“Reyil Sneham” ..sariyaana Thamizh vaarthai alla, allava??? Aanaal appadi sonnal thaane mattravargal vilangikkolgiraargal??I
t was a rainy day, and I was ready in Egmore Railway station to board the train to Trichy with my vaappa. I was a bit sad about leaving home after a wonderful holiday for Eid and Diwali. But that was ok, I wasn’t as sad as how I was last year, infact a little glad that I’l be back in BIM. So it was a sense of mixed feelings.
Before the Diwali and Eid holidays.I met with 2 tiny accidents on the road. That was one of the few “firsts” of my life. One on the first day of the beginning of this trimester, another a day or two before the vacation. I know its stupid of me to call my vaappa and tell him about this, but I was stupid then. Apparently,my parents got really worried , and I had to convince them that there is nothing really wrong and I’l be fine.
Going home alone was a big challenge for me as I had to convince my parents about that and also I cannot talk to anyone during the entire journey. And i had plans of coming back alone on the night of Eid.I reached home. My parents were glad that I was fine. But lot of “vandila pohadha ma” (don’t go out in bikes) kind of dialogues at home. Seri, paravallanu vittuten.
And there was this program on Vijay TV.”Kutram: Nadandhadhu Enna??” “……autovil sendra pengalai kadathiya autodriver…..” (A program about an autodriver who kidnapped two ladies).Dumb thing. My vaappa said, “Faiza, night train vendamma….” in a worried tone. I cannot dismiss my father’s concern. We say India is a “Rapidly Devoloping Economy”, but violence against women and harassing them will never stop, however developed it becomes. I’m sure this is the case even in the so called ” developed” nations.So, my father booked a ticket for me in a day train which will leave Chennai at 12.25 pm and reach Trichy at 5.45 pm.
One thing about these “chair cars” in a day train is that you don’t have the luxury of booking a ladies seat as in the case of buses. I entered the train and kept my bags in a place and luckily, there were two ladies sitting next to me. I was happy for a moment. There came these guys, who looked like high school kids or first year college students. They made a lot of noise, laughing around and playing, all in that train.
And worried was my father. He didnt feel like getting out of the train. But he had to. He was asking those 2 old ladies to take care of me. The train started. Those guys were having their time. I was not really worried since they didnt trouble anyone as such.
But those ladies were amazing. Especially one who was in her early sixties, and a retired teacher in a Govt school in Chennai. She was talking about her childhood days, about the places she visited, and how things have changed over the years. But she was only talking about how places once full of trees is full of houses now. I have seen many people, who talk to me for the first time, recall their memories about their other muslim friends or muslims they knew. So did she. Some of her relatives are in Mayavaram, a place where ther are lots of muslims and how friendly they re to them.
While the others where complaining about those boys in the train, the lady next to me didnt. They were actually a bit irritating, and my irritation grew for no reason when i heard them talking that they belong to some political party. But the lady was entertaining me. We were talking about a lot of things.
It started raining after the train crossed Ariyalur and she quoted a big train accident which happened when she was a kid. I was reminded about the same incident my grandma used to talk about at times.
We were close to Trichy and crossed the Coleroon (Kollidam) river bridge. Only then I came to know from those ladies that Srirangam is actually a small island between Kollidam and Kavery rivers. I was really surprised to hear that.
And the train reached Trichy. I got down, said a bye to both of them and took a bus to hostel when one thing struck me. I was not even bothered to ask their names. So did they.
“THODARVANDI NATPU” — “Friendship in the train”