“Which station is this beta”?
“Firozabad, aunty”. I replied while putting my duffel bag on rack above my seat.
There was a sense of energy in her voice, she was clearly in her early 50’s but her sharp highly mannered voice and clear English accent made me realize that my fellow passenger is not some ordinary woman. Not often you meet an aunty in a train who starts conversation in English. She was simple in her attires, wearing a polka dotted saree with a shawl (No, I was not ogling at her, I simply notice stuff, I am not a pervert, Thank you)
“Do you know by what time we will be reaching Ghaziabad”? She enquired.
“Aunty, we are in Gomti, we should be thankful to God that its only 2 hour late today, yesterday It got cancelled, plus getting a reservation in its chair car is also a matter of luck but if you insist than by looking at its speed and by my assumptions, we will be reaching there around 4 o’ clock but consider that a miracle”. I finished my hate speech on our train Gomti for being always late and I also tried my best not to be rude to her so I finished my last sentence with a smile although I was having the worst headache of all time but I remained polite.
“Good, that means we are still on time, you see my Son- in law is coming to pick me on Ghaziabad station”. She gave me the very first information of the day about her and her family.
“Oh, so you are going to see your daughter in Ghaziabad”? I simply asked a question to let her know that I am not being rude by ignoring her information but what I didn’t know that I was falling into a trap of endless flow of information and the most talkative aunty I have ever met in my whole life and trust me, I have met aunties from my mother’s friend circle or my friend’s mother who can talk continuously for a long time, but as a I said earlier, my fellow passenger was not some ordinary person, she was a nuclear bomb when it comes to talking, endless blabbering sometimes even to herself when I ignored her.
“Yes, I am, she lives in Indirapura, Ghaziabad”. I simply nodded because there was nothing except for a gentle nod I can do for that information.
After seeing that her previous information had nothing which can make this conversation move a little further, she posed another question.
“Ever heard of it”?
“Yes, my friends used to live there”.
“Good place, especially for my 8 months old granddaughter, parks and play grounds are in abundance there, you see my daughter who passed her B.Tech in 2001 from Bareilly is in TCS Sector- 62, Noida as a Team Lead and her husband is in HCL as an assistant manager, although my daughter also got job opportunity from HCL but you know TCS is a bigger name compared to HCL”.
“Good”, I really had no idea how to tell her that it’s not safe to open information about your family in front of a complete stranger, I mean look at my eyes aunty, they are freaking red, I could be some kind of a nut job, dysfunctional moron or a psychopath who can harm your family and you have seen this world more than me, you know that you can’t trust anyone these days, but then again, I really don’t want to be rude.
“You know, my second daughter is a scientist from IGIB, do you know what IGIB is”.
At first I thought that IGIB stands for Indira Gandhi International Airport Bombay Version and her daughter is a Scientist there but then I slapped my brain 2 times for thinking like an idiot. I had no intention of sounding like an illiterate at this point so I simply nodded to that although I really had no idea what IGIB was or what It stand for, later I searched internet for IGIB or should I say Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology.
“She is doing research on Effect of High Altitude on Blood pressure and heart rates and for this she went to Peru, Cape Town and many hills station in India and Indian Government is sponsoring her trips since it’s a government project, next year she will be flying to Germany”, Said the proud mother, by this time she was literally on cloud nine for having such brilliant daughters, her eyes lit up with joy while narrating her daughter’s amazing career.
“You must be a proud mother; your daughters are brilliant in their respective fields”. This time I was impressed by her kids.
“Yes they are”, she said with a broad smile on her face.
I smiled back thinking that her stock of information is now completely over and I can go back to sleep.
“You know, my son is also doing B.Tech from HBTI Kanpur, he tried for IIT but couldn’t get a seat so he settled for HBTI for CS branch”.
And here we go; she again started uploading her family information on me.
“Good, but why didn’t you send him for AIEEE”?
“He got in AIEEE to but was getting a college in south, and he didn’t want to leave me alone in Kanpur”.
“Why would you be alone”?
She didn’t replied, I slapped my brain real hard this time, what I didn’t noticed was that her saree was of white color and she wasn’t wearing any make up. She was a Widow.
“My husband died 5 years ago”.
This time her usual jovial was missing.
“I am sorry to hear that”, I said with my sincere apologies for her loss.
“You must be thinking that I am an idiot for telling everything about my family to a complete stranger, but the thing is that you are of same age as my son & look innocent too (Me? Innocent?, Aunty must be high), and I have never been left alone by him ever since my husband died, so I couldn’t help but talk to you and in the flow of emotions I became familiar with you, I hope I didn’t disturb you beta”.
I choked before speaking again; I realized how much of a jackass I was to her, giving rude and cold replies. I felt bad for myself. I apologies to her for being an insensitive prick earlier and also explained the reason behind it, my headache. She smiled back.
We both had a cup of tea and I won’t call it a nice cup of tea because it was plain water with a tiny drop of milk sprayed on it. We talked about how Women safety in Delhi since both her daughters are in this city, Pollution, My job, her job as an English teacher in a school (She wasn’t done with information till the end).
I lifted her two heavy bags from the rack and dropped her on Ghaziabad Railway station where her Son-in law was waiting for her.
It’s nice to meet strangers sometimes, and its better if they have truck loads of information to pass your time, I reached Delhi without even realizing the time spent in that train.
This is Prakhar Gupta. Have a nice day.