Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 35, Tuesday, August 31, 2010




“`And I'm coming home now
It's been so long now
Gonna get there somehow
Praying you'll be there.”

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

On a dilapidated century old railway station, Rohini met Shihab; the chemistry was instantaneous. They were headed home on Eid eve, little did they know that the journey that lay ahead would be remarkable in more ways than one.

Rohini's tale
We met in the strangest of circumstances, stranded in a remote railway junction right in the middle of nowhere. I was sitting anxiously on the platform bench looking for someone decent to ask for help; my cell phone was outside network and I desperately needed to call home.

He came and sat beside me. Our eyes met; his look casual and uninterested. On a white shirt with a pair of jeans, a newspaper in his hand, he seemed untouched by the predicament we seemed to be in. He was not the obvious choice but a natural one.

Shihab -
The train stopped. And would not move! I remained seated desperately trying to keep calm. Near two hours had passed and still no positive signs. I moved out of the berth for some fresh air. Outside, it seemed a little cooler. With a cup of tea in one hand and the newspaper in another, I went to the only source of light available. And there our eyes met.

She was a Greek goddess, helpless and disarrayed, seating on the bench at Selimpur junction. I was taken aback but did not lose my calm. Too nervous to make a positive impression I sat beside her - a spot illuminated by the lone light on the platform - and placed the daily paper in front of me.

I was always shy when it came to girls. Never went the extra mile to get introduced; never did anything actually other than keeping shut!

Rohini's tale
I asked for his cell phone. He gave a blank look. “I beg your pardon” he said. I went on explaining, “Can you help me please? My cell phone is not working and I absolutely need to make a phone call. They must be worrying about me. Can I make a call from your mobile?”

He gave me his phone and I called Dada! They were worried sick. I told him I would be late and asked him to be at the station to receive me. The train would be late, very late.

It took me a few seconds to grasp the situation. “Greek Goddess” was asking for a favour! She wasn't asking for the stars but I found myself in a state of confusion. Without saying a word I handed over the cell phone. She might have thought I was mute!

But she said “Thank you” made the call and all throughout spoke of the whole calamity in one deep breath. She spoke of the train being halted at this junction for the last two and a half hours, spoke of me as well.

Rohini's tale
I said, “Thank you”. In reply, he just smiled. And for the first time I realized how cosy and warm that smile was.

“Do you want a cup of tea?”
I was taken aback, “I am sorry”, I said.
“The tea is really good. I think its goat's milk. Now tell me how many times in your life did you take goat's milk in your tea?”
He was right, I hadn't. The casual looking boy seating right next to me actually was pretty charming. He seemed to have a way with words. I smiled and only said “Thank you”.

Our story
That was the beginning. On the bench of the dilapidated Selimpur junction our lives got intertwined. It was later that evening we learned more about ourselves, how we both hailed from Rajshahi and how both our parents were teachers. Strange it may have seemed, but we were neighbours in our childhood,

It was like a scene straight out of a television drama, but as they say, truth is stranger than fiction.

This year we are once again taking the same train to Rajshahi. We would meet each other's family for the first time, although they did meet formally a few months earlier. This may just be the beginning of a wonderful story. Our story.

By Pothbhola
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Ruhi and Shaon
Location: Tongi Junction
Special thanks to Bangladesh Railway



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