Saturday, July 28, 2012

Susan's realisation

Susan was on night shift in the current booking counter. It was 11pm and there were hardly any passengers in the counter at that time.. She was reading some magazine. The railway station was subdued .She could see the waiting hall where many passengers were waiting for their trains. Some were lying on the floor with their children and their boxes and baggage kept close around them. Some were dozing on the chairs. One or two were seem drying their hair with towels after a bath in the bath rooms. Some of the lights had been dimmed.

Susan heard a squeaky voice “Amma” and found a 16 year old girl standing before her with a child on her shoulders. She was dusky in colour with her hair disheveled. Susan did not fail to notice the cheap and faded plastic bangles on her wrists. Evidently poor she could discern from the dark circles around her eyes that she had not eaten proper food. The child in her arms moved a little and Susan saw a very fair hand of the child with a golden bangle.

Quickly alerted Susan asked “Where do you want to go?”

The girl looked behind her shoulders repeatedly and said hurriedly “Somewhere”

“Are you in any trouble? You don’t seem alright.You cannot even tell where you are going. You are too young to be a mother. What is the baby to you? Tell me freely. I will help you” said Susan taking pity on the young girl.

“Amma, The baby is in danger and must be saved. I will leave the child with you” Even before completing the sentence she looked back when she heard a ruffle of feet and a gruff and angry voice”Roja, what are you doing here? Auto is waiting”

Around 50, he looked a ruffian every inch with pan stained teeth and a deep scar on his cheek. When the young girl with the child turned to follow him, Susan called him.

“Who are you? She had come to buy a ticket and why do you take her? What is she to you/” asked Susan even as she signaled unnoticed to the railway police constable who was assigned to the booking counters.

“She is my daughter and I have come to take her. How does it matter to you? he said as he held Roja’s hand and started dragging her.

It was then the strong arm of the constable fell on his shoulder.”If she is your daughter whose child is this? She cannot the baby’s mother” he bellowed at the man

“The baby is my grandchild. What is wrong with that and why do you question me?” he said defiantly

“Because the baby cannot be your grandchild. She is very fair, dressed in good clothes and is having a gold bangle and a gold ring in her ears. You and your daughter look poor in tattered clothes. I think you have stolen the baby”
Susan intervened asking the cop to hold him while she talked to the girl in private. She took her inside to another room” Here is your last chance to come clean. Tell me without fear what happened. I will try to save you”

“He is in the habit of stealing small babies, rob the jewels, if any, on them and sell the kids for small amounts to others. They in turn sell them to childless couple, beggars who maim them for begging or to bad people” she confessed

“Do you do the stealing each time?”

“No, He employs another woman. This time she was not seen and he forced me to do it. I was unwilling because the young babies were always harmed.”

“Then why did you do it?”Susan asked

“Because he is my dad and I have three younger sisters with me in the house. He will beat us blue if we disobey him”

“Where is your mom?”

“She committed suicide three years back”

As the girl sobbed gently patting the baby that had woken up, Susan could not control tears from her eyes when she heard the girl telling her “Let me restore the child to her parents in the waiting hall before they wake up. My sisters and I are suffering. I do not want this innocent child to suffer”

Susan hugged the girl notwithstanding her dirty clothes and said “Do not worry. I will make arrangements for your safe custody. Come and see me after a week”

Then she got busy with her work and left the matter to be handled by the constable after pleading with him not to put the girl into any trouble. She started pressing her husband to find a foster home for the destitute girls.

It was after a week she had come to the railway station to see off her relative by the early morning train. As she was entering the station she noticed to her great shock the girl, the man and the police constable sipping tea at a tea stall and chatting animatedly with laughter.

It hit her like a sledge hammer that his being a dad, the four sisters and suicide of mom were all a concocted story and that she entered the booking counter room that day to avoid being seen by the parents of the child. It was a shocking realization that the threesome were part of a racket under her very nose..



13 comments:

  1. But why did Roja go with the baby to Susan in the first place if she was part of the racket and had no qualms as she is seen later chatting merrily with the man who claimed to be her father and the constable?

    Or did I miss the plot?

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  2. I am lost.. after reading Anil's comment I had to re read the story again.But this story is kinda real.This happens and is still happening across the country!

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  4. Yet another "real life" story. Such baby snatching rackets are very common place in India and perhaps other South Asian countries too. Dozens of babies are stolen every day in our country . All of this happens right under our noses and authorities like hospital/police are hand in glove and collect their share of the booty.

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  5. Baby snatching is very common more at crowded places. But sadly even in the administration is hand in glove with these criminals. as in the story here, they try to mislead us by creating sympathy. anybody with good intentions would do as Susan did. But the last scene served should help Susan to think twice before offering help. An eye opener to the happenings around.

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  6. KP thats a superb story but its so much happening these days!!! There is no stoppage to such rackets!!! Very well written and seriously everybody should read this!!! ufff its so shocking!

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  7. That is just another unfortunately too realistic to be just another story :( This felt so real. KP, I love reading your stories ! :)Because after all, ultimately we are all just another story.

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  8. From that pict (that has a tale to tell) to the incident narrated here, are very common in our country these days…. When your imagination is plugged in, there is another story born!

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  9. Lovely story, KP. Very true one, doesn't look like a story, though. But do tell me, are all booking clerks so naive and stupid?:P

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  10. I dont see any light at the end of the tunnel, I am overwhelmed at the rising population and the various modes that people adopt to eat 2 meals a day.
    Good throw on what is happening around.

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  11. shocking alright. not surprising as crime seems to be at its peak these days.

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  12. This does happen often Sir and it is because of people like these that we don't know whom to trust and whom not to trust

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