All the berths in the cubicle were occupied. There were two families with kids, a young girl, a guy just opposite me, we were having the side berths. The guy in front of me got up and moved away, the heavy back rest of his seat folded forward with a bang missing my knees. The co-passengers gave a relieved laugh and I joined them. I tried to put it back, the locking clip had broken and would only if somebody sits and lean back, hold it upright. We just managed to join both the seats and made a berth avoiding the risk of the seat falling again.
I thought that will be a good ice breaker and make friends with co-travelers, “The force of it would have broken my knee, its very heavy” I said looking around. They all smiled and one of them looked up, gestured with his hands “thank God”. All of them went back to their smarts, one of them calling some one to tell that the train has started moving and everything is fine, the other typing some message may be in his whatsapp, anyway all of them got lost in their own world.
I took a book out of my bag to read, may be read a page, when I could not help looking into my mobile, saw a message and got lost in the virtual world, the social media. This is the generic travel scene these days. We get connected to people out of sight, smiling, laughing when the person next to you do not exist.
In many homes, this addiction is the reason for fights. At the end of the day take stock of the fights, and impatient moods. You will find the reasons are the interruptions of your smart phone entertainment. Many job gets postponed, no time. What we do not realise, our now takes priority over everything else, our phone being part of now.
Back to my journey, got down at Ernakulam at 4.30 A.M, morning for few, midnight for many and no friends made. I am in no hurry to go, plan to hang around until dawn breaks. Lot of people on the platform, some out of the train I came by, some to board another.
I walked up to the tea stall for tea and then up and down the platform, it was interesting to see people rushing to and fro, energetically at this hour of the day. An aged man with one crutch in his right hand stopped near me and was cursing away , “ all are selfish, nobody is bothered about others, see see rushing”. I understood his predicament, he was finding it difficult to get through the crowd. While he was telling me, somebody shouldered him accidentally and his stick fell off. His pusher did not even realise what he did and hurried away. I picked up the stick for him and he put his hand into it, to hold it. I said “ come , I will come with you”. He was quite rattled from the knock and went quiet. I started walking with him and asked him where was he going, he just gestured forward. After a few steps I asked him again. He gestured forward again. I stopped and asked him whether he was alone. He gave me a blank look. I asked him again where did he want to go. He did not say anything and he was thinking hard and said “tcha”. I remembered stories of people with memory problem dementia, Alzheimer who walked away from home to nowhere, upsetting their family’s world.
I stopped, held his hand, turned around and gently walked with an intent to take him to the station master’s room. As we were walking, two guys and a lady came running towards us and said this is my father.
“We found him missing from home, he has loss of memory. Two other relatives have gone to the transport bus stand”.
I asked him who are they ? He said, “my daughter”. The lady said, “he recognises only me”. I told them I was taking him to the station master.
They said, no need. With lots of “Thank you very much” they went their way and I sat on the chair with a relieved inside waiting for the outside to light up.