This post is written for April A to Z Blogging Challenge which I participated. Re-blogging and sharing Letter T for Train Story, based on my observation made during days in Mumbai where I commuted every day in the locals. The story is imaginary where I interpreted thing my own way. Hope you like it.
Day 1- 6 .am:
Rahul boarded the crowded local train at Vile Parle and wore a dazzled look with groggy eyes. He yawned and struggled to close his eyes, remembered the sleepless night at the airport when he accompanied Kajal to the station. They parted ways. A last attempt to coax her to stay in the city was mercilessly turned down. “No! Rahul. This relationship is suffocating me. You traveled with me all the way to the airport and it’s pointless to mend things. It’s over.” she ruthlessly placated him. As the train whooshed away from the railway station, he struggled to stand among the horde of human sweat, his tiny body squeezed as he held on to the strap-hanger.
The motley crowd got down at Bandra station and he saw a tiny little girl, dusting off the unoccupied seat with her ragged skirt. The innocent child spoke in a tender and innocent voice, “Sit down, Seth (Sir). It’s for you. You tired!” He sat down and offered her two rupees. She gave him an innocent smile, before moving her tiny feet faraway, sung loudly, hitting the decibel level and losing the voice to attempt a Himesh Reshamiya again, “Jhalak Diklaja.” Rahul smiled to himself, sought happiness in the joy of the child to conceal his disappointment. The child disappeared among the crowd as the train reached Churchgate station.
Day 2-7 p.m:
A strange camaraderie developed between Rahul and the nameless girl in the train where they often crossed each other’s path. She was always busy opening the palm of her hand to passengers, asking a rupee but always turned to greet Rahul sitting and flapping open the morning newspaper.Not one word transpired between them and Rahul slipped a ten-rupee note in her hand. He asked, what’s your name.’ She scratched her dusty and ragged hair shyly, ‘I don’t know. They never told me.’ ‘Friends’? Rahul asked. She perched her head towards the train ceiling. ‘Seth, you are nice and always gives bakshish. You are not like others. I like you. Can I call you, Bhaiya?’ she hesitatingly asked.
Of course, you can, Rahul cheerfully patted her back.
It’s been six months that Rahul saw his young friend, singing on the top of her voice inside the locals during the day. He longed to see his small sister and wondered on the fate of small children, homeless in maximum city and often starved of hunger. Every morning, he would carry banana and vada pav in his back pack, looking for her which she would willfully grabbed with a smile. He would run past Rahul’s seat and waved to him. Small snippets of conversation where the child would tell Rahul how she longed to see him and she slept on the pavement for hours at Marine Drive. She avoided the gaze of the ruthless lady who slapped her if she dozed off because money will slip out of the hand. Rahul felt powerless, wondered how he cannot do anything for her. He cursed his destiny of being a student and promised to himself that one day he would free her from the clutches of the ruthless lady and get her admitted to a good school. He is amazed how a child, despite the hardships of life, braved every storm in life.
One day, Rahul wanted to surprise his young friend with a Mac Do meal, pastry and chocolate which he bought and carefully slide in his bag. It was noon when he boarded the train but the homeless child couldn’t be spotted anywhere. He was almost on the verge of tears but unwilling to let go of the angelic child. He boarded several trains during the day undeterred but there was no sign of the child. During his train journeys, he looked around outside the window as the train whooshed past the city and railway station. But there was no sign of her. With time, the memory of the child faded away and Rahul graduated from college and joined a music label company.
One day, he walked out of the studio and took the bus to Colaba and got down near the municipal school. He walked past the hurly-burly children, dashing out of the school in grey uniform when he heard footsteps dashing past him. A tiny shadow grabbed his hand and shouted in excitement, “Rahul bhaiya.”
Rahul couldn’t believe his eyes. It was his young friend. Her hair neat combed and she stood with proud smile, wearing her school uniform. “My name is Komal. School wali Didi gave me this name. I like my school, I like my teachers but I missed you.” Tears rolled down Rahul eyes and he hugged Komal, “Where you suddenly disappeared,” he asked.
She tells how one evening they were beaten on the street by one ruthless woman who was in charge of the street kids when one Didi came to their rescue, accompanied by the police. The gang was dismantled. From a being a homeless child, Komal now has a home and stays with Didi (sister) who is a banker. Komal calls her ‘Sapna Didi’ who was standing to the wall folded her arms and looked at them with compassion. She walks towards Rahul and Komal, shaking the hands of the former, “Komal told me everything about you. I am impressed. After all, the world is not such a bad place to live. Rahul tells, “Let’s head straight to Mc Do. I owe it to Komal.” They walked together, enjoying a sumptuous meal with Komal not leaving the sight of Rahul, telling him everything about her school life and friends. Komal suddenly felt sad,”I don’t want anyone of you to leave me. You are my everything, Rahul Bhaiya and Sapna Didi. Why don’t both of you get married so that all three of us can stay together?”
Rahul and Sapna became silent and blushed before hugging Komal. The three of them laughed together, holding each other’s hands tight and hugged.