May be it was the first day that Arun was getting into the train to move to Mumbai. He has got a return ticket too, but he hesitates to come back to his hometown. He has already been to Mumbai couple of years ago and stayed only few months. He returned back due to financial crisis in home. And this time, he has got a job offer there and he’s ready to travel immediately. It’s just the last round of interview which was pending. The officials have already confirmed his employment with that company; it’s the HR discussion which he wants to appear in F2F. The company have arranged boarding and lodging for him. Only few companies do that, it’s one of the elite companies. So it’s an easy thing for them to handle a person.
Arun, packed his baggage and reached railway station alone. He looks around the display board for his train schedule. He drops the baggage from his hand into the platform and inserts his hand inside the pocket for getting the ticket. With a great difficulty, he finds his ticket and looks at the board for the train number and platform. He scratches his head and was looking confused in the entire Chennai Central Railway station which was crowded with hundred thousand passengers.
The display board was repeatedly displaying the number of trains which were to leave from 2 hrs. till then. Hopefully, he was able to find his train and the platform correspondingly.
‘Mumbai Mail from Platform Number 2 departing at 10 50 PM.’
His doubt was cleared. He smiled widely. Immediately he keeps his ticket inside his jeans and bents down to take his baggage.
Almost while bending to take his baggage, he heard a noise from near asking “Sir, shall I help with these?” He looked surprised to find a porter near him. The porter was smiling by seeing him and Arun adjusted his baggage.
“Please sir, I will do these for you” the porter pleaded Arun. But Arun, was really stubborn and didn’t care him, took his baggage and started walking to platform number 2. Porter was never leaving him; He followed Arun through his walk towards platform. Arun turned back with a simple smile, but feared deeply inside. He was afraid of him, as his stare meant to steal something from him. Arun held his baggage very tightly and walked little faster to reach the platform.
The platform was engaged with different sets of people on the cement roads busy selling night dinner, magazine vendors, tea & coffee vendors who were trying to impress people with their marketing skills to sell their products that day. Arun, who was watching all that was walking in a really slow to reach his platform, was eventually caught hold by the porter.
“Sir” he uttered in a dragging mode as if he has caught hold of a fugitive from an investigation. Arun couldn’t bear.
“What do you want man?” asked Arun with an irritation to the porter and kept his baggage down.
“This” said the porter and pointed out the baggage. While he was uttering, he bend down and collected it. Arun was baffled. He doesn’t know how to react. He just wanted this red colored shirt guy to end his following on him. The porter was bald headed, wearing a thick red shirt and a lungi; He was talking with paan inside his mouth.
“Now follow me” said the porter and walked towards platform number two.
Having walked from the bus stop, Arun felt relieved to give the luggage to him as he could now walk freely. The porter was in possession of his baggage, took some additional care of it. Arun thought that it was his mistake that he had thought wrong about him. Arun smiled and followed him towards the platform. Couple of times, the porter had got calls on his mobile, but he couldn’t take it as he was overloaded with the baggage of Arun.
“There is still a lot of time left to board the train, you could speak” Arun said and stopped him in middle.
“It’s alright sir, I could speak to them once I go to home. First work, then family” said the Porter and continued to walk. Arun was amazed with his dedication to work. It was his fault for making bad remark on him. He understood.
The sounds of trains at night, one after another chirped like birds in the jungle, made both the people alert on the timing of the departure of Mumbai Mail.
They reached platform number two at 10 40 and had ten more minutes for the departure. Arun was allocated B3 coach and seat 25.
“Sir, this is the coach.” said the porter and kept the luggage down in the cement floor with care.
“Thank you so much sir. How much?” asked Arun and took the purse from the pocket.
“3 baggage and totally 150 sir” the porter replied and finally answered his call on the phone.
‘I will reach home in another 20 minutes, Rani. Please take care of our child. If she had slept, it’s nice. If not, make her sleep. Time is almost 11 PM. I will buy the food and come. We will not go on hunger strike today. Hopefully we will eat.’ Said the Porter and turned to Arun.
Arun after listening to the conversation was dumbstruck. He was afraid to make any comments or statement on the telephonic conversation which he had listened a few minutes back. He was staring at the porter for few minutes and went near him. The porter was quite confused on the reactions made by Arun, didn’t quite get it.
Arun tapped his shoulders. “Am really sorry sir. May be our entire universe need a people like you to strive hard and earn money. I respect you. You didn’t cheat or made any false statements for the work. Instead, you came back very seriously and asked for work. I’m amazed” said Arun and handed a five-hundred-rupee note.
But porter hesitated to get the money from him. He just avoided to take that and turned aside his hands. Arun wasn’t leaving him. He was pushing him to take the amount. Porter decided not to get the money from him. Arun looked from top to bottom and pressed his hands tightly and placed the 500 rupee note in hand.
Porter had tears in his eyes. He has never seen a 500 rupee note in his life. Although when he got from Arun’s hand, his joy was enormous. Porter’s thoughts flew away through his family and how could he be able to uplift their life. Random thoughts and imaginations flashed over his mind and both of them were in the platform standing still.
“Be happy and enjoy!” said Arun and boarded the train.
Porter was seeing his reactions and posture. He was a god to him that day. A family which would not get proper food has got a lucky fortune from a high profile guy.
“Thank you sir,” said porter and stood joining two hands together.
“Keep down man,” said Arun and continued “Go and have food, people are waiting for you at home!”
Arun, bid a good bye to him and boarded into his compartment and checked his seats.
Porter kept the 500 hundred rupee note to himself and felt relieved that day. His hands kept on wiping out tears from his eyes. People, who were walking around, looked him absurd. But, he didn’t care about them. He kept on walking steadily with a high dream on his mind. He’s a hard worker and loved to do his work without hurting others. The 500-rupee-note was certainly a gift from the god.
Arun, got settled his luggage underneath the seats and settled in his berth. He has undressed to his casual wear and got his bed sheets around him surrounding like an ant in quicksand, looked his mobile phone curiously.
When he was seeing his mobile very curiously, he heard a sound under his bed. Arun kept his mobile aside and bent towards his middle berth curiously.
A fair looking young lady with pink color round neck t-shirt and a blue jean, was arranging luggage in her berth.
– TO BE CONTINUED