She was slim and seventeen, wearing a white tee shirt and pair of short blue jeans. Her pair of stiletto matched her tee-shirt. A back clip united her loose and trimmed hairs touching and leaving her shoulders. Tatanagar railway station was calm barring occasional announcements. Tucking her two slim palms into the straight pockets, she would stroll on the platform and walk back to her father Girdhar.
Red dots of a hanging digital clock had been busy to show the current time, still she would turn her right hand to check and calculate the time left for the arrival of her train. The August night was cool and sky was clear. Sometimes gust of wind would sneak into the platform and spread a wet smell.
Overhead speakers announced coming of her train. She got up and tried to unite her upward going top and slipping jeans. Though her father had warned, she looked towards the end of the platform to locate the light of her train. Her ticket had only a sitting accommodation and her father was concerned to confirm that. When the train stopped, he rushed to a ticket examiner.
“Sir, my daughter is alone and her ticket is in reservation against cancellation (RAC) status. Confirm that if possible,” he requested.
The ticket examiner advised her to sit on her allotted berth and wait for her co-passenger to join. He turned to her father and said, “If the other passenger fails to join, your daughter will get a full berth.” He smiled.
Her father set her luggage under the side lower berth. Out of curiosity, she alighted and read the name of her co-passenger. ‘Rehman Male 18, Tatanagar to Pune,’ she read and joined her father. Girdhar blessed her.
“Papa, you needn’t worry about me, I’ll call you regularly.” An unsecured Ridhima, tried to secure and console her father.
She stood at the gate to wave at her father. Train chugged along. Distance between her father and the train increased. For sometime, she sat on the berth and expected the ticket examiner or her co-passenger to turn up. However, to her happiness, neither the ticket examiner nor her co-passenger appeared.
She eyed through windows and enjoyed passing silhouetted scenery, bathed in moon light. Fragrance of paddy plants invaded the coach; she inhaled the fragrance and dozed in a sitting position.
A shaft of light fell on her face and a shower of lime deodorant invaded her nose. She returned from her temporary trance and in front of her eyes, stood a clean shaved boy, wearing a pair of black cargo jeans and light yellow polo shirt.
The boy eyed her body bathed in the white fluorescent light. He read ‘Catch Me’ on her T-shirt as the C of catch and E of me touched inside of her breasts that she wanted others to take note of. He smiled in mind and wove an instant dream. For sometime, he thought to respect the T-quote, but paid a silence respect. “Excuse me, this is my berth.” He broke the lull.
“But this is mine as well.” She tried not to leave the berth.
“How come this is possible?”
“I think your ticket is like that of mine ... half confirmed.” She smiled.
He paused and said, “...let’s share the seat.”
She moved a little and he adjusted himself on that part. ‘What the hell she thinks, when half of the berth is allotted to me?’ He thought and after a brief pause said, “Hi, I’m Rehman.” He looked in a quizzical way asking her name silently.
“I know your name. Me Ridhima.” Her glossy lips blossomed.
“You know my name!” His eyes widened.
“Simple, read on the chart.” She bragged and smiled. “By the way, where are you from?”
“I live in Azad Nagar.”
“Oh, me from Adityapur. Going to Pune?”
“I’m an engineering student in the Pune Engineering College. In second year.”
“Oh, that’s good. It’s my first journey.” She became happy thinking about his support in Pune.
Her cell phone rang, and the ring tone described concern of her father. Her father asked about the confirmation of berth. After a little pause, she replied, “Oh, it’s confirmed, Papa.” Her father again blessed her and snapped the call.
“You told a lie to your father?”
“... A harmless one....” She smiled and continued to prove her truthfulness. “but what’s the use of a confirm berth, when we’re going to share one berth? Had I told him the truth, he’d have asked many questions.” She smiled.
Rehman became happy, as for the entire 30 hours of journey he will be with a beautiful girl in her teen. He searched for the ticket examiner and requested him not to confirm the berth. The ticket examiner smiled and he smiled back.
He wove many dreams as her smiling face dangled in front of his eyes. Ridhima slept on the berth while he reclined to the berth, in a sitting position. She made her left hand a pillow and faced towards the interior of the coach, while he looked towards the window, and tried to adjust with the room she had allowed.
‘Why does railway provide this kind of reservation? It is nothing but hijacking peace of two passengers, though they pay equal to others.’ He thought and rued for his request to the ticket examiner.
