Monday, November 2, 2009

The Man on the Train

'Ayalon' bridge - to the central railway station in Tel Aviv

Waiting on the train platforms

I like to travel by train. The wide windows bring you scenic spots along the route; on a train you have a comfy seat, enough room to stretch legs ; you can go to the vestibule to take a fresh breath, and you can meet unexpected people.

I got on the train Tel Aviv - Haifa. Someone sitting on the opposite bench stared intensely at me and this made me feel very uncomfortable. He sensed that , and finally opened his mouth:
" I saw you on the platform waiting for the train and heard someone calling you Duta, so I decided to follow you. You probably don't recognize me as I'm very much changed physically , but I was one of your brother's best friends."

He gave me the details . I was familiar with the name ; it brought back to me unpleasant memories of a young successful man guilty of the sin of Pride. I was surprised to see him on a train as I knew he was a very rich guy who had a personal car driver and even owned a private light plane. Well, not any more. He told me his story.

The troubles in his life began with his only son falling into drugs. To buy the stuff, his son used to steal money and jewelery not only from his parents but also from neighbors , relatives, and friends. Next, he joined a gang whose specialty was breaking into houses and empty them.

The man's wife got into depression and never recovered from it. After her untimely death, he ceased to function and lost almost everything he had. Luckily, he met the woman who was to become his second wife, a naturopath by profession, and by using the naturopathic approach , she gradually put him back on track.

''The other night" the man said " I had a weird dream. Your brother was chasing me with a stick . This running and chasing thing happened a lot in our childhood games, but such a dream just before meeting his sister on a train - this must have a meaning, maybe more than one. I know , I deserve to be beatten. I was vain, turned my back on my friends including your brother, departed from my authentic roots . Perhaps
this dream was also a warning of your brother saying stay away from my sister, you're Trouble."

I told him that in my opinion both his interpretations of the dream are correct. We pay for our vanity , and my brother, may his soul rest in peace, wanted to spare me the treachery of friendship.

When we got off the train I realized he hadn' t said a word on the whereabouts of his son. I was afraid to ask, and I wanted us to part on a positive note.


  1. Duta, So many times, fate takes a hand in our lives. Perhaps your brother appearing in this man's dreams was meant to bring him to your meeting place where he could confess his shortcomings to you thereby making some sort of amends. My son always tells me that there is karma which will see to our lives. While he believes in Christ, he also believes in what we offer being returned to us. Good begets good and bad begets bad. To some extent, I must agree with him. Atonement to you for his past deeds may have offered him some solace, which, if it did is a good thing. Seems like his losses in life have humbled him.

    I am envious of your ability to ride a train. I have only been on one (for 27 excruciating hours). I suffer from motion sickness which is very severe in trains and boats. I have some car sickness on curvy roads and airplanes don't bother me at all. The train ride nearly killed me! A kindly old porter took pity on me, I was traveling with my then 4 year old son, and this gentlemen made out our beds and put us to bed in our coach. The severe sickness was alleviated by lying down. He kept returning to knock on our door to make certain we were okay. I will never forget his kindness. I think being able to ride a train in a viewing car would be wonderful since you could see all the wonders of the landscapes.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. C Hummel Kornel a/ka/a C Hummel Wilson'

    I totally agree with you and your son.

    As for the other matter, I long to go on a cruise but I'm afraid of seasickness; I have to do something to overcome this. I also suffer of earpain on planes but only on landing; nothing I tried helped.
    I have no problems with land forms of transportation.

  3. Another really interesting story Duta. It is a slightly obvious statement but life really is like a rollercoaster. You just never know whats around the corner or what hand you will be dealt. The man on the train probably thought he had his life all mapped out and then things started to unravel. Addictions ruin lives and this is one more example of drugs doing just that. Very sad.

    I have a friend who cannot even go half a mile in a car without taking motion sickness pills!

  4. Will you see him again, do you think?

    Soooo, the year I left was because he spent 80k on coke- when someone gets involved in drugs- it can be over in a hurry.

    I'm sorry to hear of his son. But of course, I want to know what happened.

    I'm thinking that you were right to leave it there and not ask, in that, had his son been greatly improved; I believe he would have offered that up to you in the general conversation.

    I'm sorry about your brother. I've been doing a lot of thinking about my brother recently. He died March 11th, 2008.

  5. I believe things happen for a reason in this life and like C Hummel said, maybe it was for him to have the opportunity to confess his shortcomings to you. The dream and the meeting could not just be coincidence.
    And, on the other hand too, sometimes it takes adversity, loss, sadness, to make us realize just how precious life is...He was given a gift to be able to see the truth of who he was and how he was living.
    God Bless your Dear Brother, Duta.
    PS: I love to ride on trains too. I wish we had a better transportation system in America.

