Sometimes, he thinks he is selfish,

How could he ever repay what his family did for him…

 

 

A thick chunk of memories, a deep fog engulfing them — and slow tears as he goes through their beauty. A pure mind absolving itself, trying to sleep. The memories keep attacking him, paving a path to his sated soul. The train moved- “chukk chukk— chukk chukk”, a journey towards home.

 

Flash…!

 

Shatabdi Express

Gwalior to Bhopal

 

Two people get into the train, a young boy in his teens-  15 years of age, tall and handsome, and his father- a fat black man who had been handsome once. The boy’s father had a glitch in his hand, an orthopedic problem. Surprisingly, he was not letting his son carry the luggage.

“Let me handle it, I am stronger” The son argued.

“But I wish to remain stronger for a long time, right? His father shot back.

 

They were like that, their arguments continued…

The boy was traveling alone for the first time. His father, I don’t know why- had tears embedded his eyes, they had not found a way out. Like a true leader, he was teaching his son to take care of his bags, and not to take anything edible from anyone.

The boy was frustrated, he had heard a lot of those things again and again. Time passed.

The boy sat comfortably in his seat, his father kept standing.

 

Travel with care, and call when you reach Bhopal

I know.

Don’t take anything anyone gives you, it may be harmful

I know; I am not a child.  You already said that a thousand times.” The boy bickered back, frustrated.

I just care about you.

 

The train gave a horn. The father skipped out of the train and watched his child in silence.

The train had started moving. The boy looked around.

The seat in front of him was occupied by a couple of ‘foreigners’, a male and a female. They laughed at his father and mimicked the withered man’s expressions– “INDIAN PARENTS!”

 

All of a sudden, the boy’s eyes flashed back towards the window. His father was weeping, watching his son grow.

 

Pang!

A sudden anger towards the foreigners, who didn’t understand his father’s emotions. He crushed that anger with force.

Then there was guilt- he should have been humbler to his father.

 

Tears followed…

But his father could not see them.

The train had departed.

 

The memory broke, he came back to the present. Where the story started.

Sometimes, he thinks he is selfish,

How could he ever repay what his family did for him…

He recollected the beauty of having a resilient family, and re-read the lines that he loved in his favorite story. The pdf appeared dim in the train, but the flickering words surfaced.

 

“My father got his money by his own exertions and prided himself on never spending a penny more than was needed. His clothes were those of a working man, and his hands also. He never had any inclination to earn the title of Babu by extravagant display; and I myself, his only son, owe him gratitude for that. He gave me the very best education, and I was able to make my way in the world. I am not ashamed of the fact that I am a self-made man. Crisp banknotes in my shelf are dearer to me than a long pedigree in an empty family chest”                                                                                    -Rabindranath Tagore                                                                                         (Babus of Nayanjore)

 

With the thoughts of that strong family supporting his back, his brain found solace.

He closed his eyes to a deep and sound slumber. The train moved on “chukk- chukk …. chukk- chukk”.  Sixteen hundred kilometers away, in one corner of the room- 3 AM, his sister prepared two special cards for his birthday. She prepared ‘one’ for everyone else, ‘two’ just for him as he was special.

 

With her smiling face, everything faded away.

 

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