The girl on the train (first)
August 19, 2008 8:02am CST
I had the compartment on the train to myself up to Rohana, and then a girl got on.the couple seeing her off were probably her parents, they seemedvery anxious about her comfort, and the woman gave the girl detailed nstructions as to where to keep her things, when not to lean out of windows, and how to avoid speaking to strangers. As I had become blind by then, I could not tell what the girl looked like, but I knew she wore slippers from the way they slapped against her heels,and I liked the sound of her voice. "Are you going all the way to Dehra Dun?" I asked her as the train pulled out of the station. I must have been sitting in a dark corner,because my voice startled her.She gave a little exclamation, and said, "I didn't know anyone else was here." Well, it often happens that people with good eyesight fail to see what is right in front of them. They have too much to observe,I suppose, whereas those who cannot see take in what registers most telling on their remaining senses. "I didn't see you either at first," I said. "But I heard you come in." I wondered if I would be able to prevent her from discovering that I couldn't see.I thought, provided I keep to my seat,it shouldn't be too difficult. "I'm getting down at Saharanpur,"the girl said. "My aunt is meeting me there.Where are you going?" "To Dehra Dun, and then to Mussoorie," I replied. "Oh, lucky you! I wish I were going to Mussoorie. I love the mountains. Especially in October." "Yes, this is the best time." I said,calling on my memories when I could see."The hills are covered with wild dahlias, the sun is delicious, and at night you can sit in front of a log fire and drink a little brandy. Most of the tourists have gone, and the roads are quiet and almost deserted." She was silent, and I wondered if my words had touched her, or whether she thought me a romantic fool. Then I made a mistake. "What is it like outside?" I asked.