There is an engaging sadness in the expression of the main subject; a pre-emptive longing for a friend yet to depart. The lady on the train seems more cheery, as though she is reassuring her friend. It is, after all, saddest for those left behind, who have to go on as before with the acute absence of the departed. Yet while departures can presage adventure and possibility, sufficient to distract from the missing, or a welcome homecoming to familiar comforts, they can also be a sorry return to quotidian drudgery. Either way, it is so often the case that when someone close expresses an unconstrained sorrow, the other is driven to optimism and persuasive reinforcement, which often masks the true sadness that lies beneath.
This train window farewell took place in Mysore, a lovely, tidy and well-run city with by far the most attractive old market I’ve ever come across. Originally I gave it the title of “Emergency Window” as the full composition includes a notice above the opening which seemed neatly to compliment the solace emanating from the passenger. The title stands though this symmetry has been removed. On the subject of symmetry, perhaps it is just their identical facing, yet the two women in focus, looking left of frame, not the moving passer-by, appear similar enough to be related. I’ve always assumed it was mother and daughter, though this is just as likely mere inference.