Introduction

One train journey, two travellers and a brief tête-à-tête with a revelation so surprising, it leaves everyone pondering about so much more.

Compartment Companions

The narrator was a lonely traveller up to Rohana. Then a girl entered his compartment and sat down. The narrator, completely blind extracted that the girl’s parents came to drop her off by the way they gave her instructions about travelling.

Although unable to see her beauty, he started to adore her voice and also the sound of her slippers as they slapped when she walked. Eager to know her, he initiated a conversation and learnt that she was getting down at Saharanpur where she would meet her aunt. The girl too participated in this conversation and upon learning that the narrator was going to Mussoorie, she lit up with excitement. 

They talked about the lovely hills of Mussoorie in October and the narrator could not help but ask what they looked like. He thought that he made a mistake and blew his cover. That she would now realise that he was blind but the girl surprised him and asked him to peep outside the window and see for himself.

He too carried the act and pretended to observe the scenery passing by. He went a step ahead and complimented her face, calling it interesting. She laughed, her voice the sweetest and remarked that she was glad to hear this new compliment, unlike all the others that called her pretty. Before long her station arrived and she was relieved, long journeys were not her forte. 

Her Beautiful Eyes

The narrator was not very keen on her leaving, he wanted to talk more, hear her sweet voice a little longer. Her voice had the sparkle of a mountain stream. He assumed that after getting off she would forget their encounter but he would remember her for the remainder of his journey, and perhaps later too. The carriage wheels changed their timbre and rhythm as the engine’s whistle wailed. The girl stood up and began gathering her possessions.

The narrator who never got a chance to catch a glimpse of her only wondered if she wore her hair in a bun, plaited it, let it hang loosely over her shoulders, or had it cut very short. “Goodbye”, she said as she stood close, her scent overpowering the narrator’s senses. In the doorway, there was some confusion. As he entered the cabin, a man stuttered an apology. Then the door slammed shut, blocking out the rest of the world. The narrator made his way back to his berth and prepared himself for a game to play with a new fellow traveller once again.

The narrator went back to his seat beside the window. Guessing what went on outside the window was an intriguing game. However, his reverie was interrupted by the man who had entered the compartment. The man apologised for not being as attractive a travelling companion as the girl. The narrator, too eager to know finally asked the man about the girl’s hair, did she keep her hair long or short? However, the reply he got was something he had never anticipated. The man did not remember the girl’s hair as he was too captivated by her eyes. He finally revealed that her eyes were of no use to her as she was completely blind.

Conclusion

The chapter is very sweet and makes the readers want to know more about their story, it makes them too wish for the journey to have been longer, for these two strangers to share their stories completely. We are so quick to judge others and assume about them just like the narrator did. He assumed that the girl could see. However, we must remember, we only know about people what they show us.