PrEm Ji




Thiruvananthapuram Railway Station…

Like a huge fortress made of rock and concrete, she has been protecting the fast moving steel beasts for the last 150 years! It was the early hours of the day, and I had been waiting there as a worn out bogie of an endless “human-train,” starting from the ticket issuing window… Thirty five minutes had already been gone!

Five guys, stood ahead of me and the ticket issuing clerk, a woman in her fifties, desperately tried to locate the keys on the worn-out keyboard. The black and white computer screen resembled her event-less life.

“The train will depart within two minutes,” an aged man cried out from behind. “Please speed up… Madam”

She didn’t care that at all, as she had been there behind the window for more than ten hours, that too as the continuation of previous day’s night shift. If her parents could have got a chance to rename her, sure, they would have called her “Ms Sleep!”

Five windows, for issuing tickets, remained closed.

“Indian Railways is running under huge profits now… just by downsizing its employees!” she murmured out of anger. “They are exploiting us like slaves.”

“Why employees alone? They are exploiting us too… And what kind of profit? They make profit just by cutting down the expenses for passenger safety, from 30% to 11% of total revenue!” a noted activist shouted from rear.

“Friend… we live in a liberalized world… what counts here is profit!” she said calmly.

“Sir… will you please get me a ticket to Kottayam?” a forty year old country guy requested the man who stood ahead of me.

“Hey… you… move back…” a policeman shouted from the other end and the he moved away desperately.


“Here is your ticket”

“Thank you Sir… thanks a lot,” he collected the ticket happily.

“Please collect the money…”

“No thanks… Pinku”

“Pinku! Sorry Sir… I cannot reco…..”

“Can’t you recognize me? O.K… now, look at my eyes”

“Premji…O! My God!” Pinku shouted aloud.

Fortunately, we got two seats, immediately opposite to each other and the metal wheels of Venad Express started rolling swiftly.

“Twenty years… we haven’t met… at least even once… for the past twenty years,” Pinku started talking aloud, in a language: neither Tamil nor Malayalam.

Innocent men always talk aloud!

“The innocence in your eyes… that’s your biggest asset…dear Pinku”

“Thanks… So, what are you doing now?”

“Teaching numbskulls”

“Great… do you write stories now-a-days?”

“Not much…”

Thirty years back… a Sunday…

It was around noon and the burning Sun was at the peak of his glory. We had been playing football at the beach since morning. Another Sun was burning with maximum intensity, deep inside my stomach.

“Premji, let’s go home,” Pinku told.

His home… it resembled the shack of the old man, portrayed by Hemingway! His father owned a Catamaran and Mom made a living as a fish vendor.

“We don’t get very tasty fishes like this,” I told his Mom.

“We don’t sell tasty fishes outside, you silly fool,” Pinku told while putting a huge piece of fish in his mouth.

A huge heap of fish bones piled up before us.

“Premji… which material is the “whitest” on earth?”

“Titanium dioxide.”

“That’s science,” Pinku registered his protest with a smile.

“I don’t know”

“These fish bones!”

“No… Your eye-white!” I couldn’t ignore the sea of innocence in his eyes.

Pinku was marginalized to the outskirts of my life later when he was forced to elope with a wonderful girl from some other caste, at the very beginning of his twenties.

“Pinku, where do you live now?”

“Somewhere near Tirunelveli… I too have two sons, like you… the elder one is doing degree course in Computer Engineering and the other guy is still in school.”

“That’s really great!”

“I didn’t get a chance for higher studies… that’s why; I still have to wrestle with the Sea!” he remained silent for a moment. “Premji, do you still have those softwoods in your farm?”

“Yes… Do you need them?”

“Yes… I like to own a Catamaran. I will pay you…”

“O.K… we will do barter business… Come with those rare fishes… with the whitest of all bones,” I laughed.

“Impossible… my friend,” his face turned gray… and he remained silent for some time.

“Premji… Do you know the place where I reside now? My son is being kicked out from the Engineering College where he was studying… Do you know: why?”

“Is it?”

“Because we reside at Koodankulam”

“Near the Nuclear Power Plant under construction?”

“Yes… My son… he was leading a very powerful group of bloggers against the nuclear lobby… He was thrown out from attaining higher education… He was getting foreign aid; it seems, to undermine national interests…”

“How sad! What a silly argument… ”

“Don’t worry boy… We have the Sea… our Mother Goddess -- I told him…”


“Sorry Dad… They will kill her too… The coolant water and low-grade waste from the Koodankulam Nuclear Plant are going to be dumped in to the sea which will have a severe impact on fish production and catch. We have nowhere to go… deeper poverty and misery… they will be our future assets… It will affect the food security of two states too… Kerala and Tamilnadu --- Premji… That was his reply”

“I am sorry Pinku… Every democracy fights a shadow war against her own people… May be, it is more direct now…”

“Every fish, you are going to eat in future, will have black bones… there are chances, you may get boneless fishes too!”

“Like boneless politicians…”

“Premji… You reside here in Thiruvananthapuram… just seventy kilometers away from Koodankulam… If anything happens, we people are going to die like dogs… including you!” His words slammed upon my soul like a thunderbolt.

Marie Salisbury, a pretty woman in the beginning of her twenties, got up bit late on that day as her White-house internship was over by the previous night. Being the one and only daughter of wealthy parents, she had been living in an expensive apartment near to the White-house from the very beginning of her internship. She was welcomed by a short message on facebook, that too from her former boyfriend.

“Hi Marie… please check this link…

She clicked on it, lazily as wealth and laziness are eternal twins! The new tab was opened swiftly.

Unfortunately, Marie could see only monsters, made of thousands of tons of depleted Uranium and White Phosphorous, wandering through the BUSHES of Whitehouse.

Fallujah was one of the least affected areas of Iraq immediately after the 2003 invasion by the US-led Coalition. The U.S. military first denied that it has used white phosphorus as an anti-personnel weapon in Fallujah, but later retracted that denial, and admitted to using the incendiary in the city as an offensive weapon. Reports following the events of November 2004 have alleged war crimes, human rights abuses, and a massacre by U.S. personnel, including indiscriminate violence against civilians and children. This point of view is presented in the 2005 documentary film, Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre.

Kudankulam Atomic Power Project
is a nuclear power station under construction (when I wrote this story!) in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Construction has been delayed due to anti-nuclear protests by the locals and People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy. Now, the plant is fully functional.

June 2012


  • Author: PrEmJi PrEmJi (Pseudonym) (Offline Offline)
  • Published: September 27th, 2021 07:50
  • Category: Unclassified
  • Views: 16


  • Trenz Pruca

    Wow. It struck me in the gut like the kick of a mule. Good write. Thank you

    • PrEm Ji

      Thank you.

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