Strangers of the Night – #HBDImtiazAli

Dressed in a plain white patiala and a long printed white tee, Geet is finally about to sleep when a crass noise startles her. She bends to look at the direction where the noise is coming from. The TC is screaming at a hippie looking man, dressed in baggy red and black checkered pants, denim blue shirt and a khakee brown open vest, standing at the door of the compartment. The man turns and starts walking towards her berth while the TC still screams behind him. He staggers a little while walking, giving away his inebriated state and stops right opposite to her berth. She notices his hazel brown eyes moving around and can smell a mix of rum and peppermint coming from him. Their eyes are now locked. He begins to look away when he hears the words.
“Tum musician ho ya singer?” She looks at his guitar.Without saying a word, he settles on his berth and pulls out a bottle of Old Monk from the side pocket of his backpack. She is now getting down from the berth.”Hi, I am Geet, tum?”, she stretches out her hand.
“Jordan”. He turns and starts looking at the window.
She happily takes her hand back.The train stops.“Chalo kuch khaake aate hai!”He doesn’t move and takes another sip from his bottle.“Arre chalo! Please?”He does feel like taking a smoke. He gets down. While she sips on his cup of tea and he indulges in his cigarette, she incessantly talks about her family, friends, her love for train journeys and her childhood dream of eloping with her lover. He briefly turns to look at her at the mention of her evil plan and she finally sees a change of expression on his face.”Aur yeh bhaagne ka plan kiske saath hai?”, he says without looking at her.”Abhi tak mila nahi hai! Milte hi plan bhi bana lungi“, she giggles.
Bohot kaand karne hai abhi. List lambi hai!”He doesn’t say anything. The cloud of smoke helps him forget the traumatizing memories. On the other hand, Geet is more than filling in for his silence. Her high spirits and zest for life make him forget his grief for a while.They board the train and her incessant questions break his silence. His next concert is in Delhi and the station is close. She wants to ask him to play for her but resists. The train is starting to stop. He starts gathering his stuff. She can feel her stomach churn. Jaise koi train choot rahi ho.Mere paas mere concert ka ek V.I.P. pass hai, chalogi?”
His words break the chain of her thoughts.For the first time in a long time, she is out of words. She picks her bags, and something falls out. He bends to pick it up and is surprised to see that it’s a pass to his concert. She bites her lower lip and gives him a childlike smile.
“Chalo!”

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