Jasna was not that pretty. She was dark and short. Clad in a pair of black jeans and a dark red top which made her more untempting. But she had an aura which no one could ignore. I first noted her when she came walking through the railway platform trying to balance a heavy travel bag on her shoulders. She came and stopped right near the bench (the only vacant one in the station) where I was comfortably seated and alighted the burden from her shoulders. She wiped the sweat from her forehead and adjusted her dress which was drenched with sweat. She took the far end of the bench and never noticed my stagging vision which was closely spying on her for the past couple of minutes.

She sat there with her eyes closed… Her face testified the weariness due to the heat and the weight she was carrying. I waited for a few more minutes and decided to make the move…. though a bit apprehensive.

Me: Which train???? Kpuram Passenger?

Awakened by my sudden query, she opened her eyes. Her face demoed all the vexation for disturbing her thoughts and solitude. She turned to me abruptly as if she was surprised to see that other people also existed in this universe.

J: (showing her displeasure and also her apprehension of talking to a stranger) Yeah.

Me: Going to Kpuram?

J: (still showing the same emotions on her face) No. Kakkad.

(Kakkad is second last station and Kpuram the terminus)

Me: Ok. I think the train will be pretty much crowded.

J: mmmmm (She stretched her limps, adjusted her position on the bench and again closed her eyes)

Considering the cold response I decided not to ask any more questions. I was getting bored and the announcement about the late running of the train added oil in to the fire. The heat was unbearable too. I opened my bag to search for the head phones. Music was the only solace for me now. As I was fishing my bag for the ear phones, she turned to me and asked.

J: Where are you going?

Me: Kpuram.

J: Ok. At what time will this train reach Kakkad?

Me: The right time is 11.30pm. Since the train is running late I think it will reach there past midnight.

J: Ok.

Me: Whats your name?

J: Jasna and yours?

Me: Ram

(Silence followed)

Me: Are you studying here or working?

J: Working

Me: Where?

J: I am an artist. I mean an actress.

Me: (Excited) Ok. Thats great. This is the first time I am talking to an actress.

J: I am just a struggling one. Have done quite a few albums and tele films.

And she went on to list a few. I have seen and heard a few of the albums that she mentioned but I have never noticed her. Anyway she was not the main character in any of those. But I decided not to ask any more details.

J: I came here for a shoot and now going back home. What are you doing? Working?

Me: Yeah. In an advertising and event management firm.

J: Ok. So you might have lot of contacts in the film industry. Right?

Me: No. I am doing back office work.

J: Ohh.. Ok.

J: Are you going home?

Me: Yeah. Its weekend right!

J: Yeah. Its good that you people work for 5 days and go back home during the weekend. We have no such holidays. We either have lots of work or no work at all. For us, there is no difference between a week day or a week end. (sighing)

Me: But you people make a lot of money and fame.

J: Money and fame!!!!! Phew….. Is it the only thing people need?

Me: It is usually for money and fame that people get in to this profession. Isn’t it?

J: Not all. There is something called passion…. passion for acting…! But others who see it from outside think that its just for money, glamour and fame. You dont know how much we had to sacrifice to fulfill our dreams and to satisfy the passion.

Me: Yeah…. I have heard about the casting couch and stuff….. that people are exploiting the struggling actors, both physically and mentally.

J: Thats true…. We have to compromise on a lot of things…….

Suddenly her attention was diverted to a fat person dressed in white who was walking down the platform towards us. He had a thick mustache and grey hair. His neck, arms and fingers were prominently adorned with gold ornamnets. From the expressions on her face I could understand that the person was familiar to her. She smiled at him as he came towards us. She suddenly stood up and turned towards me.

J: Thats the producer of my new album. I think I have got work…….. for tonight and the rest of the week. (Then she thrust a paper in to my hand) This is my contact number. Do call me if you have any work for me…..

With a wicked smile she turned towards the fat guy and walked away with him.

Before I could digest the happenings, the train slowly arrived at the station. I boarded the train still clutching the paper in my hand. My mind was fully occupied with the character I met at the station. I took a single seat near the window and unfurled the paper. I took out my phone and started dialing the number. But something deep inside me forced me to stop in between. I disconnected the call and deleted the number. With out a second thought I crushed the paper in my hand and threw it away.

I leaned back on my seat and scrolled through the phone book on my mobile until my eyes fell on the name of the most special person in my life- my better half…. my wife!!! Without any hesitation I dialed her number. I knew that she will be waiting for me back home………… always!!!!!

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