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I am participating in the 30 Days Letter Challenge where you write one letter each day. The 27th in the list is a letter to ‘The friendliest person you knew for only one day’


Dear Friendliest Person I Knew For Only One Day,

Come to think of it, I cannot claim to have known you for one whole day, just a few hours only. But those few hours certainly earns you the tag of the friendliest person.

It was during one of my interminable train journeys that I came across you. Hmmm… Train journeys do seem to play a major role in my life, don’t they? Not surprising I guess. I really love going on long train journeys. Music, books and solitude in the comfort of your berth with the opportunity to observe (and interact with) people if I so wished, I couldn’t ask for more. One had to make do with the horrible food dished out. of course, the only drawback of these sort of travels, as I can see it.

So there I was that day, on the start of yet another of those journeys, this time a return trip home from Baroda. Having boarded the train after lunch, I had read for a while and dozed off with the Argumentative Indian (Amartya Sen) face down on me and the glasses still resting on my nose. You boarded the train a little while later, from the very next stop and probably saw me thus. Later you’d tell me how the Argumentative Indian (‘She reads Amartya Sen!’) intimidated you and also how you expected your journey to be one of few words between you and your ‘intellectual’ co-passenger. But how different it turned out to be, eh?

When I woke up, I saw this guy with a huge eyes (pardon me, I noticed them to be really huge) and luxurious mustache sitting across. I smiled in my friendly fashion and you returned the smile tentatively. Unknown to me, the Argumentative Indian’s ominous shadow was looming between us.

I don’t remember exactly how we started talking. Probably it was the universal conversation starter, “Where are you headed to?” Whatever it had been, there definitely was no looking back after that, was there? One thing led to another and we were talking and laughing, thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Our children, places we had been to, train journeys, career women and homemakers, you name it and we probably had something to say on it. Books of course played an important part in our chatter.

That’s when you confessed to me that you did not expect me to be the cheerful talker, but some ‘serious’ type. Surprised, I asked what led you to form such an opinion about me. People usually have the habit of taking me for a duffer. I kid you not. Anyways, you pointed to the Argumentative Indian. Anyone who read such a book (you admitted you were a ‘light’ reader) was bound to be too highbrow for you to enjoy their company you thought, was your reply. I doubled up with laughter imagining someone thinking of me as ‘highbrow’. What an elevation from the otherwise lowly status of a duffer. I remember assuring you that what you called ‘light’ were the same books I usually read, the Argumentative Indian was an exception. Hadn’t you noticed that it had put me to sleep, I added mischievously. But tell me, you learned a valuable lesson that day, didn’t you? To not judge a person by the books they read? I am pulling your leg. But then again, seriously, don’t you think I am right?

Do you know, those were the most fun-filled and cheerful three hours that I have ever spent with a stranger. The laughter and amazing camaraderie we enjoyed was such that you who had resigned yourself to a boring three hours of silence said that time had just flown. I fully agreed. When your stop hove into sight, and you prepared to disembark, I was disappointed that you weren’t travelling a longer distance with me. I gathered up courage to ask you if you had a Facebook account. To my delight I found that Zuckerberg had got to you. When I reached home, I looked you up on Facebook and sent you a friends request. Or else I would have missed reading what you had to say of me,

“Met by “accident” on Tvm Express and got derailed by the sheer spontaneity, wit, humour and her infectious +ve vivacity. Never have talked to any unknown co passenger with so much fun. Cheated on my office time, early morning to have a cursory glance at your blogs.

Will surely attempt to fulfill my latent but a strong desire to “write”. Reach home safely and “let your fingers do the Tap Dance” as you cannot keep your readers/ admirers waiting any longer !!”

You bet. Never have I talked to a stranger with so much fun as well. Is it any wonder that I chose to write to you, today? But being friends on Facebook is not the same as meeting face to face. So maybe someday we will meet again and spend another few delightful hours talking like we did the last time.


The unknown co-passenger turned known Facebook friend.

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©Shail Mohan 2014