  6. Truth is often stranger than fiction Duta. A very strange encounter - almost 'Strangers on a Train' type of thing. Extremely interesting and had it happened to me I would certainly be pondering the deeper meaning of such an encounter.

    One of my great loves is railway trains and railway stations - old ones, that is. I would stand for ages on a footbridge spanning the West Croydon to Epsom Downs railway line as a kid. A noisy, smoky and smelly steam train would thunder along underneath and I would be in my seventh heaven, patiently waiting for the next one to thunder into view.

    Old railway stations have a magic feel about them and we always visit one as and when we can. I don't much care for the brand new rail stations; they're all glass and chrome usually, but the old ones... wunderbar! (The Railway Children is a film I've watched many times, and so is 'Brief Encounter').

  7. Rainy West,

    Your comment is beautiful and full of wisdom. Indeed, one never knows what's around the corner.

    I'm sorry about your friend's problem of motion sickness. Maybe he should see a naturopath who can offer natural solutions.

  8. A very strange chance encounter that made for another great Duta story.

    Have a beautiful day sweet Duta.

  9. Entrepeneur Chick,

    I don't think so. Anyway, I won't initiate a meeting. As for his son, I suppose he's in prison, maybe undergoing some form of rehabilitation programme.

    I'm sorry about your brother too. It's heartbreaking.

  10. TheChicGeek,

    Your analysis is correct. The dream and the meeting were not a coincidence, they were God sent: for the Man to confess his sins and for me to show some compassion and understanding.

  11. PhillipH,

    Well, I'm often pondering on the encounter and its meaning. I only wish my brother was alive.

    Phillip, you sound deeply in love with the old railway stations and trains. I can understand the magic they bestow upon you.

  12. Nezzy,

    So, is it 'great Duta story', is it? Thank you Nezzy for the compliment.

    Have a beautiful Day you too!

  13. Wow! Very interesting. You never know how or why people come into your lives or go out of them. I wonder about his son, too.

  14. I believe there are no accidents so this meeting had a purpose. Very eerie though. I know you would miss your brother. Losing those we love is so hard. Thanks for visiting my blog and following. I'm following you back. So glad to hear from Israel....and I too like trains but rarely get to ride them. Take care Duta.

  15. I wish I could ride a train to work - I would read a book a day! As it is I do listen to books on tape on my commute. But I'll bet if I did ride a train to work I wouldn't have an interesting encounter like you did!

  16. Another terrific story! You never know...,

  17. It is no mistake that he encountered you. It was time he face his past with a long hard look. He was blessed by your presence. May he learn a karmic lesson.

  18. Some encounter! That must have rattled you some! Am glad that the "stranger" took the opportunity that was given to him, to at least make peace with some of his past.
    You did well not to ask about his son - I think this meeting was more about him (cleansing his soul).

  19. It takes courage for him to approach you and tell his story. He must be truly humbled now. God bless your brother who even in after life continues to protect you.

    I love riding in trains, it's must faster to go to our destinations here as there's to much traffic on the streets. It's just that most of the time, the passengers are packed like sardines.

  20. As if it was an Essay or a drama...nice a post..thanks

  21. Another surprising day of your life. This man from your story scared me. It is better to keep away.
    Unfortunately he ruined your travel with the train. In Romania the trains are more hand-to-mouth every day. We hear about rail accidents more often.

  22. A very uncanny story. I would have been leary when he said he followed you on the train because of your name. Then the disturbing dream. An a flood of unpleasant memories at the mention of his name. Was he really a best friend of your dead brother or was he trying to justify his relationship to him?
    I only have one brother and can only imagine the lost of your brother.
    I have only been on one train and that was a trip through Alaska. So I understand the love of the view.
    Peace be with him and you also that odd man on the train.

  23. janie B.

    Interesting, yes; unusual, no. Unfortunately, there are many cases of ruined lives as a result of drug addiction.

  24. Just Playin',

    Welcome to my blog, and thanks for your kind words. Loosing a brother is heartbreaking.

  25. The Bug,

    When on a train, I like to look through the big window at the landscapes. Don't be so sure you wouldn't have an interesting encounter while on a train.

  26. Kys,

    Indeed, one never knows what awaits him at the corner.

  27. Ronda Laveen,

    You're right. That's what it was: his facing his own past.I hope he learned a lesson.

