The tale is about a meeting between strangers on a train. The journey brings together two people (who are blind) into close proximity and casual conversation. They both try to pretend that they are sighted unaware of each other’s disability.
From Rohana to Saharanpur
The man was already aboard when the girl stepped on the train at Rohana. She was escorted by her parents who advised her to not talk to strangers. As she entered she did not even notice the narrator who was pretending to be sighted.
He gradually found enough courage to start a conversation. She was going till Saharanpur where she would be received by her aunt. She enquired the same from the narrator who told her about his visit to Dehradun and Mussoorie.
She sighed as she also loved the hilly tracts of Mussoorie in October. The narrator described the beauty of the hills, rain and flowers as the conversation continued. Pretending to be sighted, he asked the girl to describe the scene outside the train.
She quickly retorted that he should have to look outside himself. He praised her by claiming that her face was interesting. She smiled at the words as she was bored by the usual compliments about her pretty looks.
She claimed that she did not like long train journeys and was glad that her station was arriving soon. The narrator, however, was heartbroken as he wanted the journey with the girl to never end.
Soon the station arrived and as the girl prepared to exit, the narrator had a whiff of the fragrance she was wearing. He was intoxicated and perversely tried to touch her hair, but the girl said her goodbye and disembarked before he could. The new passenger entered and the narrator sat back in his seat, heartbroken and disappointed.
From Saharanpur to Dehradun
Dejected, the narrator pushed himself toward the window again. The new passenger was a male and he did not realize the narrator’s lack of vision, much like the girl.
He broke the ice and offered his consolation for not being as pretty as the last passenger (the girl). The narrator stuck to his assessment and called her interesting. He asked about her hair but the man said he did not notice her hair.
However, the man dedicated another compliment to her by saying that she was very pretty with beautiful eyes, even though she was blind. This revelation surprised the narrator who thought about the futility of his attempts to hide his blindness in front of another blind person.