As always I was all ready to spend another 12 hours on a train from New Delhi to Udaipur. With all the basic necessities like a water bottle, music player charged up, a good book, I board this regular train from Nizamuddin station. As soon as I get my seat, my first reaction always is to scan the nearby seats to find any interesting character to start a conversation with. This time I didn’t find any other than an uncle so tired and a young man with earphones plugged in. So I do what I do the best-remain Silent. Just 5 minutes before the train starts, 2 new people occupy the side seats. A middle aged man and a much older woman aged around 60 Years. A typical mother – son combo. Over the next few hours I just keep observing them. As happens always, Mom refuses to eat anything bought from outide.She has her stock of apples and random stuff. Their talk centred on a list of objects they are getting shifted from their home in Delhi to their second home in Udaipur. I get a feeling that they are shifting their home from Delhi to Udaipur. Mom is so concerned about the safety of the Almirah, Fridge and TV. Son is so concerned about the expense of shifting. Mom makes an effort to keep talking to his son, while the son is busy on his phone and other errands. And meanwhile I am busy just observing them and thinking how all the sons and their mothers are the same. Mom tried to remember all the items from her house and keeps nagging the son to ensure that they reach the destination safely. She refers to most of the things as they were used by her husband. As in a typical sentence from her would be-“Ensure that the dads chair is packed safely and sent to this address, He had bought this new one last year only”.
This constant talking continues for some time until the son leaves the place to attend some important call. Meanwhile I suddenly see this old lady weeping silently under the pretence of cleaning her eyes by a Kerchief. I think she is bugged by his son ignoring him and not talking as much as her. After some time the son joins her again and the talk starts again. This time she makes a remark to her son that she is not able to sit alone and not think anything. I am puzzled about her strange behaviour.Anyways I just keep looking.5 minutes pass and the talks stop. Mom goes back to her thinking and the son back to delivering instructions on his phone. While I keep thinking as to why did she cry sometime back, I notice her again weeping. But this time it continues for a longer time and the son notices it .He abruptly disconnects his calls and starts instructing Mom not to do it. Mom tries hard to stop but just couldn’t control the tears coming out. Seeing her crying so badly, he immediately calls her sister but she is not reachable on phone. In a desperate attempt to make her stop crying, He reveals important news that the Sofa got damaged while in transport. Hearing this Mom face changes from a weeping one to an angry one and she starts on her usual nagging that they should have been careful and so on. From then on Son keeps on talking to her Mom and wisely enough Mom attention have shifted from her thoughts to what his son was talking.
All this may not make any sense for you or for me. But after a long time I started getting the picture and understanding things that made just go blank. The truth was that the old woman’s husband and the son’s dad had jus expired a few days back in her home in Delhi. After the funeral, the son was taking his mom to his place in Udaipur. All the things being transported were the woman’s memories of her long time with her husband and they do meant a lot for her. Mom just couldn’t let herself be silent because that bought back the memories of a person who is no more and she has to live on in the absence with a void. All those Sofa’s, Almirahs’s made some sense now. And knowing this I just couldn’t see her weep and left that place with a very very heavy heart.