Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The wait at the railway station

I was waiting at the small railway station. It was cool with big trees lined along the station. I have been here for more than two hours. Three passenger trains stop either way at this wayside station for two minutes or so. The next train was expected in an hour. There were no other passengers seen on the only platform. A couple of cattle were seen chewing the cud at the far end. One man was sleeping a little yonder, must be a beggar. There was no waiting room. I was feeling hungry and opened the packet that my niece had given me. The aroma of pan cakes (dosa) with chili powder smeared on them triggered my appetite further. I had come to a village that was a few miles away from station. There was no water with me. I remembered a small shop outside the station but was hesitant to go leaving my luggage behind. I looked around. It was only then I spotted a young boy of about ten years watching me from the entrance gate. His curly hair needed a cut. He had good features, dark and skinny and his eyes were glued on me. He came running instantly when I called him.”Can you get me a water bottle from the shop outside?” I requested him proffering a twenty rupee note. In a trice he brought it. When I opened the box I found many pancakes and turned to look at the boy to find he had receded to his corner. I called him again.
“Have these two dosas. Do you live in the vicinity? Are you studying?”
He started eating with relish and replied “Yes, I live close to station with my uncle. I am not studying.”
“How come at this young age you are not attending school. Are there no schools nearby? There is one of course a few kilometers away from where I came.”
He kept quiet for some time. I prodded him for an answer giving him one more dosa.That did the trick.
“I am an orphan and living with my father’s cousin. My aunt has not taken kindly to my coming to live with them. She stopped me from school and make me help her in the chores. They have two cows and I take the milk to distribute to customers. I also take care of the animals, cleaning the shed, washing them and such like.”
“That is totally cruel. Why don’t you tell your uncle?”
“I did and got beating from both for complaining ungratefully when they were giving a shelter and food. I stopped asking and reconciled to my fate. I thought of running away but am afraid.”
“Would you like to come with me to the city? I will take care of you. I have a girl younger than you to play with. You can go to the best school. I will come next month. Decide in the meanwhile. I will talk to your uncle then. It is late this time”
“Thank you, uncle.When will you come? Please come soon. I wish to attend school”. I saw his eyes were moist.
Meanwhile the train entered the station with much noise. Soon after there was some activity and from no where a few passengers appeared and one or two got down from the train. The station master in his white uniform and with red and green flags came running towards me, may be because I was the only well dressed guy from the city.
“I failed to meet you earlier as I was held up elsewhere. Which village are you coming from? I have seen you coming to this place earlier occasions too.
“I came to meet my niece in Vaidhyanathapuram village for day.I haven’t met you also earlier” 
Meanwhile I saw the boy standing at the entrance to the station. I turned to station master and asked him ”Do you see that young boy yonder? Do you know him and his background by any chance?”
“Why, did he give any trouble to you/”he asked anxiously
“No, not at all, I just wished to know”
“He is my son, Mahalingam by name. A very intelligent boy, he is a topper in his class. He is multi-talented. With his prodigious memory, he can recite some chapters from Bhagavat Gita and Narayaneeyam.He can mimic actors like Rajini, Salman Khan and even talk like Amitabh Bachan.He takes part in all histrionic activities in school. He plays chess very well. Very obedient boy but given to pranks he plays on gullible people. Strangers often come to me and complain about him to my embarrassment. That is the only flaw. What did he tell you?”
I said “Nothing special”
There was a long whistle and the train started moving even as the station master waved his green flag. I turned towards the entrance and saw the boy putting his tongue out with thumb on his nose and waving his fingers at me. I could not suppress my smile.



31 comments:

  1. I was feeling so proud about you.
    And then came the ending. HEHEHEH!
    Still proud Sir!

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  2. That was indeed an unexpected twist, hilarious one KP. Really nice.

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  3. OH ! The cheek !!! That was a nice narration. I was thinking that this was a turning point for the boy too ;) when the whole story turned around ;)

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  4. Hahaha :) Such a prank. Love the boy ;)

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  5. Hahaaha.....cant stop smiling either

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  6. I knew there was going to be a twist in the tale )

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  7. Rib tickling ending to a heart warming story!!! :-)

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  8. Wonderfully narrated! As always your trademark 'twist in the tale' shines through. Lovely. :)

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  9. This made me smile !!! beautiful writing as always sir :-)

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  10. This was brilliant sir - a touch of Malgudi Days and William the trouble-maker combined in one.

    I would appreciate it if you could visit my blog and share your thoughts and feedback on my attempts at fiction.

    Regards,
    Mahesh

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    Replies
    1. You haven't left your blog link or your email ID.Please send
      kpartha12@gmail.com

      Delete
  11. What a twist in the tale! The naughty boy!!!
    I loved it as it's a happy ending :)

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  12. A nice story with a funny twist. Very nice.

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  13. I didn't expect this twist, though I expected one in general. Good one :)

    Destination Infinity

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  14. OMG!! What a smart cheeky guy!!
    Enjoyed reading this post :)

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  15. That was unexpected, but leaves me smiling too. The pranks some youngsters play!
    Enjoyed reading the post, KP. Now I feel like having dosa and chutney powder too.

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  16. Lovely ending.... i cried in the middle of the story and smiled in the end :) way to go!!

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  17. Twist to the tale:)..but nice one!

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  18. Put a smile on me as well, what a cute little naughty boy!

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  19. very very nice :). I am smiling, as well!

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  20. wow you are a master story teller. loved the twist

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  21. Loved the naughtiness of the boy :).

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  22. I love happy endings. Good story with nice twist.

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  23. hahaha :D Prankster at prowl ;) very good one KP

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  24. I loved the boy. For a moment I thought I was reading R K Narayanan..

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