“What’s he doing there?”
It’s too early — go back to sleep.
“Why is the guy still sitting down there?”
“Does the burqa lady, on whose seat he is sitting, know?”
“Is it safe for her?”
“Is it safe for me?”
The middle-aged guy stopped slightly, sitting on the edge of the seat of the sleeping lady in the burqa. She had a friend who had swapped seats with the Odiya guy. So they could sleep close by — sisters-in-sleeping solidarity. Now they were gone — along with the man I may/may not have dreamed up.
Still not fully awake I checked the basics — mobile, wallet, haversack & water bottle. Something wrong with that order but anyways.
It’s early, really early. I look out, it’s pitch dark. I haven’t slept well — not unusual for the first day of travel.
The Odiya guys are up, watching random videos of women dancing. Hmmm… A station arrives, I get tea. It’s good, stirs me up. Infact… ohoh!
“Pleasssseeee be clean!!” I pray as I walk to the train toilet.
Right outside, a man is asleep. Squeezed in the narrow passage, a gunny bag for a bedsheet, feet jammed against the unlocked door, he enjoys his zzzz without a care in the world. At that moment, I am envious of him.
Enroute to the seat after my morning ablutions, I notice the hawkers zoom by, calling out chai-coffee. A lady asks for help to shut her bunk bed, a little girl peaks at us doing that and around me the train begins to stir.
The night is lost, a new dawn awaits. Can’t wait to write.