PrEm Ji

BIRTHDAY INSIDE AN EXPRESS TRAIN (Short story)

 

BIRTHDAY INSIDE AN EXPRESS TRAIN

 

Mondays… Now-a-days, I hate Mondays!

‘Mom.. Please wake me also up along with you in the morning,’ my eight year old elder son pleaded last Sunday night.

‘Me too…Mom,’ my younger son too joined him.

‘O.K… done,’ she told while giving them good night kisses.

‘Thanks Mom… Good night,’ they both slept off soon.

‘Premji…. Our boys are really missing us… When will we both get transfer to Trivandrum city again?’she asked painfully.

‘Soon dear,’ I consoled her. Even we had to store love for another week!

Alarm, set in the mobile phone, started ringing exactly at 3 am. These machines don’t have souls! Love too! She woke me up and we both got ready soon to leave for our destinations where we both work. She is staying there in college hostel where she works as an assistant professor and I am staying in an old house with my friend where I work. A family is torn into three fragments as our sons are staying with their grandma!

And one last look… Both the boys were sleeping peacefully and I could find a cute smile on the younger one’s face.

‘He is dreaming of some Tom and Jerry cartoons,’ I said.

‘No… he is dreaming of me,’ she said.

We both wanted to kiss them. But, we couldn’t… a kiss may wake them up.

‘If I can see you both leaving in the morning, I won’t be feeling so sad in the morning,’ my elder son’s words started reverberating in our ears.

Somehow, we managed to get into a small van, traveling to the city regularly in the early morning, jam-packed with fishermen about to go for fishing in the dark Sea. Life is a journey for daily bread for you and me, dear brothers! But, how many of us understand this simple truth?

She ran towards Trivandrum city bus-stand and I transformed to another Usain Bolt to the nearby railway station. It was sheer luck… I could manage to jump into the moving train… Venad Express at 5 AM… Lucky I was, as I could save another half day casual leave! I bought some newspapers from a vendor and started turning pages to find out the reviews about our literary festival… Trivandrum literary festival, concluded on last Sunday. Deccan chronicle, they gave us wonderful coverage, Indian Express too…

Within no time, I slept off like a new-born… The past four days, we were running like greased machines to realize our dream… the literary festival… a festival for the lesser known and of the lesser known Indian English poets! 

Chenganoor Railway station @ 7.30 AM…

Who made me wake up when the train reached the penultimate train stop I had to get down? Thanks God! I cleaned my face with some sweet smelling tissue papers to wipe away the fragments of sleep.

‘Good Morning, Sir,’ a teenage boy sitting next to me greeted me.

‘Thanks… Good Morning’

‘Sir, will you pass on that daily?’

‘Sure’

He returned it back with an innocent smile on his face within two minutes.

‘He wants to talk to you,’ my heart told me.

‘Sir, today is my birthday,’ he told while handing me over a toffee.

‘Many... many… happy returns of the day… young man’

‘Thank you… Sir’

‘By the way, what is your name?’

‘Graham... Sir, I am studying for Civil Engineering in Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology at Kottayam’

‘Sounds great’

‘Chechee (elder sister), today is my birthday,’ he told the girl sitting immediately opposite to me while handing over a toffee. Soon he started issuing toffees to almost every passenger in that cabin. 

She started crushing the toffee in between her fingers…

I was watching his actions with immense curiosity. What a lovely boy, he is! But, soon his face started darkening like a black hole… 

Nobody… nobody in that compartment put those toffees in their mouths! Nobody!

‘What kind of stupid world is this,’ I thought while putting that pealed toffee into my mouth. ‘Idiots! After all, he is a small boy… not at all going to steal any of your valuables, just by giving you a toffee.’ 

Suddenly, morning Sun rose up on his face like a blossoming Lotus! 

What a smile! What an aura! 

You gave the smile of my life! Toffee too! 

Thanks… Jesus… Thanks… My human God! 

I stood there in the platform watching him moving away with the speeding train. I started walking light-hearted. 

I picked up a crushed toffee from the empty platform and I could feel it, so heavy like those thirty silvers!         

 

Premji    

 

Comments3

  • spilleronsheet

    What a wonderful story
    It’s so beautiful
    Initially the sad part of family being divided thanks to earning bread it was sad
    Sometimes happiness requires money in pocket
    And then your encounter so accurate
    Lovely read dear author
    Well penned

  • spilleronsheet

    It’s not easy to trust others maybe
    And news and some crime serials make us more frightened about the unknown and in such situations we end up being suspicious and hurting others unknown
    So truly depicted dear author

  • L. B. Mek

    'Alarm, set in the mobile phone,
    started ringing exactly at 3 am.
    These machines
    don’t have souls! Love too!'

    'Life is a journey for daily bread
    for you and me, dear brothers!
    But, how many of us
    understand this simple truth?'

    'The past four days,
    we were running
    like greased machines
    to realize, our dream…'

    '‘He wants to talk to you,’ my heart told me.'
    (and one, day
    if karma is Just
    and in hope, we intrust
    all your good deeds, in life
    will be repaid, tenfold
    in the good fortune of your own 'lovely boys'
    that will be lucky to inherit, half
    of the gleaned wisdom
    you share, in this poetically didactic short stories)
    a Great read!



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