Odd VS Even

Don’t talk with your neighbours unnecessarily. Never accept things from  strangers. Keep your belongings safe. Don’t come near the door when the train is moving. Are you clear?” My dad said in a go and waited for me to react.
“Huh?” I blinked my eyes twice and saw his face.
“C’mon dad. Am not a kid. Am 20 and I knew to take care of myself and to be safe” I assured him.
“It’s not about safe. You have to be extra carefull. If I didn’t have a meeting, I myself would drive you to hostel. Even mom is worried as it’s the first time for you to travel all alone” he said in a sad tone.
“I understand pa! Don’t worry!” I gave him a promising look.
Meanwhile the announcement for the arrival of my train was made and dad got call from his office. He checked the time and looked at me.
“Dad! You can move. I’ll be alright. Love you pa!” I gave him a hug.
“Love you too Preethi!” he said and rushed towards the steps.
The Metro was crowded as usual. I randomly checked through the coaches and spotted my seat. I was eased when I saw my co-passengers. There was a man in suit, around 50, reading a book near window and two other ladies, friends I guessed. I smiled at them but they ignored me, signalling something about my costume within them. I knew I was not that awkward, also I preferred jean for night travel. I cared less about them and moved. Placing my bag under the seat, I sat cross-legged opposite to that gentleman. He looked at me and gave me a warm smile.
“I think you came alone! Where are you heading?” he asked gently.
“Yep sir! To college after vacation” I replied. He nodded with a smile and continued to read.

Suddenly there occurred a mess in the platform. I peeped out through the winow and caught sight at group of boys shouting, jumping and playing there. Few people around them gave a disguisting look but it seemed they did not care. Group hugs were made and when second announcement came they bid goodbye to a boy, who then entered my coach.
I also noted the gentlemen getting annoyed looking at them. He murmured and continued his work. I then took the headset and plugged in. It was when I was about to play a track I got interrupted by a voice.
“Hello, Am Vaishnav! You?”
I looked up and saw the same boy from that crazy gang standing with one hand inside his pocket, another moved through his hair. Though I heard him well I pretended by removing my headset and sked him, “Sorry?”. I knew he might not noted headset as my hair completely covered my ears.
“Oops! I didn’t note that you are hearing songs” he said while he removed his shoulderbag and sat next to me without any hesitation but asked “Do you mind?” after a comfortable position. Before I could say something, he shooted questions.
“So where are you going? Are you a college student? Which year and what’s your name?”
I was discomfited by his behaviour. “Preethi” was my reply and glued my eyes to mobile screen. I also found the gentleman getting irritated by his presence.
“That’s it?” he shrugged and started searching something. Suddenly he made a jerk.
“Shit! My mobile!” He re-checked but got nothing.
“I think it’s with my friends. Can I make a call from your mobile, Please?” he asked and waited for my reply.
‘What the …?’. Before I could react the gentleman offered his mobile. But the boy seemed not so thankful. He picked the mobile and went aside to make a call. It was really odd.
“See how boys behave! You must be carefull with these fellows. They would take advantage over you. Don’t worry, I’ll handle him” he said and comforted me.
“Thank you sir!” I felt relieved. By next two minutes the boy was back with his mobile. I really wondered whether he had hid the mobile in his pocket before. From then I completely avoided him and got involved with the songs. In-between my mom called me and asked if everything was fine. I said am good and a gentleman was there to protect me. Before I could say further the network went off.
By 10P.M, we changed our positons to sleep. The boy eventually settled to the top and the two ladies down, opposite to each other. I was about to go to the top opposite to him but the gentleman asked me to take the midle and avoid the boy’s sight. So I crashed down below the boy’s seat.
It was around 1A.M when i was disturbed in sleep as my bedshet moved up from my legs. First I avoided but second time, I was alarmed. I sprinted up and was bewildered to see the so said gentleman standing there with his hand clutched my bedsheet while the boy grabbed his shirt. Something flashed in my mind and I quickly got down. I was about to shout at that old crocodile but he slipped away grabbing his suitcase without looking back.
I was trembled by that situation and started sweating. Seeing me, Vaishnav gave water and asked me to go bed without thinking much.
“Thank you” I said with a shy but he just smiled at me and moved aside.
I went back to bed but couldn’t get sleep. My mobile beeped after getting network and it was a message from my mom asking, “Who’s that gentleman?”.
I gave a quick reply, “Vaisnav ”
By 7A.M the train reached the station. The two ladies unaware of anything title-tatled seeing me and Vaishnav sitting together.
“Take my number” I said and caught him trying to hide his smile.
“I think I found my mobile long before” he said and winked.
“I think I found a true man now” I smiled at him.


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