Dumbstruck8 mins 194 8 mins 194
I had finished my work a bit early, it was about 4.30 PM in the evening. I decided to walk down to the station from the oil factory where I was employed rather than going by auto, which I generally used to do. I had completed my graduation from SKP Govt College Guntakal and got employed in the Groundnut oil milling company, which was very near to the college. I thought instead of spending time at the factory let me walk down to the station. I came early. I used to come daily from Gooty which was about 20 kms from Guntakal and used to take the Intercity train which leaves at 5.30 PM. Usually the train gets into platform number four twenty minutes prior to the departure. I decided instead of loitering around go and sit in the train itself. Mostly people board the train just 10 minutes before the departure of the train. As it was the month of July and the onset of monsoon had happened the climate was cool too with a good breeze going around.
I had a monthly pass; I go and occupy a seat near the window in one of the compartments in the middle of the train.
There was no one in the train as yet. Usually the passengers come only 10 minutes before the departure. The seat, which I had taken, was opposite to the platform so that there was no disturbance of the people on the platform. Adjacent to the platform number 4 was platform number 5, were the intercity train from Guntakal to Anantapur was stationed. Both the trains had a departure time difference of 10 minutes. As I was watching on to the other train, a young girl, with a long hair, comes and occupies the window seat just adjacent to me in the other train. The distance between us was just the mandatory distance between the two rails. From the sight of it looked like she has come from the college as she carried the books with her in the left hand. My eyes could not resist seeing her with greater intensity. In the first 10 minutes of her arrival, I would have perhaps tried to have a glimpse at least fifty times, sometimes directly and sometimes as if seeing something else. I could not resist seeing the vision of her eyes. As there was no one initially in the other compartment it became further easy for me to have uninterrupted looks. After a few minutes I sensed she was alone. Every time I tried peeping through her eyes she used to bend down blocking the sight of her eyes.
The train moves ahead slowly, I peep back through the grilled windows to see if she would give me a glance, but it did not happen so. I could not sleep the entire night; the picture of her was coming in my mind quite often and the radiance in her eyes was passing through. I was restless and had to get up at least twice or thrice in the night. I had seen so many girls and many were my girl friends too, but never it has happened so. But I was not sure what happened in this case. I was troubled.
The next day I was curious, if she would come and occupy the same seat as the previous day. As usual she also comes and sits in the same place. I was not sure if she had really seen the number of times I stared at her. Was I assuming that she was sitting in the same place as she did not feel bad about my intense looks, or is it that it was her usual seat and she sat just like any other day I was not sure. The days passed on like this for a few weeks. Every day I used to come early and sit in the same seat and she in hers, but neither of us acknowledged each other directly but it had become a habit for me.
One day, I come and sit, do not see her, my palpitation increases, my eyes keep searching her, I wait eagerly for her to come, in the meantime a old lady comes and occupies that seat. I was about to shout and tell to her that the seat has already been occupied. But how could I? I was in a different train, I was also not sure if she would come or not, I was not even sure if she too was inclined to converse with me. But I started cursing the old lady for having occupied that seat. She does not come for a long time, the compartment starts getting filled up, my train was about to leave, as it slowly departs, I see her coming to her seat with quick steps, she was sweating a lot, I thought perhaps she might have run her way through just to occupy the seat as there was ten more minutes for her train to depart, but she comes and sees that the seat has been occupied, she bends to see through the window as my train starts moving.
Now her eyes were wide opened, I slowly smile, she does not express anything, but I could see her eyes, the eye lashes did not flash, nor she moved her position, I could sense that the eyes were speaking a language, she too was as palpitated perhaps as mush as me, not to miss the sight of my eyes too. Each of our eyes meets the others for the first time, more explicitly. As the train moves on, I was losing her vision, I was not sure if she would bend further and peep, but she did, in that moment of a second my lips open up for a smile and hand stretches out of the window in the moving train just to say Hi, and wave my hands. She does not wave her hand, but the eyes were still open and wide. We see each other till such time the vision was intact as the train moves on.
The next day I come and sit, she also comes and sits in her seat, but while sitting in her seat she bends and looks at me, the lips stretch themselves to give a big wide smile, I too smile as if I have just won the Jackpot. I whisper Hi, she does not respond. She sits as usual and again the time passes by and the train departs, but this time we stare at each other and it continues till such time we could see each other. Days pass on like this for a week or so. We expressed just through our eyes. Neither of us conversed, there used to be exchange of a smile at the first instance and we kept looking at each other. I was about to say, you cannot disguise, your eyes speaks it all, know not if it is love, but your eyes says it all. In the mean time she scribbles something in a paper, and makes it into a ball and throws it through the window. There was a number I thought; perhaps this was her mobile number. She signals from there to input in the mobile and message to her. I store her number and text to her Hi.
She replies and says Hi, and tells that her name is Lakshmi and I text my name as Nathan. We start conversing with each other through the mobile, but most of the times through the eyes. At the first instance itself she says no calls only messages. I accept the same, for me the looks of the eyes were more than enough. I felt that was serene and I was yearning for it every other day.
I felt that the ability of the eyes to express, was very much high than chatting, I could realize this in the first gaze itself. Be it shame, fear, love or anxiety I thought eyes were the organs which could best emote. Tears while may erupt for both pain and pleasure; eyes had a different way to express them too.
The intensity of our looks and text exchange of our looks continue through. It would have been perhaps a year or so. One day she writes to me during the course of last one year, I have learnt to read your eyes.
I look through your eyes for the compassion when it appears soft and gentle
I get scared, when there is in the vengeance in your eyes when it is dressed with scarlet
Sometimes when they are mild and mellow, expressing the love and warmth I get a great comfort
It pains me too when your eyes become wet with pain.
We were just ok the way we were, neither of us attempted to meet each other nor ask for a date. We enjoyed each other’s mental company.
One day late at night, she writes to me that tomorrow Saturday morning at 8.30AM I am coming to Kasapuram to see the deity. Kasapuram was a small temple town of Lord Anjaneya at Guntakal. I was not sure if this was an invitation to meet her or just information.
I decide to go from Gooty to Guntakal by bus and take the darshan of the deity too. I dress well, apply deodorant look myself into the mirror with a sense of pride, that my love was noble and Lord Anjaneya is going to be bless our relationship. I get down from the bus, I see from a distance three people getting down from the Auto, Lakshmi, a young girl and an elderly person. They spot me too. The young girl out of the three from the distance shouts Nathan come here. I run with a great elation.
I reach there, the elderly person, pats me at the back. The young girl says that I am sister of Lakshmi. This is our father. I touch his feet; he blesses me but does not utter a word. Lakshmi’s sister says that he is deaf and dumb as much as Lakshmi too.