Monday, November 13, 2017

Asansol - A Short Story

The train stopped at Asansol.
Raghav Mukherjee looked out of the window and saw the water tank. An old man was taking a bath from the water oozing through a hole in the tank. He seemed to be optimistic and contended. 
Raghav then had a glance at a young boy sitting near the water tank. The boy must be about 11 years old, Raghav thought. He was well dressed and seemed to be from a good family. But he was weeping. He seemed to have lost all hope.
Raghav was himself in a hopeless situation. He could not understand his B.Sc Maths subjects and was failing miserably. His father would beat him everyday and he had run away from his home in Kolkata to a destination which did not matter.
Raghav then had a brainwave. He thought of getting down at Asansol and figure out and help the little boy sitting and weeping near the tank.
He got out of the train and crossed the railway tracks to approach the boy.
Raghav offered the boy a candy and sat close to him. He enquired where was he from. And where are his parents.
The boy said, "I live in  Gariahat in Kolkata.  We were travelling in a train, coming back from a marriage in Mughal Sarai. My father, mother and I. I and father got down here to fill water. The train started moving and my father ran and entered the train. I was left behind."
Raghav then asked when did this happen, his father leaving him here.
The boy replied, "Five days back".
Raghav could not believe it. His father may have deliberately left the boy here in Asansol, who knows.
Raghav then asked for the address of his house in Kolkata and prepared to take the boy back to his home.
They reached Kolkatta in a few hours. Raghav then took an auto to Gariahat and reached the home of the boy.
The father of the boy showed no emotion on seeing the boy. The boys mother seemed to be a little relieved. 
Raghav did not ask anything. The boy's father did not say anything.
Raghav just waved goodbye to the boy and left.
Raghav thought to himself how people could be. They all seemed small and hollow.
Raghav saw a broom lying ahead of him astray in the pavement. He picked up the broom and told himself "I shall forget my graduation. I shall start a new life. I shall become a sweeper."

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