I remembered those old days when I used to sneak out of the crowded by-lanes of my locality into a secluded spot by the railway tracks. It was an isolated spot with ample quantities of solitude, freedom and peace. I would relax there and let my thoughts wander around into the unknown depths of my mind.
The spot was just next one of those signal rooms. From where I used to sit, I would occasionally hear the ringing of the telephone in the signal room and the ensuing conversation, and then the mechanical shifting of the gears which changed the colours of the light glowing on the distant railway signal pole. A short while later a train would come rolling down with all its monotony and the guy in the signal room would appear at the windows waving the flag at the train. It wasn't the same guy all the time, but no matter who was in charge, I would see that guy responding to the flagbearer of every passing train with a distinctive big smile exposing his full array of gutka stained teeth. :) By observing these men, I was quite unknowingly being an eyewitness to some great human characteristics. Later on I imagined, "What if the guy misses his shift ?"; "What if there is no one to answer that phone ?"; "What if there is no one to change the tracks or change the lights ?". Everyday thousands of people put their lives in the hands of these responsible men who do their duty in the sheer boredom of a distant cabin.
So you see... my mind would endlessly flutter between thoughts, mostly vague and some useful. In the later years when my kid nephew was able to walk around a bit, I used to take him to the signal room so he could watch trains whizz past at high speeds. He would enjoy the occasional breeze that the trains brought and when he would get bored we would drive back home.
One fine late evening I was sitting there and was hearing this song : "Name" by GooGooDolls
"And even though the moment passed me by,
I still can't turn away
Cause all the dreams you never thought you'd lose,
Got tossed along the way
And letters that you never meant to send,
Get lost or thrown away..."
I just drifted back to my past. I could feel the change; I don't know if I could ever measure it or know if all of it was good or bad, but I had changed...I laughed at the thought of those times when I used to score perfect 100's in school science exams. Now I know how overjudgemental I was about my abilities in science :)