Read Part-1 here
Her slender frame was bent like a bow by the luggage she flung on her back. Her white shirt crumpled where the bag met her body and made a random design on her skin. Dragging a trolley bag behind her Aakriti regretted telling her mom,” You will come to the station and we both will cry. I am starting to work. It is a new phase. I don’t want to cry. You people don’t come. I will go by myself.” It was like the first breath of independence. She made sure she didn’t do anything that her parents did that reasoned why she wouldn’t get a coolie to life her bags, why she wouldn’t tag along a water bottle from home but buy it here in the train. Her face almost turned blue as she stopped breathing to staunch the smell from making way to her tongue through her nose. The train arrived and she pulled herself together ready for the tussle and tug of war through the door. C1 – 59 she verified her ticket. A young woman looked at her with a sheepish smile. She was told that the little girl whose nose seemed to be running perpetually, who, disgustingly wiped it off with her tiny finger with a mark of perfect and routine – was her daughter who couldn’t travel alone.” My seat is C1-03. You are travelling along right? Please make this adjustment from me.”The place already seemed germ infected. The little girl’s hands dabbed all over her seat. Aakriti passed a smile with little effort and dumped her luggage at seat no. 3.
“I will call when I reach. I will be fine. You people take care. Now don’t delay me or I will miss the train.” with these words Aakaash darted his way to his coach from the crowded platform. Worried and loving eyes of his parents lingered on him till he disappeared into the crowd. Though Mr.Sharma never showed the pride he had for the boy the tears that welled up his eyes and a swollen chest gave away his happiness about how the boy has grown and was now on way to make a living for himself, “Eh.. Shanta.. my son. Engineer, joining work? Can you believe it?” C-47 Aakaash reached the seat to find it occupied by a couple who clutched their hands as they saw him. He sensed the request he spoke politely making an effort to keep away traces irritation in his voice, “ Which is your seat number?” The man explained himself with a sense of urgency,” This is my wife. We are travelling together for the first time. My seat no. 2” The stupid smiles of the couple meeting Aakaash’s eyes and made his way to the seat before he actually puked!
It was now only a matter of time before conversations weave their way through the awkward recognition of an unpleasant meeting few years ago. A silhouette, dreams of making it to IIT. The placement in the same company, same location- smiles shared, crushes developed and blooming love swept their lives.
P.S: The story had started with the idea of a series of meetings till they grow old. A feeling of "what could have happened if..?" in both their minds. A affection which cannot be placed as love nor just familiarity or infatuation.. just the destiny bringing them to together in awkward moments where they support each other without notice. Ah! But.. I guess that can't be squeezed in a short fiction. So their lives change and they meet and fall in love. What happens to them later.. I'll let the readers unfold it for them in their own thoughts.