The Train Journey

Marissa Beletti, Unsplash

Story-poem written and read by me as part of Calm in Chaos meditation series. The theme for the week was Intentions (Purpose). As a background, using the train journey a young lady takes from New Delhi to Bodh Gaya where Siddartha Gautama attained enlightenment.

New Delhi

The stationmaster of curiosity asks, “My dear, where are you heading?”

“To Bodh Gaya”, I reply, hoping to impress

“Ah, the City of Enlightenment.”

“Yes sir, I go there to find wisdom.”

“But my young lady, enlightenment is a journey, not the destination.”


Inside the train, beside a small cracked window, I take my seat

A disheveled man jumps in as the train leaves. He sits across

“Let’s be friends,” he says, passing me a white daisy flower

“I escaped from prison.”

“Why do people run away?” I ask him

The train rumbles along 

“People run away when they have desires,” he says, 

And gets off at Lucknow.


A lady in black makes an entry and sits across

“Let’s be friends,” she says, passing me her silky shawl

“My husband died, and left me penniless.”

“Do you have desires?” I ask her

People around murmur in conversation

“Desires and regrets are illusions, they’re not real,” she says,

And gets off at Varanasi.


A soldier of one leg, hobbles in and sits across

“Let’s be friends,” he says, passing me his cross

“I lost my leg in the war.”

“Do you have regrets?” I ask him

Shadows of rolling hills pass us

“Regrets I have none, purpose is what I have,” he says,

And gets off at Sasaram.


A man with a straw hat enters and sits across

“Let’s be friends,” he says, passing me his last piece of bread

“I am a tourist.”

“What is your purpose?” I ask him

Amidst the din of the train clatter

“I want to live kindly,” he says


Final destination

The train comes to a gentle halt

A quiet end to its noisy symphony

The conductor helps me with my bags: “Where do you wish to go from here, missy?”

“I am where I need to be now,” I reply

“Ah my young lady, are you here to get enlightened?”

“No sir, enlightenment is the journey, not a destination,” I say

And get off at Bodh Gaya.

NoelleL, 19.06.2020

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