I’D ALWAYS LONGED for some deep, fulfilling, forever connection, but these were hard to come by. Most of my loves were new age transients, spiritual hobos, riders of the rails. These free love devotees could see only about as far as the lights of the next city and that was all. If I was lucky, I might be made the centerpiece in some get-rich-and-famous scheme, or just coopted as an accomplice in the survival game. I offered flexible and accommodating company, and going along for the ride provided me with a thrill and some hope. Nevertheless I was left standing time and again at the stations in Bury St Edmunds, Roskilde, Bangalore with that dumbstruck look on my face. I was looking for something grander, but all I got was another ticket to ride. Forever could wait. Their resignation letters were of impressive boilerplate legalese. “It’s not you, it’s me.” “We’re just different types of people.” “Don’t worry, I’m sure your next sweetheart will be arriving soon, on the next train in from Tumakuru already, with a first class ticket on the Vishwamanava Express Special!” And so the latest of these next-in-lines saddled up her knapsacks and charms and disappeared into the chai and samosa porters and dust. I had a seat at a cantina where I ordered myself a plate of Dal Makhani and waited. The train was running on time, an off-duty conductor told me. It should be arriving soon.