shivering slightly against the chill of the night. Just one more glimpse was the reason his heart gave now. It was all unlike him. A different Sam altogether. He realised it was morning when the surprised tea vendor woke him up. He had his cup of tea early and his eyes searching for the now milling at the station. Just one glimpse of her. Sam saw his daily train come and his logic kicked in. She wasn't coming. He had to go to work. Back to the routine he hated. He got into the train sat by the seat he had always been at. It was particularly humid as always. It was just as he was about to wipe his brow, it kicked in. He never had used a handkerchief. As it hit him, he fumbled for his pocket and got out the handkerchief she had given him. He unfolded it, and there it was. Scribbled on it was a note.
   "I really didn't know how to put this. Thought this would be very childish but had to. Since it is my last visit here. I remember you getting off the train every single day for the tea-vendor where no one ever visited. I do not even know why I am doing this. But yes I was new to this place. All seemed alien. Everything seemed unfamiliar, and among all this there was you getting down at the place every single day which gave me a strange sense of familiar comfort. I don't know, but thank you for it. Have a great day a thank you for making many of mine good ones. Wish we cross paths somewhere some day. For now a good bye to you"
   As the handkerchief lay crumpled in his fist, for no reason a smile touched his lips as he went on by his routine. Wondering how his routine had yet been something altogether different for a person who was a part of his own routine. 

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