There’s an opposite to déjà vu. They call it jamais vu. It’s when you meet the same people or visit places, again and again, but each time is the first. Everybody is always a stranger. Nothing is ever familiar.”
the train shot out from the Nizamuddin station towards Ambala, I was travelling alone for the first time in 10yrs. It was a destination of my choice, for a purpose that solely excited me. as I looked around, the train was filled with strangers,, of course the question of strangers in a society which estranges everybody from it – while forcing everybody to assimilate their own alienation – takes cover under dubious and sinister masks is quite ridiculous.
Train journeys fascinate me no end, look at us, what most us desire more than an season or weather, is the comfort of being strangers, at least to ourselves yet we go rushing into conversation with absolute strangers we meet on train… during a travel, we could talk to someone for hours and never even their name, we share our deepest secrets and never see them again…. I wonder why that is sometimes we feel freer speaking to a stranger than to people we know… I wonder why.. Maybe because the stranger sees us the way we are, not as he wishes to think we are.
Once the train began to move, was I looked out, it was late afternoon streets, everyone hurrying along, going about their business. Someone walking along the rain drenched sidewalk. He is covered with an umbrella and all I can see is a dark coat and shoes that are striking the puddles. Yet he must be a hero in his own life story. Maybe he is the love in someone’s life. what he does could probably change the world. I wonder what it would be to be him … then I continued looking around.
It was then I chanced on her, she was a stranger, dusky, beautiful kohl eyes, and a scar that ran right along the cheek, this somehow only seem to enhance her power. She was not just any stranger, she was “the stranger” and that of course made the difference. There was something about her that wanted me to acknowledge her smile and initiate a conversation, there was a part of me that was reluctant to do so.
But I knew that the exchange was inevitable for there are no coincidences in life. What person that wandered in and out of our life was there for a purpose even if it caused us harm. Sometimes it does not make sense the short periods of time we get people, or out comes from their choices. But here it was not too small to be a mistake.
I had to go to the rest room. She looked at me, and smile, she “I have been observing since you entered the coach”
There was nothing I could do, and then give a tepid smile,
“Has anyone told you that you have a gorgeous face, ” it is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in mirror of another loving, caring human being. This being absent from my life this kind of appreciation was an absolute surprise,
The gamut of thoughts went from she is pulling a fast one, why does she need to flatter me, oh! She is back from one of those self help workshop where you are supposed to walk up to a stranger and compliment her.
Yet for courtesy’s sake I did deliver a weak thank you. By the time the attendant arrived with the samosa’s, she was busy with her work, and me with mine.
“For the kind attention of the passengers, we are due to arrive at Chandigarh in a short while.” My stranger and I got up, to pick our luggage. She walked up to me, and handed me a book, inside was inscribed…
“For a stranger who walked into my and let me experience incredible peace. Thank You”
Before I could respond she rapidly vanished into the crowd. What occurred to me then was there was something very comforting about strangers… they could exist forever as the same, unknowable mass.