I don’t know why I behaved like this.
No one else knows, but I know. And thinking on it for years, I haven’t found any solution – any appropriate solution I must say.
I was in a small town, for a program with a local NGO. It was a hectic day. A journey (not so comfortable) followed by number of formal and informal meetings. My public speech was well responded and the overall enthusiasm of the crowd was bit unexpected. People came in small groups and talked to me, shared their thoughts and feelings to me. A writer always looks forward to such exposure to life of others. Because, for any individual, a single life is monotonous enough.
So, I believe it was not the fatigue of failure. It was not fatigue of over-excitement. I was well fed by the organizers, so it was not fatigue of hunger or thirst. My train was at 11.30 at night. So, one of the well wishers dropped me at the station. They wanted me to entertain till the train arrived. But I insisted that I be dropped at the earliest, after meeting so many people in a day I just wanted to be alone for few minutes.
The family reluctantly left me at the station at 11.00 in the night. Within five minutes the announcement told me that my train was late by an hour. So, I found a clean bench to sit, pulled newspaper from my bag and started reading it. The station was only thinly crowded. Few trains were expected to arrive.
A train arrived and departed. After a few minutes, I heard a voice of my friend. I had couple of friends in this town, but I had not informed them about my visit – anticipating the lack of time. Neither I nor that NGO was so famous to announce my presence in the city through newspapers. This was one of my friend's voice. She was there, few feet away from me, with her family. From the luggage they were carrying, I could understand that they have just arrived from some other place.
I had good contact with the friend and her family. It was certain that they were not expecting me to be at the station in their town at this hour, without any prior information to them. They all looked tired and naturally wanted to hurry home. I saw them in full light.
And then without any conscious thought, I pulled the newspaper in front of my face and started reading, completely ignoring my friend and her family.
No, we did not have any conflict, not enmity. Not only my friend but her whole family loves me. They have stood by me in worst of my times and always shared my joy. On other occasions, I would travel thousands of kilometers just to meet them… but at that moment I did not want to meet any one of them. Any reason? Not at all.
The friend and the family disappeared from the platform. I could still call them and search for them and exchange few words with them if I wanted. But I did not want. I just avoided meeting them. I shielded myself away from them.
Why I behaved so? I do not know. I am not very social at times. But to this friend, I could frankly say that I did not want to talk, and she would understand… she had never forced me into any action against my wishes.
I think in every relationship there is a basic mutual trust. Until that is intact, relationships can survive tests, barriers and hazards. Once this trust is broken, nothing can replace it.
Fortunately my friend does not know this incident, but unfortunately I know it. I can’t help feeling guilty that I have done something which I was not supposed to do. Even if I tell this to her now, she will just laugh and accept it. The family has accepted all sorts of my unpredictable behavior.
Till today I do not know what madness I was in to act in such a way…
But what has been done can’t be 'undone'. The Wise Birbal was right when he told Badshaha, ‘Bundase gayee woh howdase nahi aati’ . Some things are irreplaceable in life, and I will have to live with that moment of wierdness... of course I am too full of such moments! :)
(Friends, don’t think much about it. It happend long ago, that sometimes I feel that it actually happened in last life or so….or may be it was my dream. I have the habit of mixing real and unreal at times.)