Raman woke up rather late and from what he could observe, it was the early hours of the afternoon. Strangely, he was all alone riding a train that was different from a conventional Indian rail and rather fancy, wearing robes and going to…where was he going? Even he didn’t know; as a matter of fact, he couldn’t even remember getting on the train but there he was, on a train with a sealed pumpkin pastry lying before him, almost inviting him to take a bite.
Being as shy as he was and feeling as insecure as he felt, he – hesitantly – peeked outside his compartment. The corridor – with a single hand operated doorway on each side – was empty and the compartments were set off it, allowing each compartment to function as a self-contained stage within the larger train. The carriage was more like of the trains in Britain back in the day: dimly light, royal and very wooden. As he started walking down the aisle, his attention went to his robes which in spite of feeling heavy were very comfortable.
As soon as he reached the end of rail-coach, he heard some students chirping. His eagerness grew and feeling excited, he asked himself if he was going on some sort of a vacation. As he was about to walk through the doorway where all the cheerful noises were coming from, he felt nervous and on contemplating how wary he usually was of meeting new people, he decided on taking a couple of steps back and convinced himself to stand his ground.
After a few minutes as his anxiousness began to fade away, he asked himself, “Why not?” As he started heading towards the doorway, he noticed a strange symbol on the side of the carriage. It intrigued him and as he drew closer, the symbol - for a split second - took him back to the land where a boy, with a scar, lived and had two best friends. In fact, he exactly knew what it was but “How could it be?”, he asked himself. He had seen the exact same design in books and movies but by any stretch of the imagination, he couldn’t have been riding the Hogwarts Express to one of the major European wizarding schools located near the Scottish Highlands, could he?
Questioning himself if this were even real, an extremely panic-stricken Raman approached the doorway. The doors were closed and the dark glass above the door knobs were too difficult to see through from a distance. So, the little boy curled both his hands around his head and started to peek through the glass.
He noticed that there was a passage way connecting the carriage that he was on to another carriage which had numerous children wearing casual attire. They were laughing, talking and some even sharing food; it seemed like some sort of a celebration. It was all too strange for him because most kids in the other bogie didn’t have the same skin-tone as him, and he had hardly ever met anyone who wasn’t of Indian origin.
With cold feet and a heart pumping faster than the Shatabdi Express, Raman opened the door and walked over to the other carriage. As he entered the carriage, the place went silent and it seemed like there were a million eyes staring at the dark-haired Indian boy. Raman went numb and even though he desperately wanted to speak and know what he was doing in the train, out of fright, words wouldn’t leave his mouth.
Right then, a boy who also had darker – but rather untidy – hair came forward and introduced himself; he was tall, thin and had hazel eyes. Although Raman didn’t understand a word of what the boy said, with heavy breath, he shook the boy’s hand and replied with a bizarre, “Thank you.”The boy chuckled, “Well, for me, you’d have to thank my parents. I am J-A-M-E-S, James Potter.”