SOFIA GETS DOWN THE TRAIN
It was an extremely chilly morning. But her cabin in the train, to her rescue, gave her the warmth that the woolen sweater she wore couldn’t. The train halted with the wheels screeching and the engine whistling. She got up, took her hefty brown leather bag from underneath the seat and treaded the aisle to the door. She was confronted by a worried look from the train attendant at the door.
“Are you sure? It’s dangerous out there now.”
“Yes I am. I gotta do this. I’ll have to find Ptolev. I can’t think otherwise at all.”
The attendant shrugged as if he didn’t care and produced his hand towards the door indicating her to leave. Sofia got down and the train, making all sorts of routine mechanical sounds, left the Dhanwarpur station. It was colder than sofia expected. The air was heavy to breath with moisture in the air hardening into ice. As she walked out of the railway station, in the numbing cold, to her surprise, it was all barren land as far as her eyes could see, only with green and yellow grasses here and there. And right from the exit of the station, a muddy road started going on till the horizon.
Sofia was young (28) and strong though slim, which let her stay undeterred by the spine chilling cold as she paced the path itching for people or houses so she could be guided to Ptolev’s.
The place was devoid of people. was this because of the avalanche warning the radio sets gave the people the day before? Let us see. After walking for ten minutes, to her delight, she encountered a family walking in the opposite direction to her carrying all their luggage in bags and rags. She went over to them and showed the man a paper with something written on it.
“Excuse me please. Would you mind helping me with this address? I came from far away and I do not know any of Dhanwantpur.
Staring at the paper, “Just walk on this road for fifteen minutes and you will find crossroads. Take a right there and you might find someone there to help you from there. The place is emptied now. Didn’t you listen to the governments warning? This place is going to be flooded by an avalanche and be awash by snow any time now.” he said while his wife behind him nodded in approval as if very much concerned about Sofia.
“Thanks a lot. I think I’ll go into the village anyway.”
The man gave a puzzled look and parted with his wife and kids.
Twenty minutes passed by and she didn’t stop anywhere in between. She now was at the crossroads, surrounded by a few wooden houses. On her left was a deserted bar that reminded her of the bar where she refuted Ptolev’s love. She turned towards it and looked at it motionless, recollecting the wrathful scene, feeling more than ever determined to find Ptolev now. She knew that the loneliness around was not a right omen. But she decided she got no business any longer with the omens. She walked straight and looked for someone to ask help as to the address but just then she saw a board that read, “11th street – 2kms.”, with an arrow mark pointing straight. She opened the paper in her bag and read it. “11th street, westside corridor, Dhanwarpur, Darjeeling.”
She started walking, happy that she could decipher it herself. Enjoying the sky with not a hint of sun or its shine that produced an aesthetic feeling in her, she walked. With renewed hope, basking the idyllic surroundings and lonesome moments, she treaded for half an hour. Nothing did she encounter but a few figs and weed on barren lands every where till then. The muddy road then started to disappear. The faint delineation of the road started to fade out into empty lands around. In minutes, there was no road and she started to understand, it was foolish of her to walk so far even after the road disappeared.
She could find nothing now except for a tree afar that stood alone on all the arid land. Unable to digest the fact that she lost her way, shattered, she felt the ground beneath her feet weaken. Hope fading, annoyed, agonized and frustrated with herself, she fell on the ground and started to weep and wail in misery and despair…
The bar she came across shouldn’t have been on her left…
For Part I, https://pratheekreddy68.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/a-gape-out-of-ptolevs-window/