“Why didn’t you wake me up?” I was furious because I was late. Leaving the bed and the blanket on winter’s morning is the most difficult task to do but for earning money you have to do this. My lifeline, my train was about to leave the station in just half an hour.
“I am trying to wake you up since 5’o clock.” My wife was furious because I was furious, so that means the furiousness was all round. While rushing towards the bathroom my eyes fell on the clock, it looked like a time bomb which was showing me that only 20 minutes were left.
Actually I live in Agra and work in Delhi, I am a lawyer and prefer train to travel, so daily I had to go and come back with the same train, my lifeline, my intercity. It never got late, yes I know you will be surprised but yes it is true that it never got late just like me. I also never reached late. So like Kareena Kapoor in Jab We Met, I can also say that I have never missed any train, thank you babaji.
So somehow I managed to be on time on the platform. Platform was as crowed as it always remains. I made my way towards my friends by pushing other passengers. I knew where they will be because it was almost a year since we all were traveling together.
“Are, Sharmaji. Aaj to late ho gaye?” Came voice of Mishraji from somewhere between the crowd. He waved his hand and I reached them. I looked at the digital clock which was showing that I was 1 minute late.
“Where’s our train?” I asked Mishraji.
“Late.” Said Verma who was sitting on the Chai wala’s shop and his eyes fixed on the newspaper. He moved his eyes to talk, “Late by 1 hour.”
“What the……… late by 1 hour?” I was surprised.
So our ‘Ever on time train’ was late by 1 hour. The crowd slowly started to disappear and now our Faltu talks started.
Mishraji started talking about politics and Verma on the news of newspaper. I didn’t have interest in any of them, so I was just observing the railway station.
“Chai, chai…….” And “Dainik Jagran, times of India, Hisdustan Times” Were the sounds which grew and faded rapidly between our conversations. A lady was fighting with his husband on some issue and was also feeding milk to her child. A beggar was singing melodious song and was expecting some coins in return. And the railway announcement was going on continuously.
Everything was usual for a normal Indian but one thing was a bit different which gained my attention. There was a man sitting on a corner of the platform wearing a torn overcoat. He had a fine body structure and was pretty young but still was sitting like a beggar. He was looking towards the earth, no expression, no feeling, no sound, just sitting.
“Sharmaji, this is the prime reason that our country don’t succeed.” I think Mishraji saw me staring that guy. “Our youngsters don’t want to do labor, just want to sit and eat. Here is the live example. See this man, he is young, he looks good and still sitting here in between beggars.” In between this topic now Verma also jumped.
“I am watching this guy here since two years. He can easily find job but then he will have to do some labor, so he decided to just sit and eat.” Verma looked in anger more than Mishraji.
This conversation continued for a long time and then a came a whistle. Our train had arrived.
Day ended and the preparation for another day started. Again rising early in the morning, again rushing towards railway station but now one thing has been changed, I have now started observing that guy, that so called beggar. A strange eagerness started to burn inside me. I wanted to talk to that guy. So I decided that after the day ends I will go and talk to that guy because at the evening there’s no one left on the station.
So the evening arrived, I bought some food and headed towards that guy. He was still looking down, fully covered with his overcoat, no sound nothing. His overcoat was fully torn in pieces but somehow he has arranged that nicely to cover up his body and remain saved from these killing winters. He was sitting near a bench, so I decided to sit on that bench.
“Want to eat something?” I asked him quite rudely. I don’t know what happens to human beings when they talk to someone who is below in reputation than them. Suddenly a change of voice can be observed.
He looked up at me. This was the first time I saw his face. I haven’t seen anyone with such an expressionless face. He was looking normal, he was young, just haven’t took bath, but if we skip that thing he was a normal guy. He stared at me for a long time and then again started to stare the earth.
I put the food I brought in front of him and ordered him to eat.
He didn’t respond.
“Itni mehnat to karni hi padegi. Come on take your hands out of your overcoat and start eating.” No response.
I kept on saying and he kept on ignoring. Now I was filled with anger. I took the food in my hand and threw it in dustbin. One dog came and started the struggle to eat food from that dustbin.
“Learn something from that dog, you mad guy……..” and I started cursing him. I even said the lines said to me by Mishraji and Verma to him. He was listening to me very quietly. He was still looking down. No expression yet.
I started to walk away from him and suddenly a cool breeze came, breeze was so strong that it prevented me to walk further. Suddenly I heard some kind of movement behind me. I turned but because the darkness of night was growing on platform, I had to adjust my eyes to see clearly what happened.
Literally I was stunned after what I saw. That guy’s overcoat has flown from his body and a lady was running behind the overcoat. I saw that the guy doesn’t have his both arms. I was about to cry but before me that guy cried after watching me. That lady again covered his body and came near to me to talk.
Because of the sudden breeze the street light above us was turned off so I was unable to see the lady’s face.
“Sir, he is Ravi. He’s my husband. I heard you when you were talking to him.” She was crying while talking to me. “He is not like, what you think about him. He worked in a mill where he lost both of his arms.” I should have said something at that time but I was chocked. So she continued, “He lost his arms 2 years ago and since then he is unemployed. No one wants to give him a job, sir. He is suffering from acute mental pressure. That’s why he has turned like this.”
“Why didn’t you tell all this to me earlier?” I said.
“Ravi doesn’t want me tell all this to anyone. He doesn’t want to show his helplessness to anyone.” I was wrong, I was so wrong about him. I wanted to curse myself.
“What you do?” I asked her.
“I work in Delhi and everything which I earn is spent on fees of lawyers.”
“Lawyers? Why?” I asked her.
“I have filed case against the mill owner, Shankar Lal Chaurasia.” The earth beneath me moved. Oh no, what I have done. She continued, “He used outdated machines, that’s why this all happened and he even has not given any compensation to us.”
“Don’t worry.” I said and disturbed her during her talk. “Your case is on Friday, right. Don’t worry you will win the case on Friday. And Shankar Lal Chaurasia will pay you whatever you ask.” I said.
“Who are you?” she was a bit confused.
The street light above us lightened again and she recognized me. She saw tears in my eyes. I saw tears in her eyes. Ravi saw tears in ours eyes. I turned and started to walk.
I was the lawyer of Shankar Lal Chaurasia. I knew that he was wrong but still fought for him, for money. But this guy changed me. I lost my case and let Ravi win the case.
Ravi was sitting on the bench and her wife was sitting near him on the platform. I brought a gift for Ravi. I handled him the gift. He unwrapped the gift, it was an overcoat. He smiled and I smiled back.