Ever since I was a kid, a visit to the railway station meant the acquisition of at least ONE new book, if I was just meeting someone, and at least two or three if I was going somewhere, anywhere, on a train.
On a train trip back to the grind at Delhi , ( from a too short weekend at home), around eight at night , I was knee deep into an Agatha Christie, when my peripheral vision and hearing latched on to two young men who boarded the train at a minor station. Apparently they had to travel on extremely short notice to Gwalior ( which was just 4hrs away ),and after much wrangling with the TT for last minute seats in that 3rd AC compartment, one of them came and sat on my berth.
By this time, due to my trusty peripheral vision and the fact that he was in camos (camouflage uniform and heavy boots) , I had correctly recognised this guy (and his friend) as a Y.O..i.e. Young Officer( in army jargon) or, "hmmmmm...Interesting, I wonder if he's a bachelor" in grown-up-still-single- daughter-of-army-officer parlance ;).However ,in accordance with my self imposed rule of minimum contact with fellow passengers, (applicable to solo train journeys only), I continued to scan the greek book in my hand, pretending that I was the only one sitting there.
After an hour or so, he commented politely-
“Ma’am , whenever you’d like to lie down, please let me know , I’ll go up to the middle berth.”
As I was at an interesting point (in the book;), I told him that he could continue sitting for some time to come, since I had no plans of going to sleep just yet ( I was and still am a late bird and an insomniacal train traveler ).Since the ice had cracked a bit, he asked what I was reading (of course he couldn’t read the inch high title of the book;)…and thus began a conversation ,during the course of which he discovered that I was a card carrying member of S.O.D.A i.e "Senior Officer's Daughters Association" ( an imaginary sorority whose existance I deny ;) and I discovered that other than being a Y.O , he was also a member of S.O.S.A (again ,an imaginary organisation as according to the members;) and many an interesting similarity in the lives that we had led so far.
A few hours later , we had exchanged numbers , and he had left the train at Gwalior. We haven't spoken or met each other since, however the ease with which we could converse, helped me take a decision that I’d been mulling over for a while , namely whether I should marry back into the services or not .
As of now, I haven’t regretted my decision for a single moment.