The train had just arrived on the crowded platform no. 4 of Kalyan junction. The police had to leave their gossips and half nibbled samosas behind to push and pack as many people in the compartment as humanly possible. In situations like these I seriously doubt if we need air to live. All these people need for survival, is to put one of their feet and a couple of fingers on that train. The rest will be managed by the other people who will make space out of nothing to take them in that horrendous metal box.
But every once in a while, fate takes me out of this nihilist trance. I was one of the persons who got out safely from the box. I patted myself down to ensure I had everything that was with me when I boarded the train. A part of me also searched for anything that wasn’t on me before, just to be sure. While doing this I bumped into a person who was carrying a child in his arms.
Yes. So the man bumped at me and went along without apologizing, or accusing or even acknowledging my presence. Not that I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting him to. However I was compelled to acknowledge their presence. There was a certain longing on his face. But he wasn’t sad. As if he knew that this longing was about get satiated. The child was gleefully giggling and the father asked him to be quiet or the surprise will be spoilt. Honestly, I don’t know if that is what he said; I could just see him mouthing something with a smile and a finger on the child's lips. You see, one can only hear a chaotic murmuring here. All the sounds get merged and are presented to your mind as a jigsaw puzzle. You need to care too much for a person to be able to hear what they were actually saying. But maybe that’s it. The man tiptoed towards a woman, who already seemed to be looking around frantically for for a familiar sound. She had just heard the sweetest laughter, distinct, mischievous and well known to her. The child was trying his best to be quiet. He was quite physically vocal about it as well. Shaking all over trying to contain a laugh. Trying to shut his mouth with both his hands.
She finally realized what was happening. The man revealed himself to her. The boy was no longer holding on to his laughter. The woman lost the strength in her knees.
They hugged for a long time. She kissed her child. Took him in her arms. The man presented a small cake packet from his pocket and she happily gave it to her son.
By then I had started to feel like a stalker, so I increased the volume on the handsfree and bumped into a few more people who did not acknowledge me Or I them. Then towards the escalator that did not work and a bike waiting for me outside the station.
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