The Boy On the Train

I slump down in my seat after a long day that never seemed to end, rest my head on the cushioned backrest and let my tired eyelids droop for all of ten seconds. Then I hear laughter. Loud, boisterous laughter. And I instantly look up.
I see him through the bars. Gleaming, stainless steel horizontal ones that seem to slice through his face. The setting sun casts shadows that dance along his shirt. I see the sparkle in his eyes, an obvious joyous excitement in them. He’s in the midst of an animated conversation, I can sense by the grin on his face.  I cannot see the boy he’s talking to, he has his back turned towards me.  But I can still hear him laugh.
As I look on, he throws his head back, does a flick of his mane and winks at his friend. They break into peals of laughter again and this time unwittingly, I smile. It is infectious. And then he signs. His hands move with amazing dexterity, the expressions on his face changing with every action of his. I watch mesmerised as the friend replies with signs of his own. And suddenly the world around me fades away as I get drawn into their conversation. A perfectly normal teenage conversation playing out before me – with all the typical ingredients – friends, laughter, ribbing, recollection and some more laughter.  I don’t understand most of it, there are no words and yet I hear the music.
Then his eyes meet mine through the bars and suddenly I feel like an intruder. My cheeks burn red as I struggle to look away, my smile still pasted on my face. A deer caught in the headlights. He nudges his friend and he turns to look at me too. I wonder if they will yell at me, knowing but not realising at that very minute that they unfortunately cannot do that, even if they would have wanted to. In that moment, I worry about getting chastised by two kids less than half my age; I would realize later how baseless the thought was.   
And then he sends a smile my way. A heart warming one. His friend looks at me and actions a bigger grin. And I cannot help but smile back. They flick me a mock salute and wave a goodbye, grinning at me as I alight. I wave back, still smiling, feeling as if I have just been part of an inside joke between friends, one that takes away the fatigue of the day.  

I walk home lost in thought, still a little in awe. I might have a hundred different problems, 99% of them imaginary, but then these are the light moments that remind me, no – humble me, and drive home the point – no matter what, life’s still alright.  

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Jayashree Srivatsan

I started reading expecting some sad scene but that made me smile too…lovely writing


🙂 Experiencing it had the same effect on me 🙂 Thanks!

Shreya Jacob

Beautifully written. Very touching and especially when you can relate to it. I had a similar experience at a traffic signal where a bunch of kids were clothed in tattered rags but were much richer in happiness! I looked at them and they looked at me, I waved and they waved back vigorously with wide toothy smiles. It took me back to that moment and I have you to thank for that!


Well written…good handwriting. Cushioned backrest..means 1st class.. nice.. I had a similar experience.. may not be very similar but an experience nevertheless…I waved my hands across the bar…and the bartender came by, not so happily.. probably because I held the beer mug with the same hand that I waved with and spilt the water I was drinking in it..and when I just thought it was going to be a sad ending, I noticed that the girl across was also waving with a smile on her face, her lips moved but I couldn't hear what she was saying..then I realized she was calling the bartender as well..and it was a terrible ending…


Reading you after a long time! Loved the post, especially the last phrase. Life indeed is alright for the most part. If only we stopped focusing on the things that are not alright!


"Richer in happiness" – They do seem so na, with their toothy grins and their unkempt hair, not a care in the world, carefree souls, nowhere to rush to. Aah, the grass will always be green.


I am indeed penning one after a long time too! Glad you liked it, thank you! 🙂 If only, but then where does that happen for real, right?


Oh Andy! Just pen those fun travelogues yaar! You know for sure, Manj and I are already in line for a signed one 🙂

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