For God’s sake can anyone tell me where this train is going!

Apologies for the length. It will take some time. Please proceed only if you feel you are not rushed for time. Thanks


You find yourself on a train. You don’t know how you got there. You don’t know your destination. You don’t know where the train is going. You ask people around you and they don’t seem to know either. You look out of the window. You see time whizzing by. You haven’t seen these places before. You don’t know ‘where’ you are or ‘where’ you are going.

It is frustrating. You feel some degree of anger. Fear creeps in as well. You seem helpless…

All of a sudden you find someone talking to you.

“Who are you?” you ask.

I am your personal guide Sir.

“Why am I here?”

“To travel to your destination, Sir”

“What is my destination?”

“I am afraid that is for you to find out Sir.”


“You will know when you get there , Sir”

“Why can’t you tell me now?”

“Because it won’t make sense to you Sir.”

“Why not?”

“Because you haven’t been there before, Sir.

“How will I know when I reach my destination?”

“You will Sir, trust me.”

“What is the purpose of all this?”

“To reach your destination, Sir”

“But I don’t know what my destination is and you refuse to tell me what it is. How do you expect me to get there?”

“By this train, Sir.”

“This is all nonsense. I wish to get down.”

“You can get down at the next station Sir, if you wish but it will not be much use.”

“Why not?”

“If you get down prior to your destination Sir, you will be put back on the train. It will just be another compartment Sir.”

“Are there other compartments?”

“Yes Sir.”

“Can I see them? What are they like?”

“Sir, If you get up and look that way.”

“That looks like a better compartment. It has better seats. They have TVs as well. There is even a bar at the other end!”

“All compartments are different, Sir. They do however, go to the same destination.”

“They look better equipped. Maybe passengers there know where the destination is.”

Sir, they are on the same journey as you. They need to find their destination as well.

“Very well then. Why don’t we all get together in one compartment and try to work this out?”

“Everyone’s has to find his own destination, Sir

“But, I thought you said that we all had the same destination.”

“You do, Sir but each one of you reaches his/her destination at a different time. You have to be ‘ready’ to reach Sir.”

“That does not make any sense”

“I know, Sir.”

“You said you are my personal guide. You are not doing a good job here.”

“I am here to guide you, answer any questions Sir.”

“Why are you not ‘guiding’ anyone else?

“Each has his own personal guide Sir.”

“I don’t see anyone.”

“You can only see and talk to your own guide Sir.”

“Maybe some of the other guides are more helpful. Maybe they know more than you.”

“Interesting thought Sir but I am afraid I am all that you have. You can talk to the other passengers and check with them what their guides are saying to them but it does not really matter.”

“Why not?”

“Because we all guide the same way Sir.”

“How can I figure this out?”

“Why don’t you sit down and relax a bit Sir? Watching the other compartment or what the other passengers are doing  is not very useful in figuring out your destination Sir?”

“Why not?”

“It is your personal journey Sir. You need to figure out your destination and when you have done that you will ‘arrive’ at your destination Sir. Everyone else will have to figure out their own.”

“Why don’t I go round at least my compartment and ask others. I am sure they can give me some clues or information. This whole thing is driving me crazy.”

“I know Sir. You can try Sir but I have all the clues that you need to figure it out Sir.”

“Why don’t you get started then?”

“I have Sir. I have already given you some clues. All through the journey I will continue to give you the clues to guide you Sir. Just keep listening.”

“It is so distracting here. It is not easy to listen to you.”

“I know Sir. It will get worse as we go along. The ‘noise’ will increase and people tend to get more and more distracted.”

“Can’t you do something about it?”

“Do you want to try these headphones Sir? You should be able to hear me well with these on Sir.”

“Why doesn’t everyone wear them?”

“They can Sir. They are free and available to all passengers along with their guide. I think they worry that with the headphones on they may miss something important that the other passengers have to say or some announcements made on the public address system.”

“That seems sensible. I guess, I should take them off as well”

“You don’t need to Sir. All important information will be relayed by me as well Sir.”

“Ok then, guide me how to figure this out”

“I am Sir.”

“You haven’t given me any clues yet?”

“I have Sir.”

“I am not getting anywhere with this. I think we are wasting time.”

“I don’t think we are wasting time Sir. Time, anyways, is not an issue Sir.”

“What do you mean ‘Time is not an issue’?” I can’t be on this train for ever.”

“You don’t need to be on it for ever Sir. That is why you need to figure out your destination Sir? The train will keep going Sir. The only time limit is the amount of time you spend in each compartment. If your time is up Sir, you will have to get down and move to another compartment. One of us will be there to guide you Sir.”

“That is all right then.”

“Yes Sir, it can be. There is just one thing you need to know.”

“What is that?”

“Your arrival at your destination is being eagerly awaited Sir.”

“Awaited by whom?”

“I am sorry Sir but you will have to figure that out as well.”

