I’ ve been so busy lately with interviews, college applications, entrance exams, presentations, what not! that I had completely forgotten my ‘problems‘ weren’t problems at all.
Today as I woke up, I had the weirdest dream I could ever imagine. Was it a dream? A nightmare? That remains a mystery.
So it went on something like this:
I was a student at a law school and after some really tiresome weeks I finally had my spring break. So there I am, joyfully boarding a train ‘Coach #A1 Seat #12’ read my ticket. I look super happy, super excited to be travelling all on my own! Having the “I’m an independent young girl now” vibe all the while. I settle in putting my bags down and spread a sheet on my berth put my pillow in place and plug in my iPod Beyoncé blaring through my earplugs. ( A little ‘Beyoncé’ never hurt anyone, right? ) The girl passing by smiles at me as she lip syncs All the single ladies.. alongside Beyoncé! I can’t help but return the gesture.
I put my magazines down and close my eyes as I drift into a calm comforting darkness and soon into a deep sleep.
When I wake up, it’s almost time for dinner. Since I had no dinner and 4 more hours before I finally reached my destination I decided I’d buy whatever snacks I found. My stomach grumbled one last time when I decided I’d get out and buy something to eat at the next stop. When the train finally did come to a hault, I got up. Ready to go buy some refreshments..
As I was stepping out I saw an elderly lady trip over wrappers and fall down. Almost out of reflex I reached out and caught her right before she could hit her head onto a metal knob-like thingy. I then took her back to her seat before I could step outside to buy anything. I asked her if she was alright and when she said she was, I decided I’d head out. Alas! I was too late and the train already started moving.
So I sat down with this old lady and we talked for quite a while. I grabbed my purse and was about to go to my own seat when the old lady grabbed me by my hand and asked me if I was hungry, I admitted I was and that I would get something at the next stop. When She offered me her own packed food, Pav Bhaji. I politely declined (I couldn’t possibly trouble this old lady so much, could I? ) and got up to leave when she intervened “I made it myself, I used to eat it with my granddaughter she loved it it’s always been her favourite! She would have been about your age, you know” I could sense the sadness in her voice. Only, it was more evident in her eyes. I sat down.
“Let’s eat!” I said, she smiled the most genuine smile I’ve ever seen.. as I ate the most amazing meal I’d had for as long as I could remember.. I asked about the granddaughter. The old lady was in tears, “I couldn’t save her” she said with a heavy voice.. She’d passed away at the age of 10. Cancer.
For a moment I was silent. Lost for words. How can you possibly say something to that? What can you say? I’m sorry? How does that help? It doesn’t. That’s when we heard a sudden loud shriek of metal gliding over stone and this extremely loud noise of shattering glass.. I was shaken awake to reality.
When we looked outside the windows it was dark. Nothing was visible. A guy came running inside, “there’s been an accident” he said breathing heavily. “Another train derailed and crashed right into ours. The entire A1 coach is crushed” he said.
18 people died. That’s how old I was. That’s how old she would’ve been. That’s how old I would’ve been.
“I couldn’t save her” she said.. And then she saved me.