I’ve just left Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram situated just outside of the small town of Sevagram in almost the geographical center of India. I had spent a couple of night’s at the ashram as part of a pilgrimage around India that I had set out on, to visit places connected with the life of Gandhi. He has been a big influence on my life, and I have read a lot by and about him.
I’m waiting at the railway station for a train, though I cannot remember my final destination. The station, from my memory, is simply one long platform. However, Wikipedia says the station is made up of five platforms. As I said, from my memory. Nothing else there. I am after all in the middle of nowhere. Maybe in the day it was a busy station as people made their way to visit Gandhi, but essentially this platform served a village. This was, now, not a major destination.
I arrive and sit on the platform floor to wait for my train. I have a few bananas with me that I bought on the way here.
After a while I am approached by two boys. One maybe pre-teen, another early/mid-teens. They start by asking me for money. I decided not to give them any change, instead I offered them a banana each - which they accepted. They joined me seated on the station platform. There was little to no language in common, but they somehow asked and I replied with my destination.
The time for the arrival of my train came and went. I don’t remember any announcements being made as trains intermittently came and went, but I really didn’t need that. My two companions appeared to know every train that passed through. Whenever a train came in site they would shake their head. I trusted them. I had no reason not to.
We sat there for a long while, from my memory, with animated (literally) banter in order to communicate. Eventually their shaking heads were replaced with a nod as the next train drew in. I thanked them both, said goodbye and hopped on the train.
I never forget that time at Sevagram Junction and my gratitude to those two boys.