“Excuse me! Which train have they announced? Is it the CST fast local?” I asked hurriedly to the man standing near the newspaper stall. “Yes, it is 10-15 minutes late from its actual time,” he said leering at me. ‘These men are all the same, always looking for a chance to ogle women’, I thought. I gave him a stark stare and rushed to the women’s first-class compartment. ‘If the train is late, I am surely going to be late for office again and my ‘khadus’ boss will have a reason to snarl at me’.

Just as I was glancing at my watch for the nth time, I heard the train honking and coming towards the platform. I was so relieved and quickly took my position to catch the train. In Mumbai, if you do not know how to cook, it is ok but you should know how to catch a train, it’s an art. Not everyone can do it and I have done my Master’s in it. The train screeched, interrupting my thoughts. I jumped over and held the steel bar, while the women behind me kept pushing me as if it was some tug of war situation. Once the train started, I squeezed myself inside and tried to find a place to stand. Trains teach you so many things and one of them is ‘how to maintain your balance’, even if you are in the most unbalanced state of your life, you have to balance your position here or else you might end up falling on someone and that is a nightmare. 

Finally, I get a decent place to stand and I hunt inside my purse to find my mobile phone, which is the most prized possession of my life. I mean, it’s the one thing that I cannot live without, it entertains us, educates us and keeps us connected to the whole world. Sometimes, I think, I can actually write a book on it and the title would be, “Not without my phone”!! So, after going through my regular round of WhatsApp messages, especially the ‘good morning’ ones which are the most annoying ones, I start checking my emails, which have already piled up in my inbox.

Suddenly, there is a pat on my shoulder and when I turn to see, the lady in a bright green saree with loads of kohl in her eyes said, “You are stamping on my new saree, stand aside, this is First class, you have to maintain some decorum here, or else go to the second-class compartment.” I was gobsmacked by what she just said and with a complete blank expression I said, “Firstly, I have also paid the same amount of money to be inside this compartment, so you cannot tell me where I should be and secondly if you want to sit like a queen on this seat with your saree spreading everywhere, please go in your car to office or else why don’t you buy a Mercedes for yourself.” I said smirking. Giving me a wicked look, she just got back to her ladies gossip with her train mates. ‘What an attitude! They think they have bought the whole train’. The train halted at my station and I was still inside, racing my way towards the door, I somehow managed to get down. ‘It was close call’, I thought. 

Later, I took a taxi and reached office just in time. My boss was yet to arrive, I heaved a sigh of relief and instantly went near the coffee machine and grabbed myself a nice, tall cuppa coffee. Sipping my aromatic coffee, I simply couldn’t help thinking about the lady in the green saree. What a self-absorbed nature some people have, they do not think twice before speaking, maybe she must have had a tough morning today. “Isha Mam, Boss is calling you for the presentation in the boardroom, please go immediately go – as the meeting is about to start”, said the office boy, disturbing my thoughts. I rushed towards the boardroom, keeping the lady in the green saree back in the train.

It was a long presentation, which took up the lunchtime as well. It’s already 5 and just half an hour to leave, hope I get my train today as have been missing it for quite a few days. We commuters think about trains like it’s the only thing alive in our taxing life, it keeps us on track and on our toes as well. And exactly at 5:30 I closed my laptop, picked up my purse and hopped towards the door before anyone would call me again. ‘Yay, I am going to be on time today’, I gasped.

Again the race against time begins, I quickly take my cab and run towards the station. And to my surprise my 5:57 fast local is yet to come and I am super happy about it. I stand near my first class compartment as usual and wait for the train to arrive, gripping my position like a tigress, ready to attack its prey. There is a rush for the train today and as the train is nearing the platform, I see the same lady in the green saree coming towards the platform to catch the train. I take off my attention from her and concentrate on the train which halts and all the ladies start going inside as if it’s the last train for today. With all my force I try going inside but the rush is maddening and I am unable to go inside and just behind me the lady in the green saree also is trying hard to go inside. It’s time for the train to leave and we both are hanging on the door making our way but unable to move an inch. As the train honks the last time and starts moving, I try to catch the steel bar and move in with all my strength. The lady in the green saree is not able to come in and when I look back, her saree is stuck in the door and she is asking for help as she cannot get down or come in. All the ladies are creating a chaos and shouting at her to get down. She is completely panicked and crying for help. I try to push myself near her and grab her saree and tear it off from where it was stuck. She immediately hugs me and thanks me a million times. I take her inside the compartment and make her sit and offer her some water.

Sometimes, life gives you only one chance to change yourself and go ahead and save someone in trouble, catch it when it comes to you. This simple act of gratitude changed me as a person and her as well. Now the lady in the green saree has started offering her seat to everyone and always smiled and chatted with all of us.

I believe it is not joy that makes us Grateful, it is the gratitude that makes us Joyful…