It was late in the evening, about 7:45 as per the clock and as usual the Indian Railways was living up to its expectations. The well-endowed, super fast express was about one and a half hours late. Me and my father, along with half a dozen people who had come along for a family see-off felt harassed. After all, everyone was expected to stay there and meet all expectations with an expected attitude of extreme hospitality.
Finally, we were on board on the only AC compartment that the train had. As we took our berths I wondered how our fellow passengers would be like. My previous experiences in that regard were no good and this was one aspect that had always bothered me. And yes, to be honest, I had always expected something usual from them. I recalled a lady and a child who cried all night and kept the entire coach awake, a noisy couple who quarrelled all the way through, a….
The flashback of my souvenirs was interrupted by a coolie who was being instructed by a buxom lady to keep the trolley under the berth. She was followed by another figure, who to my surprise turned out to be a beautiful, fair, young, delicate and feminine structure.
It was her daughter not even half as formidable. She wore a red tee on white denim that extended a couple of inches above the ankles and a laced footwear. With those rosy cheeks, the soothing smile and those sparkling eyes, she seemed to have the cutest face that I had ever seen. They took their places right in front of us (and more importantly the girl took the one facing mine).
From the very first look, I could make out her being an extrovert. And let me tell you, like most of the times, I was wrong with my expectations yet again. She was a little too sophisticated and over-mannered. The way she carried herself made me feel it improper to force a conversation.
With absolutely no attempts to break the ice, I had my dinner and went off to sleep a little while later. I was in the grudges of sleep in no time. The next day I woke up at about six in the morning and to my surprise found all my co-passengers awake already. The very first thing that I came to know was that our train was a little late, three and a half hours almost.
Yes, you got it right; I said a little late. With my chores done, I reapproached my place and tried to be the God of Patience. But then came my habit of saying “Shucks” in a panicky or an irritating situation. And as the delay became lengthy, my “shucks frequency “ shot up like the Wall Street charts in a March full go.
All of a sudden I could hear one of my “shucks” echo. It was an unexpectedly shrill one. And then again! But hold one, I didn’t even move my lips this time. I found the cute face smiling at my confused self. She said it again “Shucks!”. Oh, I never knew it could sound so mellow.
Well, that was the start of our conversation. Her name was Anna. It sounded so enchanting the way she took it, with a lot of invigorating charm as one would have expected. She wore all kinds of expressions while talking about things. And even I would have doubted my involvement in those talks if you had asked me some fine day; at least the degree of it. It was very unexpected of me. We had a lot in common especially our everlasting love for ice cream. She came out to be the neighbour to my uncle who had just shifted to a new apartment.
So, the next time we visited him, I made it a point to meet Anna and her family; in the same order of preference of course. I had never expected her family to be so hospitable, but they were unexpected; her mother in particular.
I once came across a neighbourhood friend of hers whom she had told that I was her boyfriend. Oh, would you believe that? I had never expected something of this sort coming up.
We did go out together at times when she would call me up and force me for an ice cream outing. Then I had to take her for a drive on the freeway. She seemed to be quite fond of my driving maneuvers. The only thing that her mother expected was an informal assurance from my side. So this has been our story for long.
And yes, she has been naughty at the ice cream parlour for quite some time. She even threatens to cry out and tell everyone that I kidnapped her. The only way I could save her was to get another strawberry sundae. And then you could easily make out the triumphant smile and the sparkle in her eyes, the moment she laid her hands on it. After all, what would you expect from a seven-year-old child?
Hey, by the way, how did you expect it to end…huh?
-By Yousuf Farooqi
Yousuf Farooqi is a trainer and SME in one of the largest Fortune 500 corporations. An engineer by education; Yousuf is a passionate biker, sports shooter, MMA enthusiast and a multilingual writer.
We thank Yousuf for sharing the story with us. Look out for more amazing stories from Yousuf on Creative Lichens. Lot of intriguing stuff awaiting you… 🙂