While I travel seldom, of the times I travel, mostly I travel alone. Solo travel diaries are my weird experiments and experiences from incidents during my solo travel.
“Don’t talk to strangers. Stranger is danger.” something that we are taught since childhood.
But still, it happens, often, that you meet someone on your journey, you talk with them, and they leave a lasting impression on your mind, sometimes on your wallet.
I was standing near a charging booth, refilling the juice in my phone, which would help me stay alive that 9 hours solo journey.
While we don’t have anything to do when we can’t use our phones now-a-days, I usually have a lot of fun when my phone’s not in my hand.
I was whistling the tunes of some of my favorite songs, sometimes singing them along. I was observing the people around me and started noting down the types of people that one can find on a common station (probably future post 😛).
While doing all this, I had my one hand fixed on my mobile phone while the other on my bag. I just couldn’t let go of the fear of someone stealing things from me from that crowded place.
Suddenly, a man in his forties came from behind me and started talking to me.
“Hey. You’re a local resident of this place?” The man said.
Rather hesitantly, I replied “Yes.”
“Actually, I was here to meet my friend. He’s at the platform 10. (We were at platform 1). But the problem is I forgot my wallet at home and I need to buy the platform ticket. Can you please give me some money?” The guy continued, in English. Yes.
He was dressed decent and was speaking to me in a sophisticate manner and in English, in a state where very few do that. So, his first impression on anyone would be that he’s a genuine case. And he was asking for a nominal amount, so one would just give him money, with intentions to help.
“Actually, I don’t have change for that amount. Sorry.” I said the truth, but even if I would have had change with me, I would have lied to say the same thing.
“How much do you have? These shops can give you change.” He said pointing at the nearby shops.
I said bluntly “Why don’t you go and ask them directly? They would probably give you some money.”
This would have offended a genuine man. But he went on to talk to the shopkeeper.
While he walked to the counter, I watched him from the corner of my eyes. He walked to the counter, looked at me, and then was standing there for a while. There was confusion on his face. And it looked very genuine to me.
“He would give change if you buy something from him.” He said to me when he came back.
“I already bought what I need for the journey. And I gave him all the change that I had against those stuff.” I shrugged.
There was silence, a weird silence for few moments, after which he was about to speak something. But I interrupted him – “Why don’t you ask them? They might be having change and they might help you.” I was pointing towards the station officers.
He looked towards them. His face showed hesitation and he left, slowly looking around him, as if finding someone.
Then he boarded the train standing on Platform 1 itself. While moving towards the train, he briefly glanced back towards me.
I was watching him, indirectly.
He was obviously not a genuine case. He didn’t need any platform ticket. The train that he boarded left soon thereafter, and I never saw him come out of that coach. He might have needed money for some other reason, but he lied about the whole friend thing.
And I didn’t fall for it, being a cold hearted person. Had he told me the truth, I might have helped. Probably, still not. It’s hard trusting people nowadays.
While we may make friends out of those strangers while travelling, we have to be vigilant too. Not everyone’s the same.