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Sudha Ramanathan



Sudha Ramanathan


The Things That Matter

The Things That Matter

3 mins 319 3 mins 319

Anchal boarded the train to Surat from Mumbai. She was en route to her roommate Rituparna's wedding. It was a three-hour journey approximately.

As she got boarded the Mumbai- Allahabad Express at Borivali station, she was feeling very happy. This was the first solo trip of her life. She had never traveled alone before.

Her parents were a bit skeptical, but she had managed to convince them. She had assured them that she would be careful throughout the journey, also Rituparna's cousin would be coming to pick her up at Surat station.

She was not carrying too much stuff as it was a three-day trip. Her's was a window seat. She tucked in her suitcase in the space beneath her seat and sat down. She had a sling bag with her which contained her wallet, phone and a few other things which she kept close to herself.

She also had a small backpack that contained a box of parathas packed by her mother as well as a wafer packet too much on. She also carried a water bottle which she had tucked to the side of the backpack. She hung the backpack on the hook next to the window.

When she boarded the train, there was nobody else in the coach, she was the only passenger to board from Borivali was a second AC sleeper coach and was quite comfortable.

The train reached Vapi after one hour. A couple boarded the train with a kid. They occupied the seats opposite to Anchal. 

The ticket checker came, checked the tickets and left. It was time for dinner. Anchal opened her backpack and took out the box of parathas. The kid was staring at her box.

Anchal smiled at the kid and offered her a paratha. The mother smiled and refused. She gave the kid a stern look and opened her bag. She took out a tiffin box and gave it to her daughter.

The husband was busy chatting on the phone. The lady introduced herself as Madhavi. She mentioned that they reside in Vapi. Anchal asked the kid's name. The kid enthusiastically shouted out her name - Abhinaya Pathak.

Madhavi introduced her husband Ashok who smiled at Anchal and got busy with her phone. Madhavi mentioned that she was a post-graduate in English literature and was a school teacher. Her husband was into garments export business.

She mentioned that they were going to Kota as she had an interview the next day evening. They would return the day after.

Anchal wished her luck for the interview. Abhinaya was done with her dinner and wanted to sleep. Ashok picked up Abhinaya and placed her on the upper berth.

He sat down and started checking his phone again. Madhavi took to put a book from her bag and started reading, which seemed like notes for the interview.

Anchal was curious, she couldn't resist asking Madhavi if they will shift to Kota if she gets the job. She mentioned in the affirmative stating that the husband was very supportive, and it was he who had pushed her to attend the interview. 

By the time, Abhinaya had slept. Anchal was happy to see the understanding between the couple. She put on her headphone and closed her eyes. It was getting cold as the night progressed.

Anchal didn't realize when she fell asleep. By the time she woke up, two hours had passed. She was afraid she had missed her destination. Luckily for her, the announcement happened at that moment. The train would reach Surat soon.

She quickly got up, pulled out her suitcase and backpack and was ready to alight.

She quickly glanced at the couple. Madhavi had fallen asleep, she was resting her head on Ashok's shoulder, he was somewhat sleepy but didn't want to disturb his wife. Such a cute moment it was.

Anchal went towards the entrance. The train reached Surat. She got down and looked at the couple one last time. A smile caught her lips automatically.

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