  28. Jeannette Stgermain,

    I agree with your words. It was a cleansing process for him, and an attempt to make peace with some of his past.

  29. Malou Silverman,

    The man looked humble when he spoke to me; as for my brother, I believe, as you say, that he continues even in afterlife to protect me.

  30. Nomore,

    Thank you for seeing in my post some kind of essay or drama. That's very flattering.

  31. Bianca Popa,

    Indeed, the man was a bit scarring at first (his staring at me, his confession about following me); but gradually , as he went on telling his story, I only felt curiosity and pity.

  32. Lady Di Tn,

    Well, my brother had many "best friends", so I don't recall the exact degree of closeness between him and the man on the train. I only remember my brother's bitter dissappointment of this friend's behavior towards him after the latter got very rich.

  33. Hopefully he will forgive himself some day. . .he sounds like he has beaten himself up enough. ..thanks for sharing. ..PS. .I love trains.

  34. A very intriguing story. I wonder if the gentleman was trying to atone for his past and felt the need to speak to you. Perhaps he is feeling a little more weight off his shoulders after talking to you.

  35. You have interesting stories and you tell them in a way that really draws me into the setting. I don't know what his dream meant, but I do know that bad things can happen to anyone...and lives can change very quickly.


  36. Coralee,

    He not only sounded but also looked as a beaten man; hopefully, and with his wife's help, he'll learn "to forgive himself."

  37. Cheryl,

    You're right in your assumptions; he was trying to atone for his past and talking to me took some weight off his shoulders.

  38. Sue (Someone's Mom),

    Thanks a lot Sue. I'm glad you think my stories are interesting. And yes,bad things ould happen to anyone and change people's lives.

  39. Oh Duta, your story gave me chills. That poor soul, what a great deal to have lost. We're all guilty of pride at different times, and I suppose it is for those around us to note it, and for us to hope that someday we will see our own faults. Correct them, grow from them.

    I've known too many people who have yet to learn from their own mistakes. I suspect that at times, I do not learn from mine, although I would wish to.

    What a painful, painful way for that poor man to learn. His failing is one we all have to different degrees.

    I also wanted to mention something seemingly unrelated. Every now and then you mention that you like the way I express myself, and I am always so grateful for that. Duta, I'm writing in my native language.

    Your story just gave me chills, and honestly moved me. I know you are writing in at least your second language, yet it is honestly your wording that does that. It is the way you tell stories, the manner in which you compose them. I'm always touched when you say, "I like your use of language." but I'm always stuck by the irony that you have expressed feeling self-conscious about your own writing because even if English were you first language, you write quite beautifully. That it is not your first language, that you have to overcome that barrier and still express yourself in a manner that truly evokes an emotional response? That's nearly miraculous, and a tremendous gift.

  40. Land of Shimp,

    I'm wordless. You are so generous with your compliments that I feel in the ninth heaven. After all, you are a kind of writing authority for me; your English and your way of expression are something that I greatly admire.

  41. Duta,
    A wonderful story that shows us how the mighty do fall. I feel sad for the man but even sadder for the friends he turned his back on. I pray he finds peace.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  42. Hi Duta,
    I am back again. I see you already have the OVER THE TOP AWARD on your sidebar, but I awarded you another one. Please feel free to come by and collect it. I have let my readers know that many blogs don't accept awards. That the comments their readers leave is award enough, so if that is the case with you then hopefully you will at least get a few more readers and a few more comments. I myself read your blog faithfully!

  43. Alicia,

    I also feel sad for both parties: the man and the friends he had turned his back on. And like you, I wish him to find peace.

  44. Alicia,

    I don't know exactly which award you want me to collect , but it doesn't matter- I feel honored anyway by your warm words and by the fact that you're a faithful reader of my posts.
    I love your exuberant personality and your blog that very well reflects it. Thanks for everything!

  45. What a beautiful story. I hope he can find peace.

  46. Virtualsprite,

    Thank you for stopping by ,and for your comment.

  47. Duta, that story gave me little goosebumps on my arms. Everything happens for a reason, and that man was meant to see you again. Maybe he will be able to go back and help his son, and the story will go full circle.

  48. Jo,

    Indeed so, "everything happens for a reason...". Thank you for your comment.

  49. Duta, thanks for the follow. May God bless you in your conscientious and thoughtful search for meaning and purpose to life. Keep up the good work and great writing.

  50. godamongus,

    Welcome to my blog. Thanks for the kind words.

  51. Skip Simpson,

    Very Good!!! Thank you.

  52. Hi,
    What a wonderful read. I too believe in karma and I take each day as it comes. I have too.

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your brother.