|A bus travelling through vast fields.|
Courtesy: World Bank Photo Collection on Flickr | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Late winter , air was still cold and dry. One would shiver given the harsh environment. They had begun gathering and load luggage in the bus. Meeting and greeting every new-comer. There are smiles and chatter all around but his is an anxious soul. He has made some plans for the trip but he could hardly include his fancies. As the night grows deeper, people start boarding the bus and taking up seats.
He is early to board and blocks two seats. As she enters the bus, he can do little to stop himself from wishing her to sit beside him. But as she takes a seat two rows away from him, not even recognizing his presence, he becomes a bit more sullen and decides to go to a lonely corner window seat in the back of the bus. He unconsciously wishes no one to be aside him and spontaneously, in his brain, decides to keep everyone away.
As the front seats in bus are no longer available, this damsel thin and clad quite candidly takes the seat beside him. Without being asked he tells her, "I am not closing the window, even when the bus is at full speed." She simply nodes and shrugs her shoulders and leans back in the seat while talking to a figure in bus's corridor. He keeps silence. Bus jostles and makes slow movement on city streets. The wind is hurting him, but he is adamant. He can still bear it as the city is still warm and his jacket is thick.
He is deep in thought. By now the bus is on city outskirts and moving swiftly as traffic has now dwindled down. The winds are coarse and blunt. He braves them in the face, keeping his pride intact. His back towards his co-passenger, he is not aware of the discomfort being caused to her. Suddenly, he feels a hand on his shoulder. He is suddenly mild and no more rigid, she whispers, "Please, close the window". Making no arguement, he just closes the window silently trying to plug the gaps that might leak wind to her. He is careful, yet aware not to let it be evident. Through the night he gazes at her, making just mild talk. His brittle surface giving into a warm interior.
By the day break, bus has reached its destination. The party is supposed to move to the train for their journey onwards. The hustle-bustle is back again. The night's silence lost. And the companions having moved as swiftly as they had come together just for a journey amongst hundreds of days. Train honks as the orange-red sun begins to warm the Earth on South-Eastern horizon...