Berth Number 64- Train Number 16268- An enlightening journey.I kept my suitcase beneath my seat and sat down. And just as the train started moving, a young girl came in rushing and after ascertaining the seat number, sat in the seat opposite to mine. I looked at her as she was panting and was trying to make herself comfortable. More than the smile she presented to me amidst her confusion, what mesmerized me were her eyes. I could view an ocean in her eyes; they were so enchanting.
The train gained speed and we, as usual travelers, settled down in our own spaces. She took out a book from her handbag and started reading. I did not pay much attention as opening a book has been observed by me as a natural idea of single women passengers to avoid getting into too much contact with co-passengers. I sat looking out through the window. Sightseeing while on a train journey is always a great experience.
In between, I just passed a glance at her and saw that she was looking at me. I smiled and she returned the smile. That was the beginning of a casual acquaintance. We exchanged the usual talks as to where we were going, for what and all that. To continue the conversation and to make it more comfortable, I asked her about the book she was reading.
'The Alchemist by Paulo', she replied.
'Good one', I said.
'Not just good, too good. You know, I am reading this book for the umpteenth time and each time I get to interpret the story in a different way'.
I could not, but, agree.
Along with the changing landscapes outdoors, our topics too kept on changing from books to art to politics and so on. In addition to the way she was putting up her views and giving her opinions, I was watching her expressions. She was really beautiful and very intelligent too with a very clear view of everything she spoke of.
An interruption propped up in the form of the pantryman asking for orders for lunch. I ordered a vegetarian meal and looked up to her as though asking whether she wanted to order something. With that same enchanting smile that covered her face, she said that she had brought a packed lunch.
As we were having our lunch, two RPF officials passed through on their routine rounds and I could not avoid observing a sudden change in the expression and body language of the lady. She appeared to be perturbed and turned to look at the policemen who were walking away. On seeing that I was observing her with a curious face, she tried to bring back that smile on her face and stood up to go to the wash without finishing her lunch.
After lunch, I decided to take a short nap. My afternoon slumber was broken by the sound of a tough male voice. I woke up to see three men standing below and talking to the lady. I got down and asked one gentleman as to what the issue was. His reply literally shocked me. He said that the lady was a drug carrier and she was carrying 500gms of heroin now for handing it over to some drug peddler.
Seeing the disbelief and shock on my face, the officer continued, 'Sir, never judge a book by its cover. These types of carriers are most of the time good looking and well educated. Their looks can be deceptive'.
They took her when the train reached the next station. The smile was no longer there on her face.
Idiom selected- Never judge a book by its cover.
This is an entry for the Short story writing contest on idioms and phrases.