I was waiting for my train at Kassel station. It was a sunday evening and the platform was so crowded that I felt as if i was standing at Churchgate station. It was time to say good-bye to Shubha whom I had met after 8 years. We were talking the usual stuff which friends talk at such moments. Call me once you reach. Take care of yourself. Hope we meet again soon...etc.
Standing next to us was a couple hugging tightly. The guy was quite tall and well built. I don't remember how he looked. It was the girl's face which caught my attention. It had some weird kind of sadness on it. It disturbed me. They stood still in this pose for as long as they were together. When I told Shubha what I felt she replied saying it is sunday evening and she must be leaving for another city for work/college after spending the weekend with her boyfriend. She added jokingly, that Germans are not as emotional as us Indians and that she will return to her normal self as soon as she hops into the train.
Since I had not reserved a seat, I had to walk through one wagon to the other in search of an empty seat. Luckily I found one. The girl I saw on the platform was in the same wagon. She had not got a place to sit and was standing near the door leaning on the luggage shelf. At the next stop, the lady sitting next to me got down and I shifted to the "Fenster" (window) seat. This girl came and sat next to me.
This was my last train journey within Germany and also the most awaited one. It was 7 pm. 7 pm in India would mean near-sunset time. But at that time of the year in Germany the sunset used to occur not before 9:00 pm. I was gazing out of the window, at the landscape, the stretch of mountains and the forests, trying to capture the beauty in my memory.
The girl was sitting next to me with her bulky bag in her lap. When I saw that the two men sitting in front of us were about to get down at the next station, I pointed towards the empty seat and asked her to sit there comfortably.
Now she was sitting in front of me, with the same gloomy face I saw 2 hours back at the platform. It was impossible for me to keep looking outside the window and not see the reflection of her face in the glass. What was wrong with her?
The next stop was Frankfurt and I noticed the girl gathering her belongings. She was getting down at Frankfurt. A thought flashed in my head and I began searching for something in my hand-bag. The train entered the station and those who had reached there destination moved towards the door.
The girl stood up. Without losing a moment I thrusted something in her hand. She first glanced at me with surprise and then at the piece of paper I gave to her. Then, the magical moment came when she looked back at me with a bright smile . I smiled back.
I saw her walking on the platform smiling to herself. It made my day.
I had quickly scribbled a note saying "Smile Please" with a smiley face on that paper.
The train was moving once again. The next stop was my destination. I enjoyed that last 40 minute journey the most. I think I was smiling all through it.
P.S. My inspiration for writing this post is Angika for more than one reason.