‘I wish I could travel alone,’ I always used to think.
“You are too young,” they would say. I used to visit my uncle and grandparents during my summer vacation. My mother used to drop me and my uncle would accompany me on the return journey.
But this year was special. I had just written my tenth boards and my parents thought I could manage on my own for one hour. Long tuition classes helped my parents to believe that I can be safe out of their sight. My father made sure that I was seated and my uncle was supposed to pick me after an hour of the train ride.
I was excited to be alone. I waved at my father as the train departed and shouted as it accelerated. Soon, it started to drizzle and I could not be any happier. I took my hand out of the window to feel the rain. I sprayed it on my face as well. But the aged person sitting next to me was not amused.
“Sit straight and do not make a noise,” he ordered. People around me looked at me disgust and I had to comply. I washed my embarrassment by looking at the rain and greenery outside.
A vendor passed by with a tray full of chips, cakes, and soft drinks. I wanted to have one of each but I could not afford. In the battle of which one to pick, I decided to save some money to buy a cricket ball later on. A guy in his twenties stopped the vendor and bought a packet of chips, a pack of cake and a bottle of aerated water.
‘I wish I were a grown up,’ I thought.
I am in my twenties now. I have to frequently travel alone for work and it sucks.
‘I wish I could be a kid again,’ I think.
I get on a train. I have urgent work to be done. I open my laptop but fail to concentrate. Some young men are laughing out loud and I feel helpless. To add to my bucket of troubles, it begins to rain. Water is spraying from the windows and hitting my face. I try to close the window but it is stuck. “Damn,” I shout.
A vendor passes by. I purchase a packet of chips and a Coke from the vendor. As I gulp down the drink, I see a young boy staring at me. He takes notice of me and gets back to his phone.
I am reminded of my younger self. All I wanted was to grow up and eat a full packet of chips with Coke. And I want to be this kid sitting in front of me.
‘Maybe this kid is happier than me,’ I think and then I look outside to cherish the monsoon with lush green fields while the kid is busy staring at his phone.