Thursday, September 30, 2010

A night in the station

The Ayodhya verdict was scheduled on the 30th of September 2010.I was to leave Chattarpur the same night at nine.A sudden phone call from my sister urged me to leave the hospital a day earlier on the 29th and it had to be at midnight to catch an on-going train to Delhi from Harpalpur.We were in the borders of UP,I had no access to television news so was unaware of the umpteen number of SPGs and the border closing measures the government had undertaken.Pappu,the sardar drove us through the night to a sleepy station past the mid-night.Rev Prakash who was travelling with me had a 'Frontline' which I managed to skim through in between slapping several mosquitoes that were having a field day sucking blood off the passengers in deep slumber inside the waiting room.I decided to move out to the benches for some fresh air.
An old villager lay on the bench stretched out to his full length covered by a thin chaddar.When he saw me approach the bench.He apologetically got up and attributed his prostation to ill-health.I wondered what urged him to share his discomfort with me.He walked off after sometime as though in a hurry to catch another train.
In the mean time a young lady in her twenties approached the seat with a basket in her hand.I watched her with a lot of interest to see what she was about.The basket contained a kilo of onions,a hundred grams of green chilli,ten to twelve limes and two pieces of radishes cut in half.There were two pieces of cloth which she tidied up meticulously,threw away some of the onion rinds that lay around ,covered the basket with one of the linens and sat put.I asked her where she was about,she had taken a train from Jhansi selling raw grams and had gone all the way seven stations through and was on her way back home after a night's work.All the grams were sold.I always get a feeling of joy when I am able to connect with these interesting everyday people I bump against in my frequent travels.There is so much to appreciate and learn from the common man.SHe decided to get a quick wink on the bench and requested me to wake her up when the train came adding that we could travel back together.I sat on watching the on-goings in that silent station I may in my lifetime never see again.The train came ,I woke her up .She assumed loudly that I would be getting into the AC coach,which I was.I found myself rather sadly walking away from the lady only too acutely aware of a missed oppurtunity to peep into a life which was so differently similar to mine.

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