The morning Train -SANTOSH It was a cool and breezy winter morning on a Sunday. The compartment was virtually empty. I occupied the cozier window seat. The train was about to move from the station when two young boys, looked 7 or 8 , stormed into the compartment disrupting whole serene silence. Following them entered their father, an unshaven, unkempt, sick and pale looking fellow. He occupied the seat just opposite to me. His children; both in the same colour dresses began to run through the aisle from one end of the compartment to the other shouting , yelling, and screaming. I felt like giving them a kick for robbing away my private moments and peace of mind.
The man struggled to smile at me as if for apologizing for his naughty children's unruly behaviour. I turned away my grim face disapprovingly to make it obvious that his sons were killing my comforts and looked through the window. Outside, the cattle were grazing on the green meadows.
The man once again tried to take my attention:"Sir, I know my sons are disturbing you a lot. They are very happy today. Because I told them they are going to see their mother after many years. She is not staying with me. We are separated over a small issue".
I was not at all in a mood to listen to his words. My eyes were searching for the rising sun over the blue hills; holding my camera ready to capture the scene.
The elder boy started to ride horse through aisle. Why can't this fellow ask his sons to stop making noise? Is this the way to bring up children? I felt like asking him.
" It was over a very silly matter on that day she took up a quarrel with me . I lost my cool and slapped her. Only once in our blissful, loving relationship. But she left me in annoyance and never returned. Since then my children used to ask me when would their mom come back . I always used to console them….she would come tomorrow. I too really hoped that she would certainly come back one day. But that tomorrow never came in our life. And after few years my sons stopped asking. Today when I told them I would take them to see their mother they started jumping with all the happiness and excitement.
" I ignored him completely and started focusing my camera on the rising sun.
" Last night my brother-in-law called up to say that my wife is no more. Her car ran into a speeding truck .So I just can't afford to ask my sons to keep quite and take away these few moments' joy from them…please.
" Tears were now flowing freely down onto his dirty shirt. His trembling words sank into my heart. A sudden gloom gripped me. I hid the pain on my face with the camera pretending that I was shooting the rising sun.
" Sir, I am sorry for my sons ..they are troubling you a lot….
Oh no..they are children after all. Let them play…I wanted to console the man . But voice didn't come out of my choked throat.
Oblivious of his father's grief and predicament; the elder son continued to ride his horse in the aisle.
The train was moving slowly into the thick darkness of the Dombivili tunnel.