The vendor called out as he passed the coupe.
The baby fell on its knee trying to walk across to his mother.
The mother ran to pick up the child and is busy placating him.
Ravishing young lady sat across him checking her flock of hair in the mirror of her mini clutch bag.
The chatter from the group of young boys engrossed in a card game relayed from above.
The train had halted at Varnasi for 15 mins. He hadn’t moved or uttered a word from the time he got on.
The newspaper covered Sanjay’s face; his eyes peered through his bi-focal spectacles and his hair rested neatly combed sideways.
A pencil in his hand was losing his grip.
The mother tried to console the baby. She had had him after 7 long years of wanting a child. And 10 years of marriage. A single scratch on him scared her. Will it become a sore, was it paining a lot. Her mother always told her not to be so attached, so in control of her child. But how could she not. Until Aditya was a little bigger, she had to take care, didn’t she?
Aditya by now had got fed up of all the cuddling and wanted to go off again. He wriggled but no, his mom would not leave him.
Sanjay meanwhile was doing the sudoku. At least trying to do so. His mind was far away. He was a journalist and was used to travel. But not like this. He just did not like this sleeper class travel. but he had been forced. Yes forced.
His wife of 5 years had left him. Because she said that he had become mechanical. His sensitivity, emotions had all left him, she said. He did not respect her, for that matter she said, he did not even respect himself. Always being perfect, always complying to his expectations was getting on to her and so she was leaving him. To add to his misery, he was not given any dicey assignments. When he had asked why, his superior had said that he lacked sensitivity. On the verge of a nervous breakdown, the same ‘boss’ of his asked him to take a train ride and rediscover ‘life’,
‘Hey you’, he called out at one of the boys playing cards,’ Why are you throwing the banana peel down, can’t you get up and throw it in the bin? And hey you’, he called out at the mother, ‘can’t you see your son wants to be free.’ And then he gave a look at the beauty Khushi too who dropped her mirror into her purse.
The mother had let go of her son and Aditya in his curiosity had gone near to Sanjay. He pulled his cheeks and gave a smile but Sanjay in his fury just glared at him and Aditya ran back to his mother.
For once there was silence in the compartment.
‘Hatto, hatto’, there was a voice and a lady in her 60s battled amongst the crowd and came and sat there.
‘Excuse me,’ said Sanjay, we are already too many here, so can you find another place?’
‘Sure. But you see I have a RAC ticket and as soon as a TC comes and gives me a berth I will move’, said she.
The train left Varanasi. In no time the mother, the old lady and Khushi had become friends, In time, boxes were opened and food shared. Sanjay was irritated. He was hungry and secondly it was a long time since he had had home cooked food.
‘Beta’, it was the old lady and she was offering him some laddoos. He looked up to see that all the others were having it too.
‘No’, he said rudely.
‘Why? Do you have diabetes?’, asked she.
‘Why, does it matter to you whether I am diabetic or not?’
‘No but I have some other munchies too if you don’t want these….’
‘See you old lady, mind your own business, don’t mess with me…’, said Sanjay.
‘Hey you, keep your frustrations to yourself but be respectful to an old lady,’ it was one of the boys playing cards.
The old lady sensing that a fight was about to ensue sat down signaling the other guy to be quiet.
‘You had come to visit Kashi Vishwanath aunty’, it was Khushi.
‘Not really. I came to meet my daughter.’ And then with a look at Sanjay she added, ‘Priya lost her husband and her 10 year old son in an accident. After that for a few months she was lost in her own thoughts’
‘Then?’, it was the mother.
‘Then she read an article of how some widows were left in Varanasi to fend for themselves. That changed her life. She came down here and with the help of NGO’s, benefactors and even some government agencies, she set up her institution for widows which help them make self-reliant. Today she helps to help women like her- widowed and lonely’. She said this with pride.
By then the TC came and allotted her a seat at the other end of the bogie.
As she was leaving she tapped Sanjay on his shoulders and said,’Son, a number of hurdles come in life, personal, professional but the trick is how you face them. It’s very easy to buckle under them but the trick is how you survive them.’
When Sanjay reached his destination it was with a new vigor and hope.
Taking part in the Tell a tale contest
And the rules are
1. Contestants should complete this story in 750-800 words(Excluding my start).
2. Contestants should tag two(minimum) other bloggers to participate in the contest.
3. Contestants should leave their suggestions/appreciations on fellow contestants post
4. Contestants should tag this post while making an entry to the contest.
Create a new post in your blog, link it here and leave a comment for me to know!
5. Contestants will be judged on
b. Originality/ Fresh thoughts
c. Climax of the story
d. Good written English
e. Message of the story
A Contest closes on 31st January 2012.
Hope I have complied to the rules.
Have to tag two persons so tagging two of those who like to ‘fiction’.