Ridhima also swam in a stream of thoughts. ‘How can I sleep on this narrow berth in presence of a boy? God knows what He wants.’ She left everything to Him and closed her eyes.
They tried to sleep to ensure peaceful sleep to others, though they were not able to sleep. Fire and dried straw seldom befriend. Straw wanted to burn to ashes and the fire wanted to reduce straw into ashes. No one initiated or said anything but silence had its own music. He dangled between Should I and Should I not as his mind became a battleground between ethics and need of hour. Both ethics and time tried to overpower him. She withdrew herself to a cocoon of no-first move.
Impulses from every part of his body travelled and gathered inside his brain and poked him to take a decision soon or die on the berth. ‘No ... not any more.’ He thought and braced himself to put his thought to action. He gently slithered his fingertips on her hip and his heart began to beat.
Ridhima felt electrified, as a strong current of sensation ran throughout her body and caused goose bumps. She sizzled and moved a little to thrust her right hand into her crouch. His crawling came in instalment like labour pain, as he wanted to read her reaction. She tried to guard her reaction, though she knew how difficult it was and pushed her knee against his thigh. He paused and she wanted him to continue. After sometime, Rehman again started.
‘What the hell am I doing? What she’ll think about me. Shit!’ He thought. Next moment stopped all activities. ‘But how can I sit with her when bestiality rides me?’ He pressed one of his hands between his legs.
He wanted to prove his thought wrong. ‘She doesn’t say anything, nor moves or protests. No, I can’t control.’ Paused a little and repeated his creeping. He realised there was no protest, as she only touched his hand and withdrew.
‘Go on.’ He heard a divine voice and the crawling creature moved around her fly.
She sizzled, but by force maintained inactivity. He felt encouraged and increased the speed of slithering. She reciprocated and both played with each other’s body. They pinched and tickled each other. Both got up and sat on the berth. She pushed her body towards him and he dragged himself towards her. They filled the little gap they had between their bodies and felt their heart beats. She transferred her weight onto his shoulder and he bent a little towards back. The next moment, she sank into his body and silently they talked many things, as sensation and feeling surrendered to time.
He felt elated and checked if anyone was awake and to his happiness, he found everyone sleeping or he pretended. No light was on, barring four lights on the two extreme ends of corridors. He walked to a gate and climbed up to reach to a tube light. A wire structure had only covered the tube light. He held the tube light by his thumb and index finger and screwed it half. Darkness spread in the corridor, as tube lights got rest. He became happy and wanted to embrace and kiss the darkness before embracing the girl.
Waited around the corridor pressing a cigarette between his lips and he cued her. Ridhima cat walked to the corridor and whispered something to his ears. She sneaked into a wash room. After a bout or two of cigarette, he tapped the door of the wash room. They enjoyed the time and loneliness.
They sat at the gate for sometime to enjoy the cool moon light, savouring the last few minutes, they passed together. Both felt the exhaustion of uniting bodies in their eyes and she slept on the berth while he slept in a sitting position.
Coffee cries of pantry car bearers disturbed their sleep. Both sipped coffee to recharge themselves. They smiled in mind while sipping coffee. Both would see through the windows to enjoy the passing scenery or stare sweetly at each other. They behaved, as if nothing happened.
Sitting of a girl with a boy was enough for others to guess anything, yes anything. A middle aged lady looked at Ridhima and jerked her head. “See how shamelessly she talks with that boy,” murmurs she to another lady and both would look at her.
“Her cleavage and crotch are clear. What has happened to girls of today, they love slinky dresses?”
However, it was a treat to male persons. Everyone cherished a dream to sit with her and sip beauty from close angle. She became a public property, as all wove different kinds of dreams, keeping her in mind. An informal contest was organised among all to embrace her in their bosoms, ahead of others. If someone found others staring at her, one would take a vow to uproot other’s eyeballs. Wholesale animosity checked all to think beyond dreaming. All agreed to declare Rehman as an object of detest and kick as he became a person of public jealousy.
When both realised their cynosure status, they walked to the gate and stood there to further their talk. Like ants on a cube of sugar, soon passengers gathered around the gate, perhaps all had some jobs around corridor. Both cursed shamelessness of people and decided to denude their sense of shame. Rehman pulled her and planted a kiss. Some passengers left the corridor.
“Thank God, some have still sense of shame,” murmured Ridhima.
The train chugged along without any knowledge that a beautiful girl was travelling on its bosom, weaving a love story.