​   I  was returning to school  from  my vacation with a   ton of  food that  was  not  permitted  inside  the  campus. My copassenger  on the  train was  a  tall, burly man with a  thick beard and  eyebrows with a  menacing look.  We  did not  exchange a  word during the  journey. He  had  features that  could intimidate  an oversized grizzly bear  and  I  didn’t  find the  need to make  conversation. Making conversation with people  has  always been a  strength of  mine  and leaving them  fuming at  the end of it too lies in the range of my extraordinary skills. Hence, I decided not to mess about with the grizzly.   On  the  seat  adjacent  to ours, my gaze  fell  and comfortably rested  upon an attractive  lady. I  have  a  terrible  habit  of constantly staring at  extravagantly winsome  members  of  the  opposite  sex irrespective  of  their  age.  This woman was well  into her  thirties and  really pretty.  As all  people  do, she  caught  me  staring  at  her. For  a  split  second I  did not  know what  to do, and  then, slowly, I  smiled and  nodded at  her. She  returned  a  smile,  but  it  carried  an element  of  suspicion.   Soon, I  got  bored  and dozed  off.  Two minutes later,  I  woke  up to the  sound of  sobbing and  weeping.  Five  men,  with knives were  hijacking our  compartment. I  turned  to Grizzly, who had the  look of  a  seven  year  old school  boy painted all over  his face.  This sinister  looking man was now  cowering  before  the  five  young men. I  could  not  understand this by any  means.The  hijackers  approached  us.  The  man gave  them  his wallet  and  told them  in a  high pitched voice  that certainly failed  to live  up to his features, that  that  was  all  he  had.  They took away my money, watch, phone  and an unopened ginger  ale  can. I  was extremely incensed  and irked  because  I  had just  given  up five  thousand rupees in cash and  my expensive  watch and  phone.   Everyone  in the  compartment  was  shocked and  did not  know  what  to do.  All  our  cellphones were  taken.  The  thieves had  gained the  most  from  me  for  I  had  stupidly left  my wallet  in my pocket, instead  of  locking it  up in a  bag or something. I  asked  the  man in front  of  me, yeah,  the  grizzly- why he  didn’t  beat  them  up. His hairy face  manufactured an  expression that  a  girl  does when  you burp on the  dinner  table. He  said that  he  was  totally against  violence  and would not even lay a finger on another man. Meanwhile, the hijackers alighted at a station. The  woman who  was my object  of  scrutiny a  robbery and  a  nap  ago, was  like  any  other  passenger,  distressed. I  took the  chance  and  went  up to her  to console  her.  She  barely looked up as she  spoke  to me, but  I  was  close  enough  to get  her womanly aura.  My words of  consolation bounced off  her  like  a  tennis ball  bounces  off  a  tennis racquet, the  only difference being, the tennis racquet was marvellously beautiful. After  putrid food and unclean toilets, the  ticket  inspectors  are  probably the  most  irritating commodities that  one  may come  across on a train.  They  roam  about  elegantly clothed in ties and coats and black,  polished  shoes, never  jettisoning their scrupulous  dispostion even  when they lurk about  in the  middle  of  the  night  awakening passengers  to examine  their tickets. I  was angry  at  the  prospect  of  having  to take  my arms of  the  lady’s shoulders and languidly fish into my pocket for  the  tiny scrap  of  paper.  It  was missing. I  realised  that  I  had left  it  all  in my wallet  which the  hijackers  had taken. Now, if  I  had had  an innocent  face  of  an  eleventh grader,  the  ticket  man would have  pitied  me  and let  me  be.  But, I didn’t  possess any qualities of  a  standard  eleventh standard kid, even  possesing a  goatee  and  longish side  burns.  To worsen my image as a student, I had my arms firmly placed on the shoulders of a middle aged lady. All  the  passengers were  snoring away  blissfully and I  had  noone  to support  me  and  offer  proof  that  my ticket  had been taken  by thieves. I  didn’t  even  have  enough wad  to bribe  this depriver  of  sleep.  After  a  heated up argument, I  was discarded  at  the  next  station, one  that  I  had  not  even heard of.  Here  I  was without  the  basic  necessities  of  the  twenty-first  century. I  would have  to sleep in the  waiting room  and  borrow  someone’s  phone  to call  up the  school  taxi  to pick me  up from  wherever  this place  was.  As I  curled  up on a  bench, the  man  opposite to me  in the  train came  to my mind, why  would God even  create  this lamb in a  lion’s clothing?  If  he  actually was  what  he  looked  like, I  would have  been five  thousand rupees, a  cell-phone  and  a  watch richer  and  safely  on my way to school. However,  there’s a  cliched  saying ‘every cloud  has a  silver  lining’ and the  silver  border  that  my dark cloud branded was that  I  would be  able  to skip the Sociology exam  tomorrow, and  I  had not  spend  even a  split  second  preparing for  it. Smiling to myself  like  a  maniac,  I thanked  my big and  hairy copassenger  who had  just  saved  my life.        


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