The Train of Thoughts
Blog :rhymes and rubbish
Date: 5/14/2012 10:59:03 AM
I must have been asleep for a while, for the quivering beside me had now become palpable to my senses. I squinted to expect a wicked kid up for some mischief but instead, it was a “monstrous vermin” that greeted my sight. Repulsed by its presence, I drew away. It seemed to notice my grimacing air and spoke up at once, “I know it’s unusual for you but believe me, I am a salesman on my way to work. I have no idea what transpired last night that I turned into this. By the way, I am Gregor Samsa*!” Apathetic to his reasoning, I nodded and looked away.
Outside the glass window of the train, the sky had turned grey. Gloominess was apparent and an eerie mood had settled. The bright, sunny morning had been enveloped inside a cape of cold despair. I was beginning to sink into another round of snooze when I noticed a tall man sitting opposite me. The train hadn’t halted at any station yet and I didn’t see anyone enter either. It seemed as if he had appeared out of nowhere. He was peculiarly pale, had unusually pointed ears and knowingly stared at me. Just then, a group of kids came running from the left coach, giggling amongst themselves. The man’s gaze shifted to the little kids. He said, “Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!**” With sharp-looking teeth and a crimson red mouth, he had his thirsty eyes fixed on them. Suddenly, the train halted with a jerk and the door cracked open. Jolted out of his trance, he got up and darted out. After a pause, the train resumed its course.
Next, a pair of rhythmic footsteps grabbed my attention. The woman sitting at the far end of the coach had risen from her seat. She went and stood by the door. I noticed that she had dropped her handkerchief so I went and bent down to pick it up for her. It was a beautiful kerchief dotted with bright, red strawberries***. I held up the precious piece of cloth and called out to her. But she looked at me and softly said, “I must lose it. Only then will it confess.” The train came to a shuddering halt and she glided out, disappearing in a smudge of smoke.
*Gregor Samsa is the protagonist of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
**A line from Bram Stoker’s Dracula
***Reference to William Shakespeare’s Othello where Desdemona loses the handkerchief gifted to her by Othello.
(Note: I take the train (Delhi Metro) to work everyday. One of the things that I’ve noticed is the way people spend their travel time reading a book – while someone reads their course book; others pick up a best-seller. They all carry different books and the only thing that remains uninterrupted is the joy of reading. This piece of fiction has been inspired by the characters of the three of my most favourite books – The Metamorphosis, Othello and Dracula, interspersed with my imagination. The title too is suggestive – it’s a train journey and well, imaginative thoughts rule it)