“Why did you take the train?” asked my friend, as he met me on the platform and stared curiously at my untidy and disheveled look, “You could have come by air?”
“Aha!” I said, and grinned, “I saw my dad!”
“But your dad’s been dead many years Bob?”
“I knew he’d be at the station before I got onto the train on the same platform in Bangalore we used to wait on when I was a child. Again, I saw him tell me to cross to the other side, and I was afraid, because the bridge those days long ago had wooden planks as flooring, and through them I could see the steam monsters below, letting out their dragon smoke. I used to be afraid! And then he’d scoop me up and carry me across, and in those powerful arms I would feel safe!”
“And as I felt my dad’s arms all over again,” I continued, “I realized huger, bigger, divine arms had held me time and again across life’s journey, and I sat on that same platform and thanked my heavenly father for carrying me across life’s dangers time and again!”
“And how was your journey Bob?”
“An old South Indian brahmin couple sat in front of me!” I said. “We had a small table between us. I felt cramped and a little irritated as I could not stretch my longs legs without hitting hers! And then the biscuit man came!”
“The biscuit man?” asked my friend puzzled.
“And they bought two packets of biscuits!” I said, “And gave me one!”
“One packet!” I said, “And I tried to refuse, but the old lady, opened the packet with slightly trembling fingers and placed it in front of me. Suddenly my legs stopped getting bothered about their discomfort! Suddenly I knew what love the people of my country have for each other!”
My friend smiled.
“And then,” I continued, “I saw an old man clambering to a window seat that was not his, and the passenger to whom it belonged to gave it up and sat next to him, and as the old man looked out and grinned and waved at people the train passed, the man to whom the seat belonged to, smiled to himself. In that sharing I knew the meaning of true joy!”
“Bob!” said my friend, “Truly you got more than what a flight would have given you, but why are you looking so unruly?”
“I stood at the door,” I said, “as the train entered the station!”
“To feel the breeze?”
“No to feel the fullness of friendship!” I said, “And I felt it as I saw your face brightening when you saw me and waved to me! Now, will you still ask me why I took the train?”
We laughed out aloud and did I hear my dad laugh with us as we left the crowded platform?
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