“You are generating more questions than answers.”

“I am at your service Sir. I am helping you with the answers as well Sir. The right questions will get you the answers you need Sir.”

“This is difficult”

“I understand Sir. Please keep listening. Use the headphones. Otherwise you will get distracted Sir.”

“Help me out please. How can I figure out what my destination is?”

“Those are nice words that you used Sir. They seem to be better ‘heard’. Just focus on the present Sir and keep listening to me.”

“What do you mean focus on the present? I am focussing on the present, am I not?”

“You are worrying about your destination Sir.”

“But you told to me figure out what my destination is?”

“I did Sir and you have to. You have to stop worrying about it Sir. If you start thinking about the past or the future you lose the present Sir and unless you are in the present you can’t figure this out.”

“Why have you made this so difficult? I feel I am being tricked and cheated. Why can’t we keep this simple? We need to know our destination prior to boarding the train.”

“You ‘know’ your destination Sir. You may think you don’t but believe me you know Sir. My job is to help you remember what you knew all along Sir.”

“Can we please talk about the ‘focus on the present’ bit?”

“Yes Sir that will be useful.”

“Should I focus on the outside? That is the present isn’t it?”

“You don’t seem very pleased with that. Should I watch my fellow passengers? That is the present, isn’t it?”

“It doesn’t matter what you watch Sir. You can focus on the outside or on your compartment or co-passengers Sir but please stay in the present. Don’t let your mind take you to the past or the future Sir.”

“This is not easy. The more I try to experience the present, the more my mind seems to wander off to the past or the future”

“I understand Sir. It is a matter of practice. It is called meditation Sir.”

“Thank you.”

“Those are nice words Sir. Use them more often. You will find you are better ‘heard’ when you use them.”

“I can hear you more clearly now.”

“You will Sir as long as you stay in the present and don’t allow the past and future to distract you.”

“Did you notice the train slowing down Sir?”

“Maybe. I am not sure.

Thank God. Has my destination arrived?”

“Sir, your destination does not arrive. You arrive at your destination.”

“You may wish to look outside Sir.”

“What is it? Have I missed my destination?”

“No Sir. Someone is waving at you. He just got down.”

“Oh my God! That is my dad. Why did he get down?”

“Please wave back and smile Sir. He is smiling at you.”

“Why did get down?”

“He may have reached his destination Sir or maybe his time was up. It is difficult to know Sir.”

“How come I didn’t notice him getting down? He was sitting with me.”

“Yes Sir, you were sitting with him to start off with but then you kept changing your seat. You were worried about the destination Sir.”

“Is he going to be alright?”

“What do you think Sir?”

“Where is my mom?”

“There she is Sir, just getting off.”

“Mom, Mom”

“I am sorry Sir. I think she got off. Just wave to her Sir. She is smiling at you.”

“This is awful. When can I be with them again?”

“When you arrive at your destination Sir?”

“We could have gone together. Maybe I should have got down with them. My mom has never been anywhere alone. She is terrible with new places.”

“Don’t worry Sir. She will be looked after. You were in the same compartment for quite a while Sir. Did you not notice?”

“I should have sat with them all through. What a shame?”

“You have started thinking about the past Sir. Please focus on the present Sir.”

“I have just lost my parents and you are worried about the ‘present’?”

“I don’t wish to be insensitive Sir, but you need to figure out your destination Sir. You will realise their presence when you reach the destination Sir.”

“I am all alone now.”

“Yes and no Sir.”

“What do you mean?”

“On one hand you were always alone Sir and on the other hand you never were alone and never will be.”

“What does that mean?”

“You will understand when you reach your destination Sir.”

“Please leave me alone.”

“I can’t Sir but you can ignore me. Pretend I am not here. Let me know when you wish to talk again.”

“Why is the train slowing down?”

“It must be approaching a station Sir.”

“Is anyone getting off?”

“Yes Sir.”


“You Sir. Your time is up Sir. You need to change your compartment Sir.”

“I guess I could not figure it out. Thank you for all your assistance.”

“You are welcome Sir.

“This place looks unfamiliar. I am worried I will get lost.”

“Someone will guide you at the station and help you board your new compartment Sir.”

“Can I have the headphones back please Sir? You will get a new personal guide and a new set of headphones in your new compartment.”

“Here you go. Thanks once again. I am sorry I gave you a tough time.”

“Do not worry Sir. I am sorry I can’t assist you any further.”

“Good bye”

“Good bye Sir. Please leave your bag here Sir.”

“This is my bag. It has all my important things. Why should I leave it here?”

“Sir You can’t take it into your new compartment. If you take it with you, as soon as you get off the train it will be taken away from you. If you leave it here, at least someone in this compartment can use it. You will be provided a new bag when you reach your new compartment.”

“If you say so…”

“Good luck for the rest of your journey Sir. You will figure it out .”

“I hope so. Thank you.”




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