Traveller's Tales - II

Continued from here.

"And you see no one. You wet your pants and run screaming bloody murder, so that one day, you could relay it to unwilling strangers at airports," I finish it off.

He peers  at me with interest. "No,no,no....Heh....There was someone,  and he was quite alive."

I did not expect that. "Oh... who?"

"That's not the point. Let's just say it was someone I didn't expect. And didn't want to see either. The meeting was quite... ah...painful...for want of a better word." He grins.

Just when I begin to pay him a modicum of attention, he starts reverting to his annoying self.

"Funnily, I figured that out. What exactly are you trying to prove?"

"The fact that you assumed this to be supernatural, just because someone dies, and because it involves a dark and lonely road." He starts to laugh. "Judging by recent events, there are worse things to be scared of in night-time Delhi than the wandering spirit of a poor dosa maker." 

I smile. He isn't all that dull. The  bay is empty now and is awaiting a fresh batch of aircraft, which would include my flight.

"Why did your dog run away then?"

He waves his hand dismissively. "I found Toto ten minutes later, facing a cornered tabby cat."

"Hmm," I stand up and walk to the glass front, press my face against it. I observe the misting pattern. It is actually good to have someone to talk to when there are no airplanes around. Even the refuelling trucks are not to be seen. "So why were you so down and out earlier?"

" I'm going to be away from my family  for a long time. Chatting with you helped me, and your apparent annoyance was fun. "

"An engineering project, I believe?"

"Yes, kind of."

We remain silent. Travel buddies. Not bad at all.

He claps my back hard,"So, got time for a round of coffee, I believe? I'll get it, wait. Anything else?"

"Ask them to put some extra sug--" I turn around.  And smile.

I can still feel the pressure of his hand resting on my shoulder. Except there is no hand. And no man either. The pressure gently eases off as a gentle farewell.

Well played, Morose Man. Well played.

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