Although the journey had already begun long ago but my sense of existence declared the commencement of my maiden voyage.
It wasn’t tough at the beginning. My father would get down at every possible station to buy us food and clothes. Days and nights rotated perfectly. My mother would cover me with a silk shawl when it became cold. There were times when they would leave me in a different berth to spend some private moments. I was contended with the fact that the bogey was designed especially for the three of us. It had a little living room with all the amenities and a wonderful kitchen that had everything to fulfil our taste buds. I would often go to different compartments to meet my friends and spend time in their bedrooms full of toys. My bedroom was small but I considered it the best place in the world.
Years passed by. We traversed through cities and villages. Our train would often halt at some beautiful landscapes for days. My father would take us to mountains and waterfalls nearby. Sometimes, he sang old folk songs he learnt out of his experiences with life. I memorized everything he sang. My mother would knit sweaters and sell them in other compartments. We wished that the journey never ended. The train would chug through dense forests and gruesome tunnels, enough to scare me for days. To comfort me my father would hold me close to the window and explain how special each moment was, how special the journey had become and how special we were together.
One fine day, dad woke me up, kissed me on my forehead and got down at an abandoned station. I rushed to stop him but my mother held me tight. I cried and cried. I cursed my mother for not letting me go. She said that dad belonged to that place and that was where he decided to get down. I remembered of my father speaking about the place once but I never knew how he would become so selfish to get down without us. I mourned for a very long time until I realized that even my mother would have to get down one day.
A new companion joined us in the journey. Each night she held my hand and told me how much she loved me. My mother welcomed her and embraced her with all the perfections and imperfections she brought. I healed every passing moment. I was in love for the first time in my life.
We would get down at the same waterfalls and mountains and cherish each moment spent together. I would often look at the sky and then the train. My reflection in the window reminded me of my dad. I began looking like him. On the other side of the window was my mother, who had lived a contended life. During nights, she often looked out of the window with teary eyes. My wife would hold my hand while she slept. Mother would move to some other berth to let us have our private moments.
Sometimes, my randomness took to me all the possible compartments on the train. Sometimes, I walked all the way to see the engine but I never found it. My mother told me that the train was big enough to carry everything in the world. I found that hard to believe for that fact that people would often get down at random stations as they grew old. It was believed that the train was haunted as it carried the echoes of people who left it. I familiarized myself with all the possible things that my limited intelligence would align to.
One fine day, my wife moved to a different compartment and made new friends I wasn’t comfortable with. I was worried that she would find a different berth, better than ours. She never came back. One of the station masters told me that she upgraded herself to a superior compartment and was happy in doing so. I chose to never see her again.
There I was, with the only person who understood me better than anyone. My friends frequented my compartment easing out my pain. Sometimes, I would think of the station where I would get down. Mother once said that the place I would get down would have a beautiful garden with photos hanging on trees. Photos that contained millions of moments that were etched into our hearts right from the time we boarded the train.
As I grew old, I began to realize that no one knew when the train started. My mother and father lived in the same compartment that was vacated by their parents. They upgraded their place several times until I was born. Yes, I was born in the train and so were all the passengers. Some of the passengers were thrown out of their bogies during nights while some chose to plunge into darkness as deep as trenches. It was as haunting as an unsolved hypothesis at times while sometimes, it just made perfect sense to everyone realizing how they were tired of their journeys.
Although I began reciprocating unheard gestures, I was settling down into a mystifying metaphor called Life. While doing so, my mother grew old and so did I. I found love again. This time, we got down at better places as the train unknowingly halted for longer durations; sometimes for months. She was the light of our lives. She moved into my berth and decided to live there forever. A little angel flew into our compartment. She was as beautiful as my mother. We named her after mother. Days and nights rotated perfectly again.
A few years later, while getting down mother looked at us and smiled. She said that her journey had been satisfying and she would not mind waiting at that station for years reliving the moments we spent. She was sure that dad would meet her at the same station and they would walk into the unknown; together.
With moist eyes and a heart full of pain, I began looking out of the window as the train moved ahead. I began singing songs that I had memorized for my angel.
We set out on the journey together. We sang, danced, enjoyed and lived together. Some left us. Some held our hands. Some betrayed us while some confided in us. Some called themselves our friends while some chose to turn their backs on us. Some got down at their stations too early while some looked out of their doors with hope to find their destination. Maybe we are all destined to find the garden my mother spoke about. Maybe the stations are much beautiful and comforting than our shaky berths. Maybe the train has no destination but the passengers do.
Maybe it’s all about the journey…called Life.